Miami Heat Media Day 2013: Photos, Interviews and Takeaways
The Miami Heat's 2013-14 season is going to be filled with plenty of intriguing storylines, but a couple came to the forefront of the national attention during the team's media day.
As you might have expected, the reporters came firing away with plenty of questions. Some inquiries received legitimate answers—like LeBron James on his free-throw shooting, for example—while others were deflected away by a shield comprised of stock answers.
From LeBron's impending free agency to the health of Greg Oden, let's dive into the key takeaways:
Not Even a Hint about 2014 Free Agency
Much to the surprise of absolutely no one, this was a key topic of conversation no matter who was at the podium.
Erik Spoelstra refused to discuss the future, instead revealing that he believed the Heat were better trained for this type of distraction than any other team in the NBA. Dwyane Wade wouldn't talk about his own plans, and he took umbrage to being asked about LeBron's.
And as for the MVP, he just didn't think it was an appropriate topic of conversation.
Anyone shocked by this?
Spoelstra's Suit Game
According to D-Wade, it's awful.
Fortunately, the extension the head coach received should allow him to rebuild his wardrobe.
I can't be the only one hoping that Craig Sager is a major influence.
Dwyane Wade is Looking Good
After Spo addressed Wade's status during the postseason, "revealing" that he was playing hurt and performing when most others would sit out, everyone started looking ahead.
Although Wade will be taking it easy during training camp, the consensus opinion is that he's in great shape and looking forward to a healthy season.
Wade also indicated that he was perfectly fine serving as a second option and went so far as to say that he's one of the only second options in the league who can average 20 points. Considering Miami only got over the hump when he accepted this role, that's good news for the three-peat dreams.
Greg Oden and Michael Beasley
No one is sure what to expect from these two.
They're viewed as luxury items, but players like Udonis Haslem are still expecting a lot while trying to keep the latter out of trouble.
No firm timetable has been given for the big man from Ohio State, but he'd like to play on opening night. And while no one else in the organization would make that sort of statement, it seems as though he'll continue rehabbing and working his way back into the NBA at a rather slow pace.
There are certainly encouraging signs, though.
Beasley says he's more mature and focused, and Oden has already lost 40 pounds with a plan to continue shedding weight and easing the burden on his knees.
LeBron James' Game
LeBron has a weird set of goals.
He wants to improve his free-throw shooting, but he also wants to temper the expectations. Eighty percent is realistic, but 90 percent is apparently out of the question.
As for his status among the greatest players of all time, he simply wants to be the best. You know, because that's easier than shooting 90 percent at the charity stripe.
He wants to surpass Michael Jordan and everyone else, and while he acknowledges that he's far away from that goal, he can see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Oh, and he's apparently improved every part of his game, which would be rather terrifying for the rest of the NBA.
Get ready for an exciting season in South Beach, and prepare yourself to hear "three-peat" with alarming frequency throughout the 2013-14 season.
Michael Beasley and Mario Chalmers were rookies together, and they somehow overcame their collegiate ties to become friends. Of course, there were problems.
Well, Udonis Haslem is going into teacher mode and making sure that they won't happen again.
Haslem says he sat down Beasley and Chalmers and reminded them "this is not 5 years ago." Wants them to focus on court, not off.— Ethan J. Skolnick (@EthanJSkolnick) September 30, 2013
It isn't five years ago. It's 2013, and the Heat can't afford distractions as they chase the three-peat.
Haslem went on to provide a rather optimistic take on the former Kansas State standout:
Haslem: "I think people are going to be surprised by what we get from Beas this year."— Ethan J. Skolnick (@EthanJSkolnick) September 30, 2013
Does a few points of the bench count as surprising?
Greg Oden has lost 40 pounds since last summer and wants to lose more.— Tim Reynolds (@ByTimReynolds) September 30, 2013
So, just like every other player on media day, Oden is in the shape of his life!
Michael Beasley is saying all the right things.
Beasley said he is wiser and not as carefree and comes here knowing heat doesn't need him— Barry Jackson (@flasportsbuzz) September 30, 2013
Every one of those statements is important.
Beasley obviously has to be wiser and less carefree. If he falls for the temptations of South Beach, he won't be calling the NBA home for much longer. And it's also important that he recognizes the fact that he's very much a luxury item.
The Heat aren't going to change for him. It's him that has to change for the Heat.
We still don't have an established timetable for Greg Oden, and given the fiasco that ensued when he spoke about his injury with specifics last time, it could be a while longer.
Greg Oden says he's hopeful to be ready for the season, but will go "at my body's pace." Enjoying being out of spotlight.— Ethan J. Skolnick (@EthanJSkolnick) September 30, 2013
It's pretty understandable that he's happy to be out of the spotlight. Given the way his career has progressed, it's best for him to remain under the radar.
I still have trouble wrapping my head around the fact that we could still see nicknames on the back of jerseys.
LeBron gives full endorsement to nicknames on the back of jerseys. "I think it's cool." Says he would have gone crazy for an MJ.— Ethan J. Skolnick (@EthanJSkolnick) September 30, 2013
Would that make my "Pistol" Pete Maravich Hawks jersey less of a prized possession?
LeBron on Game 6: "It's still crazy to watch."— Joseph Goodman (@JoeGoodmanJr) September 30, 2013
No kidding. That game still doesn't make sense.
We've reached the point in LeBron's career in which he can actually talk about being the greatest of all time.
LeBron: "I want to be the greatest of all time. And that's my motivation.... It's not simple, but for me it is. That's my mindframe."— Ethan J. Skolnick (@EthanJSkolnick) September 30, 2013
LeBron on being greatest ever: "I'm far, I'm far away from it. But I see the light."— Ethan J. Skolnick (@EthanJSkolnick) September 30, 2013
Is he close? Absolutely not, but it's hard to argue with him being one of the 20 best players to ever lace up sneakers on an NBA court, even if he retired right now. Quite frankly, it would be tough to leave him out of the top 10 now that he has two rings.
If LeBron's career continues on its current trajectory, the LeBron-Michael Jordan debate would actually have some merit.
One of the MVP's goals for the season is to improve his free-throw shooting. He's been hovering in the 70s for each of the last six seasons, and he took a step backward in 2012-13, finishing at 75.3 percent.
While his 77.7 percent in the postseason was better, it's still not good enough.
LeBron on free throw shooting: "90 percent is not the goal. That's out of control. Let's get to 80 first."— Ethan J. Skolnick (@EthanJSkolnick) September 30, 2013
LeBron says 80 percent from the free-throw line is his goal this season. Shot 150 free throws after daily workouts this offseason.— Joseph Goodman (@JoeGoodmanJr) September 30, 2013
LeBron hitting 90 percent of his looks would be terrifying. Hell, even 80 percent would make the world's most dangerous player even more potent.
The Eastern Conference got a lot better this offseason, especially when we're talking about the mid-level teams.
In LeBron's opinion, two squads stand out as particularly improved:
LeBron says Detroit and Washington have gotten better, two teams that no one is talking about.— Tim Reynolds (@ByTimReynolds) September 30, 2013
For what it's worth, I have the Wizards finishing with a playoff berth and Detroit falling just shy, coming in at No. 9 as the new pieces struggle to adjust to each other at the beginning of the year.
Well, LeBron can never meet his goals now, even though he's still improving his game.
LeBron James on summer: “I got better. I’m a better basketball player than I was last year in every aspect.’’— Chris Tomasson (@christomasson) September 30, 2013
LeBron, on if he's satisfied, " . . . not 11, not 12, not 13, not 14 . . . " with a huge smile, joking how he just guaranteed a title at 50.— Ira Winderman (@IraHeatBeat) September 30, 2013
Good for you, LBJ. Way to take the joke and turn it around to make fun of those who still inexplicably have nothing but vitriol flowing through their veins.
If anyone actually takes his quotes seriously this time, can we just rescind their rights to watch NBA basketball?
Oh look, basketball stuff.
LeBron: "If we're healthy as a ballclub, it doesn't matter who you put up against us, we're going to compete."— Tim Reynolds (@ByTimReynolds) September 30, 2013
Remember that the Heat just won a title while Dwyane Wade was playing on knees that essentially weren't functioning. A clean bill of health for him alone would do wonders for the team.
And if Greg Oden stayed healthy as well...
LeBron was asked about the possibility of him opting out after the season???
LeBron, on his right to opt out at season's end, "I don't think it's appropriate to talk about it right now."— Ira Winderman (@IraHeatBeat) September 30, 2013
LeBron: "It'd be different if we had a young ballclub that didn't know how to handle the media, and got suckered into questions."— Ethan J. Skolnick (@EthanJSkolnick) September 30, 2013
Sorry for my cynicism, but it's necessary. Can we just focus on the basketball and not what might happen a year from now?
I've got to agree with Tim Reynolds here.
Greg Oden says he'd like to play on opening night. I wouldn't envision the Heat pushing it that quickly.— Tim Reynolds (@ByTimReynolds) September 30, 2013
It's not about what Oden wants. Even if he's capable of making a limited impact on opening night, the Miami training staff has to exercise extreme caution.
Nothing would be worse than seeing him crumple up on the first night of the season. It's a sight we're all too familiar with.
If you were looking for your first look at Greg Oden in a Miami jersey, here ya go!
It's a little disconcerting that Oden is sitting in this picture, but perhaps that's because he'd be too tall to fit into the frame otherwise.
It's good that Wade is accepting his role.
Wade's role on this team: "Well, I'm the second option. Let's just point blank, say it. So I've got to do different things than I've done."— Ethan J. Skolnick (@EthanJSkolnick) September 30, 2013
Wade: "I'm one of the only second options to average 20 points a game. That's not bad at all."— Tim Reynolds (@ByTimReynolds) September 30, 2013
Although he's still one of the most talented players in the NBA—a top-10 talent, in fact—he has to be willing to be the beta dog. It was only when he took on that role both on the court and in his mind that Miami got over the hump and was willing to win a title.
Dwyane Wade has some thoughts on Erik Spoelstra as well.
Wade on Spoelstra: "I'm glad he got an extension. Now maybe he can extend his suit patterns and get some new suits."— Ethan J. Skolnick (@EthanJSkolnick) September 30, 2013
Wade is somewhat of a fashion guru, so when he calls you out, you better adjust your suit game. Here's hoping that Spoelstra messes with Wade and goes all Craig Sager on us.
Wade also isn't taking any questions about LeBron's impending free agency.
Wade on LeBron's decision: "Don't try to put that pressure on me. I'm gonna stop that right now."— Ethan J. Skolnick (@EthanJSkolnick) September 30, 2013
And good for him. The focus is on the 2013-14 season, and it's not like he should talk for the MVP anyway.
What? Did you think Wade would be free from questions about 2014?
Wade on the future: "I don't think guys are looking to go elsewhere."— Shandel Richardson (@ShandelRich) September 30, 2013
Wade: "We all know inside our locker room that LeBron is committed to this team.... The business side will happen when it's time."— Ethan J. Skolnick (@EthanJSkolnick) September 30, 2013
Dwyane Wade is on the podium and under fire.
First, he clued is on to how he'll approach training camp.
Wade says in training camp, "I'll be going at my pace."— Ethan J. Skolnick (@EthanJSkolnick) September 30, 2013
Given the fact that Miami has a largely similar roster to last year's and Wade has already established himself as a superstar, that's perfectly acceptable. So is this:
Wade: "I play to prove myself right rather than prove you wrong."— Ethan J. Skolnick (@EthanJSkolnick) September 30, 2013
It's the exact mentality he needs to have, especially since he'd have to prove a lot of critics wrong this year.
Presented without comment:
Dwyane Wade arrives for media day interview, drinking a Gatorade.— Tim Reynolds (@ByTimReynolds) September 30, 2013
BUT HOW DOES GATORADE AFFECT HIS KNEES?
Sorry, couldn't resist.
Well, Michael Beasley is home. Again.
Now we just have to see if he plays well at home. Beasley will have to start making a higher percentage of his shots, exerting some type of effort on defense and crashing the boards if he's going to land a rotation spot for the defending champions.
If you're looking for LeBron James and Ray Allen sightings this early, don't count on it quite yet. They're a little busy doing some radio interviews.
In related news, LeBron's headband can no longer be called a "band."
What is the duplicate article?
Why is this article offensive?
Where is this article plagiarized from?
Why is this article poorly edited?