Thursday, June 04, 2009

Thursday 06/04 A.M. Quickie:
Finals, Braves, Westbrook, More

So you've probably seen all the different NBA Finals storylines floating around throughout the week. I have simply collected them all into a handy one-stop-shop guide to them as the lead of today's SN column.

My favorite? Probably reflects Shoals' take: If the Magic win -- perhaps even if they don't -- has Orlando created a new template for success in the NBA, geared around tall versatile players? Does everyone need to find their own Turkoglu?

Let's be honest: It helps the Magic's plan that they have the best big man in the sport, but while the team revolves around him, it doesn't depend on him for everything. There is a distributed-network element to the Magic -- Howard won't kill you by scoring 40 (um, except Game 6), but because you have to nudge toward him, Lewis and Turkoglu kill you from the outside.

So: The premium is on the 6-10 "power forward" whose main game is shooting 3s -- making Rashard Lewis basically a better Matt Bullard. Or a 6-10 "point forward" whose main game is bringing the ball up and shooting 3s -- making Hedo a Eurofied version of Scottie Pippen.

I had a couple of reasons for picking the Magic to win the series -- but how can you not like the matchups? Who guards Howard? Who guards Lewis? Who guards Hedo? Who cares if Kobe scores 40 a game -- so did LeBron.

So in today's column, you get 9 other major storylines, plus a bunch about the Braves, Westbrook, Memphis hoops and more.

Complete column here. Two more posts (at least) coming at noon-ish and 3-ish.

-- D.S.

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