Have you ever wondered what a reality TV show that featured basketball millionaires being pushed and stressed to meet demand would look like? Not really. Well that’s what you’re going to see in this upcoming 2012-13 NBA season.  Lebrons’ 2012 championship run has changed the expectations of owners, fans, and critiques on many levels from the $15 million salary club and what to expect from them to the current player comparison to legendary ones. We’ll look at some of these levels and rate which players are going to have some fans to answer too this upcoming season.

Before LBJ won the ring           

    LLBJ 2012 Finals MVPCredit: http://djgusto.net/archives/2448/lebron-james-finals-trophy-530x297et’s start with the new landscape in the NBA. Before LBJ won the title the championship formula was pretty obvious right. You build a team like the Lakers, Spurs, and Celtics did. Gather some tough veterans with a supporting cast of young guys and you have yourself a dynasty. Thanks Lebron. Thank Kevin. You’re run to the finals proved that you need youth and a special player. Is this the new formula? You guys ruined what we knew to be true and now we’re lost. Only 3 of the players in the 2012 finals had NBA gold and only 1 played considerable minutes. That’s insane when you look at the finals history prior to this year where usually one team or both had several champions playing. I’ve always said the NBA trails the real world by 3 years. NBA welcome to our world of chaos where there is no normal and you too constantly have to be wheeling and dealing to make ends meet. The new formula is you don’t need a résumé to get it done just talent and lots of it. This offseason is young but you can already tell which franchises were in “lab mode” over the playoffs the Brooklyn Nets, Celtics, Lakers, Clippers, & Raptors to name a few. Still others have no choice but to look to the draft for saviors. Good luck!

 15M Club and their new landscape        

     Now on to the $15 million salaries club, where LBJ's 2012 raid is sure to bring owners, critiques, and fans across the league to say, Yo! Money Bags, we’re expecting more and we’re not going to stop harassing you until you make it or we break you. So here are, in my opinion, players in the $15 Million Club with tough 2012-13 seasons ahead, in order from most pressure to least.

  1. Carmelo Anthony at $20 million for 2013.  You don’t think those owners are Melo will be measured against LBJ till he wins a titlelooking at his paycheck versus Lebron and saying, Big boy. We just need more. We tired of blaming coaches. Welcome to the real world. Carmelo is not a bad guy but it seems that after his 2009 WCF show, he has put it on cruise control a little and figures if he scores a lot of points he’ll keep the critiques off his back. No way big boy. You’re compared to LBJ now and you won’t live that down till you get it done. Sorry but that’s reality. By the way, do you trust Amar’e down the stretch? Hmmmm. Jason Kidd will help.
  2. Kevin Durant at $16 million for 2013. He’s in control for now but if he goes 2 years in a row without winning gold. Watch out slim, they can twist on ya.
  3. Dwight Howard at $19 million for 2013. The B.M.O.C (big man on campus) is the new villain in the NBA. His wishes to play with Nets are over but a trade to the Lakers is possible. Who knows? He might even stay with the Magic another year. This is exhausting and he better get his back healthy because the media will be on him in 2013 and there is nowhere to hide. There will be high expectations where ever he lands.
  4. Derrick Rose and Carlos Boozer both at $15 million a piece for 2013. Great examples on and off the court. Clock is ticking boys and the competition is getting tougher in the East. At the very least you have to start coming through with great series to advance. I wish D. Rose nothing but a 100% recovery. Chicago and the NBA needs him badly. Don’t think for a second those owners aren’t ready to push the panic button.
  5. Deron Williams and Joe Johnson at $17 and $19 million for 2013. No Dwight. Now what? Joe are you going to step it up and play to your potential? Dwight are you going to keep improving? Deron are you going to bring this all together? We’ll see.
  6. Gilbert Arenas, Rudy Gay, Zach Randolph at too much money for what they produce. Memphis just give these guys till the end of the season before you hang’em up, if they even make it to season together.
  7. Chris Paul at $17 million. They’re gathering some talent for you. It won’t be long till the doubts set in if you don’t start getting pass the 2nd round of the playoffs.
  8. Lebron James at $18 million for 2013. Like Bill Simmons said, “Shit. He’s figured it out.” He needs to repeat and possibly three-peat to be mentioned with Jordan or needs to win a couple more to be without a doubt in the untouchable class with Bird, Magic, Russell, Wilt, Jordan and the like. One ring won’t be enough for his greatness.
  9. Honorable mentions with pressure but really have no chance at living up to expectations. All their fans and employers can scream all they want but they just better pray that they at least fill up the stat sheet. whoopee! Amar’e Stoudemire, Andre Iguodala, Danny Granger, Ben Gordon, Al Jefferson.

     In conclusion, I would like to end this with a quote. “Just because things are different doesn’t mean things have changed.” These finals proved that many things are still the same. You still need a post game and you need to play elite defense to win. It took a special performance from Lebron to get that trophy. In the process he made two superstars (Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh) look like role players. That’s how special this guy is. You can’t expect all these guys to be LBJ that’s ridiculous but I think it’s fair to ask more of the $15 million club just like we did with Lebron. Only he made the “Leap”. Will Carmelo?