The Miami Heat: Don't Underestimate Them

Scott LinkContributor IJuly 17, 2010

MIAMI - JULY 09:  Dwyane Wade #3 (C) of the Miami Heat talks during a press conference after a welcome party at American Airlines Arena on July 9, 2010 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)
Doug Benc/Getty Images

I don't see as why anyone would doubt the young, probable, future Hall-of-Famer trio of Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and LeBron James.

Whether you liked or were tortured by the situation and suspense LeBron put the NBA in, on July 8th 2010 at 9 p.m. eastern time, you have to hand it to Pat Riley and the Miami Heat; they have put together 3 of the top 5 players in the NBA and possibly two of the top 5 in the history of the NBA, period.

All three players construct a core that is unstoppable. An amalgamation of players at the very tippiest, top tier, like this is completely and utterly unprecedented, and we may never experience it ever again after this.

These players did not get traded to a team they questioned, they went out and made the case that they would take pay cuts of, not thousands, but millions of dollars to play together. This is one of the most remarkable things I've ever witnessed in sports. It represents the true mold of role models of which adolescents should try to learn from — taking sacrifices, making the best of your abilities and coming together for the greater good of your team. These guys are "brothers" essentially and really wanted to play together.

Dwyane Wade is a great ball handler, shooter, scorer, rebounder and leader. He only needed Shaquille O'Neal (an ex MVP at the time) and a few role-players who also wanted rings to get his team to perform at a level of perfection, which got them those rings and the chip for his city.

What says that Wade will now fail to repeat this along side a two-time reigning MVP in LeBron James, plus arguably the best power forward in the league, Chris Bosh?

Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh combined make already the most efficient starting 5 the league has ever seen no matter who is entered in the 1 and 5 slots; by a long shot.

Now I must set up a similar illustration to more easily prove my point — two ways that prove this team is what I proclaim it to be — simply incredible. First, remember the Celtics team with only Paul Pierce, a confused Rajon Rondo who was unsure of his role in the team, an undeveloped and troubled Kendrick Perkins, a younger, blooming Al Jefferson and recently at the time had the number two option, chucker, washed up Ricky Davis?

Well they traded Ryan Gomes, Theo Ratlif, Gerald Green, Mark Blount,  Al Jefferson and Sebastian Telfair for a crazy athlete, Kevin Garnett, the Big Ticket, KG, the best player in the league at the time. And yet, Garnett had been showing a couple signs of slowing down (normal after 30 years of age of course), something this trio is clearly a decade away from doing.

The Celtics also picked up Ray Allen, a huge transaction at the time; nevertheless in the same chapter of his career as KG. And there it was, a Jackal and Hide transformation. The once horrid Celtics were now the Big Three.

Did I dislike them? Absolutely not. I adored the tremendous amount of potential the new-looking Celtics had after years of frustration. I had to hand it to Danny Ainge, he did a wonderful job. And wonderful things come from wonderful work as Rajon Rondo became an elite point guard, Perkins became a huge efficient defensive center and the picture was complete.

Originally it was said that people thought guys like Ray Allen and KG would have to take a backseat to Paul Pierce's team, but I didn't see it that way, and I still don't see it that way. The big three would turn into the big 4 and eventually, I personally like to call it, the big 5. It took a little inspiration and experience from around the league (Garnett, Allen) for guys like Perkins and Rondo to really find their niche.

Maybe I'm the only one that realizes it, but this whole scenario with the Heat is a spitting image akin to the one in Boston, only much bigger. Who knows if Garnett, Pierce and Allen really wanted to play together? Well they were put together and hey, 2 finals appearances and a ring in 3 years and they look mighty fine to me while displaying the real gist of basketball, which I believe is teamwork.

Every team that has ever won a championship is the best TEAM — not one superstar and a handful of role players. Every team has had at least two superstars on the team; at least superstars in the true meaning to the NBA — and now the Heat currently have 3 and are still building on that roster with quality players who are hungry for a championship.

The bottom line is, Wade, James and Bosh have the potential to create the greatest team of all time in the same amount of time the Celtics did, in one single off-season. The leadership the trio will demonstrate will create a massive wave effect of the whole team and whatever way they decide to fill up the rest of the roster, players will excel to the fullest of their talent. Rondo's, Perkin's and even Tony Allen's may come out. It's amazing how it works.

Secondly, you cannot deny the stats. This is for those of you who chose not to watch the game, you so-called staticians and such, because this will make your mouth water. Ever heard of PER — Player Efficiency Rating? Hope I'm not making anyone scratch their heads but I don't doubt I will be.

PER is to me, the stat that single handedly defines the importance of a player in one number. LeBron James has led the league for three straight years now with the numbers 30+ at least each year. That is phenomenal. You want to know how good that is? Jordan has the third all time PER rating for one season with 31.71 in his 87-88 supremacy of the NBA. Whoa! Hold on Scott, there must be two seasons greater than his then right? Correct, you are a witty one.

Wilt Chamberlain had two years reaching as high as 31.84, 31.76 in 62-63 and 61-62, both years respectively to the numbers. Who else than number four though? His name starts with a Le and ends with a Bron. And in 08-09 he had a rating of 31.67. — One that could have easily been boosted up had he taken more shots per game, something that always made MJ have a higher scoring average and PER.

This resonates my argument that while MJ and LeBron are equally as effective in my opinion, LeBron is more of a traditional forward-facilitator type of factor in this day and age, among the likes of Earvin Johnson and even Oscar Robertson (who I think LeBron even makes look like a wimp). And I love The Big O. Boohoo me right? I know, he was one of my most fascinating studies so it’s hard for me to say it but I make it my own duty to speak the truth.

Moving on from my reminiscence of NBA history, if you go farther but not far at all, I mean I don't know how far you consider 10 slots, but who holds this slot? — No one other than Dwyane Wade, LeBron's new teammate. We're talking possibly the breakdown of the greatest seasons to ever occur by numbers and Wade had a PER rating of 30.36, beating the efficiency of the legendary seasons of TMac's reign in Orlando, Shaq's dominance in LA in his clear cut prime, David Robinson's glory years, and all the rest of NBA Hall of Fame alumni, reducing their greatest seasons to rubble in comparison.

One last thing to point out, Chris Bosh's 09-10 season is ranked 162nd. You want to know where that ranks — the similar years? Try only one slot behind Magic Johnson back in 90-91 or one ahead of Toronto's short-term previous hero as well, VC. Clearly his best season, period back in 00-01 when Vinsanity was considered an elite, unstoppable threat.

Now that we have finally finished my long lesson on NBA PER, (and by the way, if you don't use it now, get into it, it defines players amazingly, I've been using it ever since I can remember and it helps place players perfectly in their rightful ranks, flawlessly) we can get back to the Miami Heat. Now, the Los Angeles Lakers have won 2 back-to-back championships and 3 straight finals appearances, I completely understand why. They are a great team; they have great leadership within Bryant, Gasol and Fisher.

Now this team I repeat has won 2 straight titles, correct? Just making sure you’re on the same page as me because when I add the PER of each player of the Lakers starting 5 from last year I receive the number 86.4 — a very good number indeed. Now take Bosh, Wade and LeBron and add them together and you have 84.1. No, I didn't forget to add a player on the Lakers starting five, that's just how efficient these three are, and I'd say it certainly is a compliment to the Lakers to be even close to the number these three have. But the only way you could have a less efficient starting five then the Lakers if you were the Miami Heat is if you decided to sit out your point guard and center. Which I'll die before can legally happen.

The Heat will try to find who they can in free agency and I doubt they will find someone even decent at the 5 since good centers that solely complete their mission on the hardwood are a rare catch — especially after the free agency bonanza being 3/4's over, because trust me if there were any free agent centers worth a look to many teams, they'd be long gone.

They may get someone like Keyon Dooling at the point and if they do, great for them because hey, they got a point guard, and for the money and scarcity, it doesn't get much better than that. I can see someone like Joel Anthony or Dexter Pittman taking the reins of starting center if a new employee doesn't arrive to take the position.  And of course the rumors are heating up that Zydrunas Ilgauskas is trying to follow LeBron to the Heat, something that would help fill up the roster and provide a potential or even starting center, depending on the ultimate situation they are left with. [Update: Ilgauskas has signed with the Heat]

Did I just hear something though? Shaquille O'Neal is trying to find a legit contender to sign with? Wow that's interesting stuff. I envision a pay cut, and a reunion with Wade and LeBron after teams like Dallas seeming uninterested in prioritizing their search for another big man; I mean he did say he was going to get a ring for the King correct?

Let's be real, Shaq is a backup center in most situations, but the Heat could really use some real deep experience and guidance and while I doubt they need a lot of it, Shaq could be like a father figure to help ensure the overall connection and protection of the flow of the whole team, and it's a guarantee they win the title given they net him, not that I had any doubts of them winning it in the first place, but it sounds like an ESPN rumor story right now that has yet to be published. "Shaq to reunite with Wade and LeBron one last time?" to make you lick your lips and your mind off tangent, something ESPN always wants to do.

If Shaq is willing to take a pay cut, depending on what contract he wants, hopefully he doesn't think he's worth a pretty hefty one, but say he does, I'm sorry Laker fans and fans of contenders, the rings are going to be specially reserved for the Heat. And hey I'm a Mavericks fan — how do you think I feel about all of this? No hard feelings DWade.