If you liked the Phoenix Suns: A Reincarnation of the '99-'02 Sacramento Kings, then you're going to love this.
The L.A. Lakers and the Miami Heat have had their ups and downs. Seemingly alternating at times. But that's another story. I'm writing this article about the similarities between the 04-05 L.A. Lakers and this year's Miami Heat.
I'll start with the coaches. The two teams were coached by Legendary Hall of Fame coaches in Rudy Tomjanovich and Pat Riley who both left during the ongoing NBA season for health reasons. Now for the players.
PG Jason Williams of the Miami Heat, and Chucky Atkins of the Lakers, were looking for a fresh start on new clubs to somehow leave their shortcomings behind them. However, the two underachieving guards were thrown into the offense to be their team’s director but could not thrive in their new environment.
They continued their lackluster play unable to regain their youthful form in which they had their most successful years.
SG’s Dwyane Wade and Kobe Bryant. Do I really have to no name the similarities here past and present? Well aside from their obvious skill level, dominant personalities, and playing styles, both played with Shaq, won a championship with Shaq, got mad at Shaq, and leaped for joy when Shaquille got traded away.
Not to mention they were their team’s sole breadwinner and the best shooting guards in their respective conferences.
Now for Ricky Davis, i.e. Caron Butler. Players with high potential that unfortunately quite hadn’t panned out yet. Sadly, the Lakers and the Heat were banking on their development to be a major contender for their team.
PF Lamar Odom and Shawn Marion. Odom and Marion are among the best at their positions in the game. 2 of the most versatile SF’s in the game, Odom and Marion have acted as the conductors on their ball clubs and have orchestrated many double-doubles as a result. Both are great passers, good rebounders, and were looking for a fresh start after ugly departures from their previous teams, Lamar and the L.A. Clippers, and Marion with the Phoenix Suns. Both were brought in to be second fiddle, the sidekick, alongside the team’s superstar.
In other words, to take the workload off of Kobe and Wade’s back.
At the 5 spot, we have Chris Mihm and Mark Blount. Both were side dishes in major deals ( Mihm in the Gary Payton deal to Boston and Mark Blount in the Antoine Walker, 1st round pick trade to Minnesota) brought in a trade to be somewhat the image of a decent center.
C Vlade Divac and Alonzo Mourning. Two aging centers past their prime and only brought in as a name. Divac and Mourning both had career ending injuries; assuming Zo does not return (Divac’s back and Mourning’s torn patellar tendon in his knee).
Udonis Haslem and Brian Grant. The long haired tandem were PF’s who possessed a strong midrange game but couldn’t play a lick of defense. However, despite being defensively challenged, they were solid rebounders who easily could have averaged double digits in that category.
Sure the Lakers finished with a better record than the Heat but neither teams made it to the playoffs. Although the season is not finished, I think it’s pretty safe to say that the Heat won’t be playing into April. The Lakers finished with a 34-48 record. The Heat are currently at 11-46. With 24 games remaining in the season, the Heat will have to go 23-1 just to reach the mark set by the Lakers.
Even then it will not be an improvement, for this dismal club. Well the Lakers soared out of this slump and it only took them a couple of years. Miami won’t be able to prosper unless they look in the record books and see that they are in fact imitators and not the originators.