Miami Heat: Why Expectations Should Only Increase After Championship
The Miami heat were finally able to shake the monkey off their back and win an NBA Championship, but does this mean they are safe from any further speculation or does it just increase their expectations to win another?
For as much criticism that this team received—especially in the acquisition of LeBron James and Chris Bosh—the Heat seemed to know what they were doing. They have had some incredible success in the league since they added both players.
Some may argue that it is not fair that superstars strategically place themselves on one team together, but it is their prerogative.
Which means, however, with so much star power the expectation is always to win a NBA Championship—which the Heat did.
All the same, this is not the end of the line. The Miami Heat should have expectations to win another championship next year and here are five reasons why.
"The Big Three"
When you have three of the top players in the game and one of them is arguably the best, there is no reason why you should not be contenders year in and year out.
The Miami Heat have already shown that they will be perennial favorites to win the title with Dwayne Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh.
Since "The Big Three" arrived in Miami, the team has made the postseason each of the last two seasons. The first trip resulted in a loss in the finals to the Dallas Mavericks and then just this year they were crowned the champions.
As long as they have their top three players in the game and they perform like they are capable of performing, then the Miami Heat should be a top team in the league for some time. Which means the expectation will be there for them to win another championship, at the very least.
"The Big Three" have proven they can do it and get results in the playoffs, so come next year that same expectation will be following the whole team very closely.
Even with so much money locked away in "The Big Three," it looks like the Miami Heat are right in the mix of things to get an aging star.
There have been rumors floating around that the Heat will have an interest in either Ray Allen or Steve Nash as possible signings in the offseason. This would bring in a talented veteran which would be beneficial to their team in more ways than one.
Alex Kennedy of Hoopsworld tweeted the following:
"The general consensus around the NBA is that Ray Allen will sign with Miami."
Ray Allen would most likely have to take a bit of a pay cut to play on the Heat, but he may do so to get one more crack at an NBA Championship.
As for Steve Nash, he says that he has to take everything into consideration since he is a free agent. Which means that the Heat could be one of the options for him, Mike Mazzeo reports from ESPN. Nash would also have to take a pay cut if he was looking to join the Heat with their current financial situation.
In the end, you would expect the Heat to be players—in some capacity—once this year's free agency begins. There is no doubt they will once again be looking for another championship next year.
With expectations on the rise, the Heat will have to make sure they stay one step ahead of the game and adding a proven player such as Allen or Nash would make sure they are ready for another run to a second consecutive title.
With so much knock coming Erik Spoelstra's way, he was probably glad to finally win an NBA title as head coach and get that out of the way.
After making it all the way to the finals last year, Spoelstra was considered not fit to lead the team to the promised land. It seems he has been able to overcome any of that doubt.
This year, at the beginning of the playoffs he created a replica of the trophy that the NBA champions would receive. He used this trophy to connect his players, make sure they had extra motivation every time they stepped on the court and gave them something to play for, The Associated Press reports (via CBC.ca):
We signed our names to guarantee we'd bring those things onto the table," Spoelstra said. "And when we weren't, that trophy would come out and we'd remind ourselves we signed our name and we're not being true to that. That was a powerful exercise for us.
Even mentor Pat Riley, the former Heat coach who Spoelstra worked as an assistant with, gave credit to the young coach for all the work he did this year, The Associated Press writes (via CBC.ca).
"He's a young coach that's really found his way," Riley said. "He's getting better and better every minute."
It seems like Spoelstra has all the tools to lead the Heat to another championship. With everyone—players, Riley and now fans—all realizing his strong coaching skills, he will be a catalyst for the Heat to bring their best game to every postseason.
Together as a Team
This championship was not won by just "The Big Three." After losing in the finals last year, the Heat showed that they needed players to compliment James, Wade and Bosh—in the necessary places—if they ever wanted a chance to win.
This year, they did that just right and have found the key to being a very successful team. If they expect to have another run at the title next year, they will once again have to fill the holes on their roster with gritty depth players.
As Zach Lowe of Sports Illustrated liked to put it, "this was a title won by star power and guts."
As much of a super threesome the Heat have, the 2012 title would not be in their hands if it was not for the play of teammates such as Mario Chalmers. He came up big when they needed him and took some of the pressure off of James, Wade and Bosh.
His contributions did not go unrecognized by his teammates, though, as Andre Fernadez of the Miami Herald points out.
"They gave me a lot of love," Chalmers said. "They always have encouraging words. Any time I hear encouraging words after struggling like I have been, it gives you an extra boost of confidence."
Even his coach knew that what Chalmers brought onto the court each and every time was something that every team needs if it wants to be successful, Fernandez reports:
"That kid is not afraid of any moment," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said during the series. "We all know that. He's a gutsy kid. He's a gamer. He's got guts. You can't quantify that. You can't measure it."
Hungry for More
No player wants to win just once, winning is what they play for. For the Miami Heat that will be no different.
After getting the first one out of the way this year, they will want another NBA Championship as soon as they can. If you are a true athlete you play to win—and that is what the Heat will be doing.
Although Dwayne Wade says he will not be making any predictions about another championship, he does feel they have what it takes, reports Chris Tomasson of Fox Sports:
"I ain't going to do no predictions," Wade said. "That ain't going to be good. I will say this. If this team is healthy, I think we can compete. All we ask is we can compete for a championship every year. And that's all you ask for is to have an opportunity... When healthy, I think we can compete for a championship for the next few years."
With talk of veteran players joining the Heat in the offseason, this means that there will be even more motivation in the room. These players will have come to the team hoping for a championship and teammates love to get on board to help out with that kind of stuff.
In the end, there will be a lot of motivation in the Heat dressing room to win another championship next year. One will not be good enough for them; they have too much to prove, and this coming year they will have no reservations in their attempt for another title.