Trans. Sep 15 12:51 ET (Sep 15 12:51 ET ) It's not surprising to hear Mario Chalmers tell Bleacher Report's Ethan Skolnick , "We all just took too much of a back seat in the Finals," since the San Antonio Spurs undressed everyone not named LeBron James and Chris Bosh in their five-game dismantling of the Miami Heat this past June. But the mercurial point guard's reflection on a failed three-peat offers words of warning for the Cleveland Cavaliers: Dynasties aren't easily built and even harder to maintain. Only Scottie Pippen remained on the roster from the first edition of the championship Chicago Bulls when Michael Jordan began his pursuit of a second three-peat in 1995. It was an even lonelier road for Kobe Bryant in the seven seasons between Lakers titles last decade. A leading man can carry a production so far, but the show won't go on without an adequate supporting cast, and NBA bit players only take a backseat for so long before seeking bigger roles and paychecks. Taking the analogy a step further, the occasional Alan Arkin or Jared Leto accepts a smaller part for redemption or to stave off retirement, but they seek the spotlight again or aren't long for the stage. Where were we? Ah, yes, Mario Chalmers, a disastrous NBA Finals performance and the mental makeup of a role player living in the shadow of one of the game's brightest stars. "You know, for the first time in my career, I felt like I wasn't ... yeah, my confidence wasn't there," Chalmers said. "Going through that whole San Antonio series, I just felt like in the playoffs I kept getting worse and worse every round. I just couldn't figure it out. ... "Yeah, that's the worst thing, because you never know," Chalmers said. "Everybody in my ear, talking about, 'We need you, we need you to do this, we need you to do that.' And then when it comes to the game, I didn't feel involved. Like, you all talk about how y'all need me, but y'all didn't put me in position to do anything. In previous years, if I was in that position, I would make sure I would go get the ball, I would put myself in position to score. I felt like this year, we all just took too much of a back seat in the Finals. ... "I feel like I've finally got a chance to shine, show my real game," Chalmers said. "Me, CB, D-Wade and the rest of the guys, we're going to pick it up, we're still going to play Miami Heat basketball, and we're still gonna be a competitor." It's a delicate balance between a bit player knowing his role and feeding an inflated sense of self that helped him get a job only a miniscule percentage of people in his profession ever attain. Chalmers has twice declared himself a top-10 NBA point guard, and that kind of ego requires some stroking. This is the road LeBron faces now in Cleveland, the same one he had to pave in Miami before quieting the Thunder for the first of two straight championships. Finding a court comfortable kneeling at the throne of King James isn't easy, but the maturation of Chalmers and the addition of ultimate character actor Shane Battier helped the 2012 Heat dispose of the Celtics in seven games and Oklahoma City in five. Consummate professional Ray Allen helped the sequel prove better than the original, as Miami rattled off 27 straight regular-season victories before surviving the upstart Indiana Pacers and always game Spurs in 2013. But the Heat couldn't pull off the trilogy in 2014, because — if Chalmers is to be believed — the franchise relied too heavily upon its stars. The same thing happened with "The Godfather," I think. San Antonio casts supporting roles best, surrounding Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili with an ever-evolving roster of players willing to fill roles until they aren't. (I see you, Stephen Jackson.) But the Spurs model isn't one easily replicated, so LeBron is taking a different road, trading in a supporting cast that failed him in Miami this past season for one that seems more promising in Cleveland. But that doesn't mean these Cavaliers are ready for the spotlight. The road to sustained Eastern Conference supremacy has long required dethroning a worthy predecessor. The 1980s Celtics gave way to the Bad Boy Detroit Pistons, the Pistons to Jordan's Bulls, and so on until the Celtics seized control from the Pistons in the late 2000s and LeBron's Heat staved off Kevin Garnett & Co. in 2012. Only the Cavs won't have that battle-tested champion standing in their way ( except in the eyes of one Almario Chalmers ), and the lack of a worthy adversary — save for perhaps the Bulls — may make unseating the Spurs, Thunder or whoever else emerges from the wild West an even more difficult task. LeBron can get them to the Finals, but how players like Tristan Thompson and Dion Waiters perform in their supporting roles will ultimately determine whether they're championship worthy. In the meantime, new Cavs coach David Blatt will have his hands full keeping everyone happy on the set. Just ask Rio. (h/t @talkhoops )
By Larry Fine NEW YORK (Reuters) - A spate of late withdrawals, a serious injury to Paul George and several marquee names missing appeared to put Team USA under a cloud for the 2014 Basketball World Cup and for future international competition. Instead, a group of sharp-shooting NBA regulars were unbeaten in Spain and produced a 129-92 victory over Serbia in the final to underline the depth the U.S. Stalwarts LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul were missing from the initial training camp, with Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Kevin Love and Blake Griffin bowing out late in the process before Indiana forward George broke his leg in training and could now miss the NBA season.
The Scoop:"I see a guy who's going to average 20 something points a game, will have a great year and have a lot of people eating crow," Scott said of Bryant. "I'm glad people are saying [otherwise]. Keep adding it. It motivates him that much more. It makes my job easier." Scott also added that he has "a set number in mind" with regard to how many minutes Kobe will be playing each night, as he continues to hint that Kobe will have a minutes cap, and be held out of the second games of back-to-back sets. Kobe has bounced back from injuries time and time again, but he's got a lot of miles on those tires and one has to wonder when the undefeated Father Time will finally claim Bryant. Still, Kobe's legendary status will have him swept up in the early rounds of your draft, and if he can remain healthy, he'll be a steal.
The Scoop:He's done this before and it's done to help take some precautions to his degenerative knee issues. Bryant and several athletes have gone overseas to have this procedure done and it takes several weeks to complete the process. This procedure doesn't directly impact his season-ending knee injury from 2014, which was more of a bone issue. He figures to be ready for training camp later this month and is worth a look in the late-early rounds of fantasy drafts.
We've not seen Jeremy Lin play basketball in earnest for the Lakers, but the recently acquired guard has already perfected the Los Angeles art of constantly creating media attention. Lin appeared in yet another viral video — this time posing as a wax figure in San Francisco's Madame Tussauds museum. The famed wax museum recently revealed a lipid Lin in its branch closest to the 26-year-old's roots as both a prep and NBA player — at Palo Alto High and on the Golden State Warriors, respectively. But fans who came to see his faux doppelganger were instead treated to the real thing scaring the daylights out of them. Ever since the Houston Rockets traded him to the Lakers along with a first-round pick in exchange for, well, not much , this summer has seemingly seen an endless string of shenanigans involving Lin. First, there was " Jeremy Lin Goes Hollywood ," a YouTube video poking fun at his decline since the days of Linsanity. Then, there was a pair of Instagram videos featuring Lin posterizing his mom and smashing cake in her face . For the time being, Los Angeles seems like a fitting landing spot for Lin, a likable kid enjoying Hollywood's backyard, but the act may wear thin if his basketball skills don't match his comedic chops. Kobe Bryant has grown tired of far better players than Lin clowning around to the detriment of team success. Related Video: