Sunday, August 22, 2010

The summer Heat to last all winter


Like every NBA fan not associated out of Miami, it took some time to digest the news that Lebron James would be joining Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in South Beach.  Now that enough time has settled in and my home team goggles can be put away, I can analyze the Miami Heat’s big splash and what it will mean for the up coming season.

As the Van Gundy brothers make their 72 win season pitch for the Heat and the players in South Beach feeling disrespected for not being crowned already, you have to sit back and wonder if they are going to be as good as advertized.   In a sport where one player makes a world of difference, how bout three players?   The Heat are drawing comparisons to other triplets around the league both past and present, most notably the recent group in Boston. While I do not plan to discuss the similarities and differences between the two, I will leave with one point, they are two very different situations because of age and experience, also where both of these groups are in their careers.  The Boston Celtics made the move to acquire 1 championship for the three future hall-of-famers, whereas the Miami Heat made the pitch to bring a dynasty to a non sport town.

How good are the Miami Heat going to be?  Who will take the last shot?  Will the chemistry work?  Do they have enough role players?  All of these are valid questions and debates on both sides are legitimate considering there is nothing to compare their situation to.  

The success Wade and Lebron showed in All Star Games and World competition should be enough to believe it can work in the NBA.  No one should dispute the talents of both of these players and what they can accomplish.  I think their scoring numbers may decrease because of the old wives tale of 2 bodies and 1 ball.  Across all “Super teams” the scoring numbers usually decrease per their career averages, however, most “Super teams” are developed after the players have passed their prime, not during it.

A lot of writers and critics believe the Miami Heat did a fine job of filling out their roster to put quality bench players and veterans around the stars.  I, myself, am a skeptic on how well the bench will perform for the starters.  Assuming they run have a starting five of Chalmers, Wade, James, Bosh, and Illgaukaus, that leaves a bench of Mike Miller, Joel Anthony, Udonis Haslem (first arrest of the year), Eddie House, and Jamaal Magloire.   Mike Miller is without a question a very serviceable NBA player who has seen better days, but he will be a contributing factor for this team, if not the most important bench player.  The player I plan to keep an eye on is Haslem who has played his whole career in Miami, knows the system, and is a solid contributor over his career and seems to be getting better each season.  I am not sold on Joel Anthony, Eddie House or Jamaal Magloire as contributing factors for the fact that Anthony is a journeyman, Eddie House had his worst shooting percentages last season and I was shocked to find the 1 time all star center still in the league. 

You will hear the Spur, Laker, and Celtic fans all voice the importance of a bench (and rightfully so) considering each of those teams have had one or two (sometimes three) bench players step up to help capture titles with names of Robert Horry, Lamar Odom, and James Posey.   Which bench player will be a playoff hero for the Heat? My bet would be Mike Miller.

The last aspect of this Heat roster is the Chris Bosh factor.  Unhappy with Toronto (Toronto seems to have been unhappy with him as well) inability to put together a philosophy and roster to compete, he fled to greener pastures.  We all know Bill Simmons stats on Chris Bosh’s big game chances (or lack thereof), however, the story line that fascinates most of us is the fact he wanted to be on a team with a true center, allowing him to play his natural position without worrying about other players jobs.   The Heat are on injury away from forcing Bosh to cover centers with over the hill centers of Magloire and Ziggy.  Both of these players are 20-25 minutes per game at best, no doubt Bosh will play Center in spurts, however, he could be playing more than he bargained for.

With deserving skepticism on the front court, the Heat look vulnerable in the paint especially if they match up with the Lakers or Boston, as both of these teams have 2-3 seven footers currently.   This first season will be a trial run for the Miami Heat as they work to figure out their defensive philosophy (I don’t think they practice any defense the past few years), their chemistry, and get use to playing with each other.  The Boston Celtics had to work these kinks out as well, as they led the league in turnovers their first season together. 

I stick by my prediction that Miami will not receive a title this season, just based on the fact that the Lakers and Celtics (Even Orlando) have a few years of playing together on the Miami Heat.  All of those teams mentioned have won or been in the finals, they understand what it takes to win and have a very good defensive philosophy in place which gives them an opportunity to win every night, especially when the shots aren’t falling at their normal percentages.  The Miami Heat will be no joke this season, and they could win the title this year, that would not surprise anyone in the league.  Time for talking will stop after October 1st (although the Miami Heat players could do themselves a favor and stop talking now) and the time for showing the league what they made of.

-  Noble

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