Call it the rookie season "curse" of a super team.
First comes the hype...then the incredibly exaggerated expectations...then the inevitable failure of not meeting those expectations...then legitimate doubt...and finally, a toxic mixture of paranoia and overreaction slowly emanating from the media to the locker room.
But, as the Miami Heat eventually came to realize, all of the nonsense was nothing more than a media-concocted mind game that aims to impose an artificial timer to counteract the most conducive element of all-patience.
With that said, the collective psyche of the Heat is in a much better place now, with their championship success last year validating the notion that they are much more than the sum of its parts.
Remember when Miami Thrice first hit the league in the 2010 and the prevailing knock on them was that they were a three-headed monster with little to no room for error because of their limited depth?
Well, what about Chris Bosh getting injured in the first game of the second round last year against the Pacers? He was sidelined for the remainder of that series and the majority of the conference finals against Boston. And guess what—Miami still won.
They still won despite knee issues hampering Dwyane Wade.
They still won despite cramps sidelining LeBron in the key moments of Game Four of the NBA Finals.
As a result,the Heat not only proved to the world last year that they were, indeed, champions, but they proved to themselves that no amount of adversity will deter them from success.
And that reality carries on to this season.