Miami Heat's Final Checklist Before 2012-13 NBA Opening Night
Miami will embark on an entirely new journey as they attempt to defend their title in a league that's been shaken up this offseason, to say the least.
Last year's championship means nothing as far as this season goes, despite the fact that emotions will be at an all-time high when they are presented with their ring in front of their biggest foes, the Boston Celtics.
Nevertheless, here's a quick checklist of some things the Miami Heat must address before opening night on Wednesday if they want this season to be as successful as the last.
Going into this season with the right mindset is important for many reasons.
A team needs to be mentally tough in order to deal with the ups and downs of an NBA season—especially coming off a championship year.
As every team builds up around the league, the Heat must realize they are the team everyone is gunning for.
Although Miami has likely felt like this since they came together in 2010, it will be taken to another level now that they've got the rings to back up the swagger.
It's got to continue to be an "us against the world" type of thing. This is no time to let your guard down. The key is to not be satisfied. True winners never are.
Point Guard Battle
Norris Cole has shown drastic signs of improvement this offseason, but this talk about him being the starting point guard for the Heat has to stop. He's not ready.
Mario Chalmers is a proven player that, in reality, Miami might not have won the title without last season.
The bottom line is, this whole point guard confusion needs to be sorted out sooner rather than later. Not a distraction needed coming into the season.
Despite the fact that Chalmers has sat out all preseason with a minor hamstring injury, the distinction between the two players is still very clear.
Cole will make for one of the better, more capable backup point guards in the league, while Chalmers will continue to shine bright among the star-studded starting lineup.
The previous slide brings me to my next question, is a point guard even necessary for this Miami Heat team?
The ideal closing lineup for this squad would have to include both Ray Allen and Dwyane Wade. Correct me if I'm wrong.
That leaves you with LeBron James, Chris Bosh and likely either Udonis Haslem, Rashard Lewis or Shane Battier.
So, if you're going to finish the game with no point guard, why not begin it without one as well?
Nevertheless, it seems as though the Heat have elected to go with a traditional starting lineup for now.
But don't be surprised to see the lineup altered later down the road.
With so many shooters surrounding the Miami Heat's Big 3, it's going to be more important than ever for their superstars to establish an inside presence.
Luckily for the Heat, all three of their guys have the capability to play with their back towards the basket. Something each player seems to grow more and more comfortable with as the years go by.
It would be easy for this team to fall in love with outside shots, but that is not how championships are won.
In particular, Chris Bosh has to be the one banging inside for boards and refusing to be pushed around despite his smaller frame. If he's able to hold his own in there, that will set the tone for the rest of the team and the Heat will be just fine.
However, it is something the Heat will need to be conscious of moving forward.
Keeping Everyone Involved
When you've got a team with so much talent, it becomes very easy for some guys to become disengaged because they don't feel like they are getting enough time or touches.
This is why it's key for the Heat to keep everyone involved, whether it be Ray Allen, Joel Anthony or anybody else on the roster.
You've got to get the shooters shots. You've got to get the bigs touches. Of course, everyone knows their role, but also it's important to remember that everyone loves feeling important to the team.
If Miami can find a way to keep everyone involved, one way or another, they will be a much better team for it.
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