Mark Cuban and Skip Bayless go at it
Mark: " What's the purpose of a zone skip?"
Mark: "What kind of defensive schemes did OKC run skip?
Skip: "uh uh ummm they threw Harden and Durant on Lebron?"
Mark: "they double from down low, heat kicked it out, and hit open shots"
Skip looked pretty stupid during this segment.
To allow Tyson Chandler to patrol the inside, to cover for Dirk's defensive failings and to force Wade and LeBron into shooting long-range jumpers which gave the Mavs their first ever NBA title.
Does he mean other than that?
I like that Cuban went up there and didn't really mince words. That is my biggest problem with sports journalism, that so-called analysts talk in vague generalizations about heart and hustle.
There are basically three main types of sports journalists out in the national media that I see: The ones who are there for entertainment/pop culture, like Bill Simmons; the ones who are out there to write about the narrative for the casual fan, like Ian Thomsen for SI; and the analytical ones, like Sebastian Pruiti. Too many times the non-analytical ones try to sound like they are being analytical.
While I have defended Bayless before on things, the show is getting ridiculous. It's like an hour and a half about the same d*mn topic each segment or a whole show about Tebow, Lebron, or Tiger Woods and half the time Skip and Smith end up repeating something they already said, which is why if I get curious I listen to the 1st 10 minutes which usually sums up everything. As far as this debate with Cuban goes, Skip would never directly answer Cuban's questions. I hate when people do that. Politicians do that all the time. It makes me think that if you automatically run to the same answer (Lebron choked, Tebow wins) and you don't get time to rehearse the debate prior to the show that you don't know what to do.
With all said, the show is getting the feel of being heavily scripted. If Skip goes way out here, the other person can either be moderate or way on the other side of the issue. I'm sure ESPN is lining his pockets quite a bit to just amp everything up, take things out of context and to "try to be controversial."
Did you watch the video? Cuban was implying just that: The purpose of a zone is to allow for easy help defense and prevent to the opponent from attacking the basket. Cuban was making the point that the reason LeBron lived in the paint against OKC, but didn't against Dallas, was because Dallas played better interior defense. Bayless was arguing that LeBron didn't attack the paint against Dallas because he choked under pressure from members of the sports media, such as himself.
Cuban actually sounds like he knows little to nothing about basketball.
Several things Cuban looks completely dumb saying.
- Mark Cuban presumes that NBA players don't care what other people think. This is preposterous. NBA players and many, many athletes in general often do care what other people think. Lebron himself admitted that part of the reason he failed last year was that he cared too much about what other people said. When he decided to play his game and stop worrying about proving everyone wrong he got a ring. Also Lebron ignored Bayless this year but continually acknowledged him last year. Why do you acknowledge other people's opinions? Because you care what they say, silly Cuban!
-Mark Cuban says that no player wants it more than any other player. Complete BS. If anyone knows anything about sports of any kind, there have been many, many talented players that didn't have the level of desire of other great players. Desire and will is more important in sports than Cuban will ever understand. Execution is not the only factor in an athletic event. Coaches often try to get their team to play with more energy and passion. So pathetic hearing him say that it doesn't matter who wants it more. Any athlete worth their salt tells you it's of the utmost importance who wants it the most. Cuban denying this looks absolutely ignorant.
-Mark Cuban claims that his teams superior zone concepts and defensive adjustments are what caused Lebron James' poor performance. Very arrogant and entirely false. Lebron himself admitted to being overwhelmed last year and playing outside of his comfort zone. He was playing passively and not attacking the basket. He has continually repeated that his goal this year was to attack and play the way he loves playing rather than proving to his critics that he can shoot outside jumpshots. As if Lebron James couldn't drive against a zone and carve up a zone. Yes Cuban you forced Lebron to play poorly, it had nothing to do with Lebron's mentality at that time. Please Cuban, your arrogance blinds you.
- Mark Cuban says that the Mavericks outsmarted the Heat, meanwhile the Thunder, while more athletic than his Mavs, did not play as smart. What an insult to the Thunder. Is he saying that the Thunder are incapable of making the adjustments that his team made? I hope the Thunder players remember this when they destroy the Mavs next year. Arrogance at it's finest Cuban.
- He says "right" about 1000 times. Yet he was wrong on so many levels.
I thought Mark was a little out of control and looked borderline ridiculous at times. I'm sure people are going to look at it as Mark Cuban destroying Skip Bayless, but he just looked like a complete arrogant and ignorant jerk to me. He talks about how the media generalizes everything and rarely has substance to anything and then rips the media as a whole because he doesn't like the way they run things, such as them not being "analytical" enough. He of all people should know know that nearly all outlets of media are driven by profit, and they do so by talking about compelling topics. Not that many people want to watch a guy breaking down tape for two hours straight. And then he made that cringe worthy statement at the end that his two year old knew more about Skip Bayless, which is just plain ridiculous, and disrespectful to the guy that let him on the show.I don't usually back Bayless because he embellishes everything, but Cuban takes the cake for being the biggest idiot on First Take today.
Mark may have exagerrated to take a polar view from Bayless, but he was right. I don't listen to Bayless, but he embarassed himself right there.
@pistonsfan: What do you think was a bigger factor in LeBron's failure to score in the paint against Dallas: That he was nervous because Skip Bayless was going to criticize him if Miami lost, or because he struggled to read Dallas' zone defense and had his driving lanes walled in by help defenders.
LeBron certainly improved between last year and this year. This improvement wasn't because he stopped being scared of Skip Bayless, but because he improved his face-up jumper out of the post, his hook and scoop shots in the post, and developed more confidence in his post game. Miami as a team was also much different this year than last year.
Do you think that whether or not LeBron makes the right pass depends on whether he wants it more? In the NBA Finals everyone wants it. All the rotation players have worked for it. The better team will win.
You are showing the exact flaws in logic that Cuban was railing against. Most of what you said could have been by somebody who hadn't watched the Finals. What happens on the court matters more than the tabloid rumors.
Cuban is right that the Mavs defenders played smarter than the Thunder's. Their is a reason that the Thunder didn't play as good defense as the Mavs. The Mavs didn't miss rotations the way the Thunder did, they were able to make adjustments without sacrificing an understanding of team defensive concepts, and they did throw many more looks at LeBron than the Thunder did. The Thunder spent game 5 mostly just throwing doubles at LeBron from the baseline after LeBron made the catch. LeBron is too good to let him survey the defense, knowing exactly when the double is coming. The Thunder were unable to consistently adapt and got burned because of it.
LeBron doesn't miss just because he doesn't want it enought. Defense matters.
@B-Ball fan Cuban exagerrated, I'm glad you acknowledged this. He exagerrated to great lengths and has a distorted view on what creates outcomes in an NBA game. To answer your questions.
No the Dallas zone defense was not the biggest factor in why Lebron struggled. It was a factor but not the biggest factor at all, they played well. Lebron himself has acknowledged that he was playing passively and settling for outside jump shots. If you watch the post game interviews after this year's finals he goes over all of this. It's not being scared of Skip Bayless, it's the media in general. Skip wasn't saying that Lebron's pressure came from him alone, it was the media and fans expectations that were getting to Lebron. Once again he confirmed this after this year's finals. He said in detail that he changed his approach to the game during the off season, he wanted to go back to playing the game like he did for most of his life rather than being passive and settling for jumpers. He also said he changed his mindset coming into this season. The low point for him was against the Mavericks where he was trying to play mean and prove all of his critics wrong. He realized that he had to come into this season and finals and play his aggressive slashing game, and stop trying to show people he could excel at the weak aspects of his game. He acknowledges this from his own mouth. He knows what affected him much more than a silly owner who hires other people to make basketball decisions.
Lebron did not always make the right pass last year in the finals. So your point about wanting it more doesn't even go with your statement. He did a lot of standing around against the zone and that was not some mastery by Dallas defensively, James played passively and admittedly so. Wanting it more certainly does create a better odds of winning. Cuban continuely says during this debate that everyone wants it the same. Complete nonsense! You think coaches and GM's think every player wants to win as much as everyone else? You honestly believe this?? If you honestly believe that Serge Ibaka wanted this title as bad as Lebron James, you are a moron. Desire and will are characteristics that GM's CONSTANTLY look for, they pass over players they feel play with no passion and desire. Unfortunately many of these players do make NBA rosters and stick in the NBA on talent alone, but they also affect outcomes with passive, uninterested play. Some players do not have the desire of other players, how you deny this mystifies me.
I watched the finals so I am calling out your logic. You and Cuban think that Dallas and their zone defenses stopped Lebron James and forced him to play poorly. You assume he played as aggressively as he did this year. You assume his game was not affected on the court by off the court happenings. This was a MAJOR improvement in Lebron James' this year. Everyone has talked about it, Magic Johnson, Chris Mullin, Jalen Rose, Jon Barry. You know people that actually played at that level and they know how pressure affects your game. Lebron shut out his critics and played with more confidence this year period. Dwayne Wade has talked about it serveral times, Lebron is a different person this year. He's more comfortable on and off the court and it wasn't just the strides he made in the post. It was his family moving to South Beach, his lack of interest in what the media and fans were saying. He changed his entire life, not just his game. Just because you and Cuban deny that does not make you right, it has been acknowledged over and over.
I never said Lebron misses because he doesn't want it enough. That's you and Cuban making up things in your own mind, delusional I guess. I said he played less aggressively last year in the finals. This has been talked about at length by all time great players including Magic Johnson. He simply rose to another level this year, he had a different level of determination. He wasn't settling for outside jumpshots at all, this should be apparent to you and Cuban but maybe he doesn't check the statistics that he himself thinks are the entire basis for success in sports. Lebron attempted many, many fewer outside jumpers this year, this wasn't because teams were not mixing up defenses against Lebron all season. If you believe it was because the Dallas Mavericks are the only team that makes proper defensive adjustments, you are living in fantasy land.
The Dallas Mavericks weren't even that great defensively in the playoffs. Oklahoma City had a better field goal percentage defense in this years'playoffs than the Mavericks had last year. It's not like the Mavs suddenly discovered some new way of stopping Lebron James, you and Cuban deny the dynamic aspects of sports in general. There are many factors that go into the outcomes of a game. I'm not saying the Dallas defense had no effect on the outcome but Cuban thinks it was the biggest reason for Lebrons poor performance. Funny how everyone analyzing Lebron's game after last season's finals continually felt Lebron himself played passively and needed to make adjustments to his game over the off season. Yet Cuban is ready to take all of the credit for his lack of performance, makes no sense.
One more of the wacky ideas that Cuban comes up with during this debate. Cuban believes the "Pat Riley way" means playing the same game every time and never making adjustments. What a laughable, idiotic statement. It makes Cuban look like the biggest moron ever. Pat Riley is one of the greatest basketball minds in the history of the NBA and he thinks Rick Carlisle teams make more adjustments from play to play, game to game. What an absolute joke. Pat Riley won all of those championships simply by having the same gameplan every game, right? This is the arrogance of Cuban who knows little about the actual game of basketball and criticizes a Pat Riley, a man has forgotten more about basketball than Cuban will learn in his entire life.
I think Durant showed they wanted it by what they did against the Spurs. Miami was really physical with a team that is mostly long and athletic. Miami also benefited from some calls. I will say this because Lebron worked out with Hakeem, he played more agressive close to the basket but being physical at time when last year he would not have been as physical. Durant will take from this and OKC will be a more physical team. I am sure Durant will get in the weight room because his lack of strenght against some players can hurt his overall game.
I a NOT a Bayless fan, but Cuban actually made Skip look like a thoughtful analyst.
Lebron was not perched on the perimeter because he couldn't figue out Dallas' zone. The Heat didnt have a coherent offensive game plan, so when Wade was the scorer James didnt' know how to participate. This changed in this Finals. Lebron was constantly cutting to the basket and Miami's ball movement was phenomenal.
And yes, Lebron's mental focus was undoubetedly better this year compared to the Dallas series. Even he would admit that.
I think you guys put to much stock in the stuff LeBron says in postgame interviews and such. Nobody can conjure up originality in that setting. All LeBron says is what people want him to say.
I am not saying LeBron didn't improve, because he did. I am just saying that Cuban is right that his success doesn't depend upon him just learning how to focus or something like that. He has played basketball at a high level for a long time.
@amare apache: So you're just saying that it was the Heat as a team that couldn't figure out Dallas' zone, not LeBron in particular? Defense wins championships. It is one of the more true cliches in sports. It is completely possible for ANY player, no matter how good to struggle against a good defense. Now, LeBron played very poorly in last year's Finals, but to say that it was all a mental issue and not at all because Dallas played good defense is ignorant.
He's right about this and the flaws of the media on the whole...they always overly romanticize things with buzz words and speculation of player's emotions. Someone could be looking down to the ground thinking "oh man my groin hurts, should've stretched more" and they'll say something like "look at his body language, he's clearly defeated, a true champion would never do something like that" lol . I always complain about their non-sense too, and cuban is obviously a better analyst than either of them. Another one of his points is very true; athletes who compete at THAT level (the highest ones) do not need anymore motivation to play hard, but you can't will yourself to victory w. out a great plan and while being outcoached. What they've said about KD disappearing is ridiculous and one sided, assuming that KD can just do whatever he wants whenever he wants (even if it seems that way), but he was being defended by one of the best perimeter defenders in the game. Also the media as a whole is arrogant for thinking that they've been the determining factor in Lebron James 's success, and Lebron did make the correct basketball play most of the time , its just that people who for the most part know NOTHING about basketball would've been happier to see him run into double teams and go down shooting 8-25
I was impressed with Cuban. 'Generic statement that player A wanted it more than player B'. Complete BULL, which Cuban said. No superstar goes to an NBA final and doesn't go full throttle. Dallas definitely had something to do with LeBron's failings. Skip, while entertaining when going toe to toe with Stephen A. was found out. Mark Cuban: 'What does a zone defense try to do?' Skip: 'Uhhhhhh, uhhhh.........'
Tyson Chandler was a huge part of Dallas defense stepping it up also with no post prescence, it made sense for Dallas to go into a zone and dare Miami to make shots. They didnt and they lost.
Cuban is the idiot here. "Athletes don't care about what you all say" LOL right. Then why did Lebron go out of his WAY to 'Tune the media out'? Ignoring the things that pundits like Skip say and write? He's human. Of course he cares, and of course most players do. They aren't robots, they're human.
Stephen A. called his ass out on the show and embarrassed him. Mark simply wasn't prepared to debate either one of them. He's STEAMING because everyone agrees that Lebron simply disappeared against Dallas last year. What he wanted was for everyone to give Dallas credit for taking Lebron out of his game, but we all know that's BS.
I didn't see either one really winning yesterday. Cuban got some good jabs in but then he looked foolish for saying that they should deserve credit for 4th Lebron rather than him just choking hardcore. Yeah they deserved some credit for slowing him down but around the 6 minute mark of the fourth quarter I could see him just mentally collapse and look afraid to shoot rather do what he did to OKC. Admittedly Dallas had much better defense than OKC.
I also didn't like how he said he didn't like the way the media make generalizations and overblow things. It's kinda what they do to get ratings so that shouldn't come as a surprise at all. I'm more surprised that he probably knows why media does it and still gets all butthurt over it.
Finally I disagree with the notion that one team/player doesn't want it more than the other. Game 5 proved significantly proved that in my opinion. Miami wanted that game so they put their collective foot on the throat of the Thunder and took the game/championship. It's easy to say "oh they both wanted it bad or they wouldn't have been there" but one team was playing to not only win a championship but also shut the media up while and add something to their legacy which is the whole reason they came together in the first place.
I'll probably get negged like everyone else that didn't agree with Cuban....but oh well
You swear you can "see " him mentally collapse lol no you couldn't, you have no idea what he was or wasn't thinking, you're doing that same stupid &$#%#&@! commentators and journalists do.
I hate Skip Bayless so Cuban wins by default
During the final minutes of Game 5,a guy sitting behind us,in the arena,said the smartest move Spoelstra made was Limiting Joel Anthony's minutes..Anthony is known as the team's eraser on defense..Often Heat players relied on him to make up for their defensive mistakes...And not having him on the court force other Heat players to step up their defense...And it allowed the team to have 5 offensive players on the court at once...
He made a good point...
Cuban should have roasted him waaaay worse. I woulda called him on his self' proclaimed "Pistol Pete" days in high school, and all the other lies and bs he tries to feed the public.
Skip Bayless is the Rush Limbaugh of sports talk.