Pat Riley is a genius.
The Miami Heat didn’t waste time celebrating their 2012 NBA Championship—they instantly began to prepare for a title defense. First, Ray Allen spurned the Boston Celtics to join the Big Three and now, Miami is after another sharp shooter that would make them unstoppable.
Hearing that the Heat left yesterday's meeting with Rashard Lewis confident that he'll come aboard. Nothing official yet.— Ethan J. Skolnick (@EthanJSkolnick) July 9, 2012
But before we dive into why the Heat are bound to go back-to-back, let's take a moment to enjoy the irony of this situation.
Miami defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder in the NBA Finals. The Thunder moved to OKC from Seattle. Allen and Lewis just so happened to be the leading scorers on the SuperSonics' last squad to make the playoffs.
Now, whether you believe Lewis is washed up or not, it's impossible to deny the whole new element that he'd add to an already stacked Miami team.
LeBron James averaged 7.4 assists per game in the Finals despite being surrounded by mediocre spot-up shooters like Mike Miller and Shane Battier. If the Heat sign Lewis, can you say double-double? He's a 38 percent career three-point shooter which is a nearly unrivaled number for a power forward.
Sure, it’s debatable whether or not Lewis is an upgrade to Udonis Haslem, but Haslem doesn’t have Lewis’ three-point range. Lewis boasts an ability to spread the floor at the four that Haslem simply can't replicate. Such an addition becomes even more horrifying for Heat opponents when combined with their previous league-shaking signing.
Allen is one of the greatest three-point shooters in NBA history. He’s a massive upgrade to Miller who managed to average 16 minutes a game in the postseason despite only being effective one game per series.
James is the most dominant player in the game of basketball today. Now that he’s added a post game, he’s capable of creating his own shot at will. Teams will be forced to double team him all season long and when they do, a simple kick out will create a wide-open look for a spot-up specialist.
Forget keeping the crew together. Miami will be even better next season because Riley refused to sit back and watch other franchises build teams to beat the Heat. And because of that, Miami should be heavy championship favorites going into the 2012-2013 campaign.
David Daniels is a featured columnist at Bleacher Report and a syndicated writer.