In an attempt to get myself and others hyped about the 2016–17 NBA season, I brainstormed several different preview ideas. Many outlets are doing team previews, but this is a player’s game, damnit. Why not take my favorite and/or most interesting player from each team and write a l’il somethin’ somethin’? I decided to write them in order of my projected finish for that team.
What a crazy off-season for the Miami Heat. First, they lost Dwyane Wade in one of the messiest, undeserved divorces in sports history. And wouldn’t you know it… the Heat topped themselves by effectively bidding Chris Bosh adieu. Those two losses will ultimately send Miami into the 2017 NBA Draft lottery.
Lost in all that was one of the biggest beneficiaries of the new NBA TV deal: young combo guard Tyler Johnson.
My Fave Video:
I know it’s hard to get over the fact that—per year—he makes more than Stephen Curry… you know, the reigning back-to-back MVP. Or that he got paid while likely starting two guard Dion Waiters didn’t. Forget about those things for a second and watch the highlight tape.
Johnson is a dynamic combo guard, one who could potentially swing games with his scoring and creating ability. If I’m a coach, I don’t really care if he’s a one or a two… I have to find a way to get him on the court.
His success brings up an interesting point: I watched Jimmer Fredette of the mighty Shanghai Sharks lay 33 on the Houston Rockets in a preseason game on Sunday. I hear it from a ton of people and even ask myself, “Why can’t this dude stick in the NBA?”
The difference between Johnson making $50 million and Fredette needing a passport is simple: athleticism. Fredette is probably a better shooter, but Johnson has the lateral quickness to blow by defenders and guard his position. Perhaps just as vital, he has the athleticism to finish… sometimes violently.
Yes, he’s overpaid… maybe more so than anyone else in the League. But if Miami didn’t pay him, someone else would have.
As for Miami, they’re obviously starting over. They’ll be a young, scrappy team that will give opponent’s fits from time to time. That said, there probably won’t be any hoops in May this season.