Pat Riley's Ace In The Hole Is Zo Good: Alonzo Mourning Return Possible.
While up late watching television one might stumble upon an infomercial. Your first thought is to switch the channel but then you see something captivating.
At first you're like no that's too good to be true. Then you watch a little more and see how it could actually work. You think to yourself "wow, this is a fantastic new concept, it may really be a great thing."
Then they add a few pieces to show you all that you're actually getting. Yet you resist the urge to be swayed by the amazing potential presented to you.
They display all the different ways this would be a great thing. It's versatile and revolutionary but you're a skeptic and not very avant-garde. Thus you still refuse to buy into the hype.
Typically this is when you're ready to tune out and then "BAM" at the very last second they add something else. It's a piece that catches your fancy. You weren't expecting this, you thought they had made their best case and now they throw this on the table.
That's it, this last piece just sweetened the pot too much to pass on. You're on the phone or on-line ordering one for yourself. You bought in. You too are now a believer and have acknowledged as much.
Similar to an infomercial Pat Riley has presented NBA fans and followers with something revolutionary and potentially tremendous. He has offered up other quality pieces and presented it to you as a whole. Now he'll wait and get what he wants by surprising you with a last second bonus.
What would the addition of Alonzo Mourning mean for Miami?
Riley is a mastermind, a tactician, a motivator and most of all a winner. He knows this Heat team is still one piece away. There is a reason why he didn't make a play for Shaquille O'Neal.
As it stands Joel Anthony is pegged to be the Heat's starting center. He will provide Miami with a gritty shot blocking center who is content with doing the dirty work.
Still Anthony, who is listed as 6'9" 260, will wear down this season getting so many more minutes than in years past. Besides is he a championship caliber starting center? Don't you wish he was at least an inch or two taller?
No team has won multiple NBA titles with a 6'9" Center starting since the Boston Celtics did with Bill Russell. In fact Ben Wallace and the Detroit Pistons might be the only to do so even once since Russell. The Lakers won a decisive game in the finals with Magic Johnson at center but Kareem Abdul Jabbar had started the first five in the series.
Miami does have 3 other big men on the roster right now. Zydraunas Illgauskas is a big man but he wouldn't stand a chance versus Dwight Howard. Jamal Magloire is a shadow of his young self. Rookie Dexter Pittman is likely a year or two of polishing and conditioning away from being a big time contributor.
This led me to think of one guy Riley could call upon. One player capable of easing the Heat's concern for a dominant defensive post presence.
That of course being Alonzo Mourning. Yes he of the Hulk Hoganesque wrestling poses. The man who was the face of the Heat franchise before the days of Dwyane Wade and LeBron James.
It would be another brilliant move by Riley if he brought in Mourning say after the all star break. Just enough time to mesh with the roster and get his legs under him in regards to conditioning.
Granted Mourning is currently 40 years old. Then again he may be 40 years young. Alonzo has played 332 less games and 16,000 less minutes than Shaquille O'Neal. So one could argue because of what has transpired in his career, Zo has more tread on his tires than the "Big Diesel".
Mourning would have to show he is able to bounce back from his season/career ending patella tendon tear in 2007. For his part Zo was quoted as saying that "this wasn't the way he wanted to end his career considering all he had been through already."
Those that have seen him would attest Alonzo is still in great shape. He works out and takes care of his body. If he were able to rehabilitate the knee injury, Mourning would give the Heat just what they need.
Zo's return would be a feel good story for this franchise. He already got one ring but how sublime would it be for him to win another? It's equivalent to having "Double Rainbow" sprinkles thrown atop the Heat's great looking sundae.
He doesn't bring the baggage that say Shaq's resigning would have. Alonzo is beloved by the city and team. He is a Riley disciple. A true warrior that is still an active member of the community and franchise.
He was one of the Heat representatives at the LeBron meeting. He co-hosts an annual charity event with Wade which Zo started back in 1997.
On the court Miami would have a two time NBA Defensive MVP manning the paint. He can't give you 30 minutes but he would lay his heart out for 18-20 in the playoffs. That's good enough for me.
He would be able to start (rightfully so) and play 5-6 minutes. Then get 6-8 combined in the second and third quarters. Then he'd give you another 6-7 in the pivotal fourth quarter and decisive minutes.
Zo also plays hard in practice. He gives it his all in the weight room. This would only serve as great examples for youngsters such as Anthony and Pittman to learn from. A wonderful player, competitor and role model to look up to.
It was Alonzo that helped the Heat beat the Mavericks more than Shaq. It was he that countered Wade's offensive brilliance by anchoring down the defensive end.
If any one man deserves to benefit and win a ring from the Heat's offseason free agent coup it is Mourning.
He isn't the permanent solution at center for Miami's future. Yet he may very well be that one extra piece presented at the last second that forces skeptics and pundits to buy what Riley is selling.
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