Five Franchise Records the Miami Heat Will Break Next Season
The Miami Heat franchise has been around since 1988, relatively young as far as NBA teams go. However, Miami has been home to some great players over their young history. Players such as Tim Hardaway, Alonzo Mourning, Glen Rice, Rony Seikaly, Eddie Jones, Sherman Douglas, and Shaquille O’Neal are responsible for most of the franchise’s records.
With Miami’s new imports, some of those franchise records could be in trouble. Here is a list of five records that could be gone after next season.
1. Most Points Per Game
The Miami Heat’s franchise record for most points per game averaged in a season is 105 ppg. This mark was set by the 1991-1992 squad comprised of Grant Long, Rony Seikaly, Steve Smith, and sharp shooter Glen Rice.
Replace those four names with James, Wade, Bosh, and Miller and you can quickly begin to see how this record could be in jeopardy. For a little comparison, LBJ and the Cleveland Cavaliers averaged 102.1 points a game last season without all-world players like Wade and Bosh.
Of course, one argument would be that because coach Erik Spoelstra is an extension of Pat Riley, the team will be defensively focused, thus slowing the game down and decreasing the amount of offensive looks.
My counter-argument would be that both Spoelstra and Riley will be more inclined to cater to a style which their young stars are most comfortable. A happy LeBron is the best LeBron. Furthermore, is anyone really going to tell James, Wade, and Bosh, “No guys, you can’t get out and run.”
Current Franchise Record: 105 ppg (1991-92)
2010-11 Season Projection: 107 ppg
2. Most Free Throws Attempted
Miami’s franchise record for most free throws attempted in a season came during the 1992-1993 campaign with 2,476 attempts. This was essentially the same team that set the most points per game record the previous year. On average, NBA teams shoot around 25 free throw attempts per game. Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade, and LeBron James combined for a total of 2,065 attempts last season, averaging 8.4, 10.2, and 8.6 attempts a game, respectively.
The argument against this record being broken would be that their numbers were inflated due to the fact that all three players were all the lead scorers on their teams. Now that they are together, they won’t all sustain those numbers due to a decrease in touches.
Yes, I do believe that individually, their points per game will dip next season, but the amount that these guys get fouled and go to the line will remain around the same. This is because all three players are both great at attacking the basket and are very capable passers. That means defenses will not be able to double team these guys like they could in the past. Ergo, there will be more one-on-one defense, which will inevitably result in defenders getting beat, and when players get beat, they foul.
Current Franchise Record: 2476 Free Throw Attempts (1992-93)
2010-11 Season Projection: 2500+ Free Throw Attempts
3. Most Assists by a Player
The current franchise assist record holder is not Dwyane Wade. It was actually a 30-year-old Tim Hardaway who posted a franchise-best 695 assists in his first full season with the Miami Heat in 1996-1997. That year, Tim’s main targets were Alonzo Mourning, Jamal Mashburn, and Voshon Lenard, who all helped him achieve 8.6 apg. This record will fall to none other than LeBron James, who averaged exactly 8.6 apg last season with a lesser supporting cast. The majority of his assists will come from driving and kicking out to Wade and Mike Miller. But LeBron will also rack them up by lobbing alley-oop passes to Bosh.
The argument against LeBron breaking the assist record is a simple one. He was only able to achieve that high number of assists last season because of his high number of touches.
My counter-argument would be that LeBron has always been an unselfish player and now that he has less of the scoring burden to shoulder, he will be able to play more of a Magic Johnson style. This is a pass first, score second, always attack mentality, one which LeBron is most comfortable playing. With Wade, Bosh, and Miller being the main recipients, it will be hard for LeBron not to break this record.
Current Franchise Record: Tim Hardaway 695 Assists (1996-97)
2010-11 Season Projection: LeBron James 725+ Assists
4. Most All-Star Selections
The record for most players from a Miami Heat squad selected to the NBA All-Star team is two. In 1997, it was Tim Hardaway and Alonzo Mourning. The next two players were selected was in 2001, when Anthony Mason and Alonzo Mourning were both chosen. Then, from 2005-2007, Dwyane Wade and Shaq represented the Heat for three All-Star games in a row. This year, as long as no major injuries occur, Wade, Bosh, and James will all be All-Stars for the Eastern Conference Team.
There is no argument against this record—it will be broken.
Current Franchise Record: Two All-Star Selections in a Season
2010-11 Season Projection: Three All-Star Selections
5. Most Wins in a Season
The current Heat franchise record for most wins in a single season again came from the 1996-97 squad. This team won an impressive 61 games and held their opponents to under 90 points per game. For comparisons sake, let’s use the 2009-10 Cleveland Cavaliers one more time. How many games did they win last season?
Oh, that’s right, 61 games. With that said, I have to believe that James, Wade, and Bosh together can win more games than James, Williams, and Jameson. Jeff Van Gundy seems to believe that the Heat will beat the Chicago Bulls' NBA record of 72 wins in a season. I won’t go that far just yet, because team chemistry is going to be a work in progress and there will be off-nights. But this team should have no problem breaking their franchise record as long as they all stay healthy.
Current Franchise Record: 61 Wins in a Single Season
2010-11 Season Projection: 65+ Wins