NBA Playoffs 2012: Star Power Versus Methodology and the Miami Heat's Struggles

Mark LoiselleContributor IIJune 6, 2012

MIAMI, FL - JUNE 05:  (L-R) Head coach Erik Spoelstra and Dwyane Wade #3 of the Miami Heat  looks on in the fourth quarter against the Boston Celtics in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Finals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs on June 5, 2012 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Does money and fame overrule methodology as it applies to a team in the NBA?

This question has been raised due to the Miami Heat's "Dynamic" Duo of LeBron James and Dwyane Wade's underperformance year in and year out.

It makes you wonder if Miami is worried about star power rather than winning.

Going into the 2011-12 season, the Miami Heat were favored to win the 2012 NBA championship—which is still possible.

Looking at the roster from top to bottom, it is is hard to believe that this "elite" team is one game away from being abolished. Pat Riley's franchise has gone from high with Dwyane Wade and Shaquille O'Neal to low with Wade and MVP LeBron James.

"They're Hollywood as hell," Chicago Bulls power forward Joakim Noah stated last year.

As much as I dislike Noah, he establishes a true point. Is Miami just Hollywood?

Throughout the course of this postseason, the Heat are becoming a team characterized as a bunch of superstars who can't seal the deal when it comes winning an NBA championship.

When Riley signed Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh for a sum of $328 million, many people thought the South Beach team was all in, especially to grant James and Bosh their first title.

Two years later, the Heat have acknowledged they aren't the favorites anymore. There are other teams that are legitimate contenders in the race to beat them to their goal.

SAN ANTONIO, TX - JUNE 04:  Kevin Durant #35 of the Oklahoma City Thunder celebrates late in the game after hit a free throw against the San Antonio Spurs in Game Five of the Western Conference Finals of the 2012 NBA Playoffs at AT&T Center on June 4, 201
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

In terms of methodical teams, the Oklahoma City ThunderBoston Celtics and San Antonio Spurs come to mind. Within these teams, it's not all about the bells and whistles, but completing the puzzle piece by piece instead.

Commencing with the Thunder.

This team is hands down the most underrated and respected team in the league. When Sam Presti and company transformed into the Thunder, expectations were skyrocketing in the eventful City of Oklahoma.

The Thunder have earned admiration for building the franchise from the ground up, starting off with the scoring champion Kevin Durant.

The former Texas Longhorn was crowned the centerpiece of their franchise. Then, Russell Westbrook, James Harden and Serge Ibaka followed.

Granted, they did trade for the big man, Kendrick Perkins. Looking at what they needed, he fit exceptionally when this move took place.

Oklahoma City has turned a dull franchise into a potential masterful dynasty, as they have turned into an NBA championship-caliber squad piece by piece.

Two other teams that are in the running for another championship are the Boston Celtics and the San Antonio Spurs.

MIAMI, FL - JUNE 05:  (L-R) Paul Pierce #34 and Kevin Garnett #5 of the Boston Celtics react late in the fourth quarter against the Miami Heat in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Finals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs on June 5, 2012 at American Airlines Aren
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

These teams have been profoundly criticized for being too old to compete in this year's playoffs.

Doc Rivers' team has a knack for always being there in the end, through its tough, gritty and relentless demeanor.

It starts off with the real "Big Three."

"The Boston Celtics are showing the difference between a team and a couple of stars on a team," ESPN's Stephen A. Smith commented on SportsCenter. "There is a huge difference."

For a team to be successful in this league, you need foundation of a solid point guard and big man—the rest will follow.

Rajon Rondo and Kevin Garnett are the backbone of the Celtics' charge for another banner.

Paul Pierce is far beyond a complementary player; he is essentially in his own category. He is the captain and leader of this Boston Celtics team.

The engineer running this machine is Doc Rivers. This coach has presented time and time again that he is right for the job—and perhaps one of the greatest basketball coaches in all of the game—in such a short duration.

His poise and motivation to conduct this team is extraordinary.

Through timeouts, in between games or with pregame and postgame speeches, he has preached the right words to his guys to lead and follow each other.

The San Antonio Spurs are the same.

The "old and experienced" team has increasingly risen above all expectations, finishing in a first-place tie for the best team in the league.

Even though they are down, 3-2, in the Western Conference Finals, this team, like the Boston Celtics, has shown it's not all about the fame.

It is about getting the job done. 

Gregg Popovich's team has displayed a fundamentally sound style of basketball through four NBA championships.

Miami should start taking some notes on how to build an intelligent and strong foundation that doesn't require spending millions of dollars on players with identical skill sets.  

Instead, they should educate themselves on the common bond shared between these three organizations—the construction of a team in a methodical way and ignorance in regard to star power. 

The focus should be on togetherness.


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