Miami Heat: 8 Reasons Why Boys of South Beach Will Cruise to NBA Championship
Their 22-7 record, good for third in the NBA, is a great indicator of how dominant they have been.
And although it may be unwise to make title predictions this early in the season, I truly believe the Heat are on their way to championship No. 1.
It’s just a matter of time before South Beach is celebrating its first NBA championship of the “Big Three” era.
Here are eight reasons why.
1. Chris Bosh Has Been Sensational
Here's what I wrote in a recent article:
This season the Heat are 11-1 when Bosh shoots over 50 percent from the floor. This is a clear indication that he, not Wade or LeBron, holds the key. When he plays well, Miami usually come out on top. And if No. 1 plays his best deep into the playoffs, opposing teams should be fearful.
In my opinion, Bosh should be starting over Carmelo Anthony in the All-Star Game. The fact that he raised his level of play in the absence of Dwyane Wade is a testament to how good he really is. Bosh is a key part of this team and him playing well this year is a good sign for Heat supporters.
2. LeBron James Is Having a Historical Year
By working with Hakeem Olajuwon in the extended offseason, James finally added a post game to his offensive arsenal and greatly improved his shot selection. The fact that he's making over 54 percent of his shots shows how much he has improved.
If LeBron keeps playing at this high a level, I can't imagine anyone beating Miami in a seven-game series.
3. Bench Depth
One of Miami's biggest weaknesses last year was its depth. Dwyane Wade, LeBron and Bosh combined to form what was essentially a three man team.
However, this season, the Heat have a lot more depth across the board.
With the improvement of Mario Chalmers and the rise of Norris Cole, they have definitely strengthened the point guard position. A healthier Mike Miller and the newly acquired Shane Battier also help out on the perimeter.
In a shortened season, depth is incredibly important. This will be an critical aspect of the Heat's championship aspirations.
4. Explosive Offense
Last season, the Heat averaged 102.1 points per game, good for eighth in the NBA.
This season, they are ranked second in the NBA with 103 PPG.
The change is due having picked up the pace on offense this year. They are ranked sixth in the NBA in pace this season. By comparison, in 2010-11, they were ranked 20th. Pace is measured by the amount of possessions a team has per 48 minutes, so essentially, the Heat are getting the ball more and are capitalizing on these extra opportunities.
They've also continued to be efficient on the offensive end, ranking first in field goal percentage, fifth in three-point percentage and seventh in free throw percentage.
Put simply, Miami have one of the most explosive and efficient offenses in the league. Although it's not much of a surprise considering the personnel, it's pretty obvious that outscoring the Heat is tough to do.
5. Suffocating Defense
They say "defense wins championships," right?
Miami is one of the best defensive teams in the league. The Heat have the 10th best defensive rating in the league and their opponents shoot at just 42.6 percent from the field (the league average is 44.3 percent).
Although they allow the 16th most points per game, this is more indicative of the pace at which they play.
This suffocating defense, combined with their potent attack, is a big reason why they will be raising the NBA championship trophy at the end of the season.
6. Improved Chemistry
With one (albeit unsuccessful) season already under their belt, the Heat's chemistry would have greatly improved.
When you watch them play, it's clear they're a little more cohesive on the offensive end of the floor than they were last year. I think the Heat are a little better at moving the ball and moving without the ball. That's just what experience does to a team.
This chemistry will go a long way in determining the Heat's success because they are now playing more team-oriented basketball. Don't underestimate the impact that it can have. We've seen how well they've been playing this year, and they're only going to get better when the playoffs come around.
7. They Have Learned from Their Mistakes
Although last year's Finals was an utter disappointment for the Miami Heat and their fans, it was ultimately a valuable learning experience that made them into a better team.
Notice how the Heat didn't have a party before the season? Or predict to win eight championships? Their loss at the hands of Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks last year brought them back down to earth and made them see the error of their ways.
Now that they are humbled, they are finally ready to win a championship. The Heat spent the offseason wisely—Chris Bosh bulked up and LeBron James added a post game—this hard work will prove to be the difference come Playoff time.
Experience is something must be learned and cannot be taught. Now that Miami has some Finals experience, it will not let another opportunity slip.
8. Losing Is Not an Option
The Miami Heat will win an NBA championship in 2012, but not because they can. It's because they must.
For years, LeBron James had a pretty poor supporting cast in Cleveland. Now that he is a part of the most talented team in the league, it becomes essential that they win multiple titles.
Imagine the criticism that would ensue if LeBron failed to win a championship yet again. He can't afford for that to happen, not when his entire legacy is at stake.
This season is essentially win or go home for the Miami Heat. Anything less than a title is a failure. Losing is not an option.