Why Miami Heat May Not Develop Championship Chemistry This Season
"They said you have to use your five best players, but I found you win with the five who fit together the best," Red Auerbach
The legendary coach could have not used better words to describe the absolute best winning formula in basketball—chemistry.
History has proven the above statement over and over again. Repeatedly, teams with great chemistry emerge victorious against teams with superior talent.
This summer, a titan was born in Miami. The level of talent of the Miami Heat (even outside of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh) is impressive. Will they gel and take their chemistry level as high as their talent level?
The level or professionalism of the athletes should point to an easy yes, but that is not guaranteed. Here are five arguments against the team’s potential to develop championship chemistry in the 2010-2011 NBA reason.
5. Injury Bug
Injuries are unfortunate events that happen to all players at all levels. LeBron James is probably the only player out of the big three who has stayed almost injury-free throughout his career. Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh are more at risk of a significant injury.
Dwyane Wade has missed 70 games over the past four seasons due to injury, although only eight of those have come in the past two years. Regardless, as a player that lives attacking the basket and constantly getting involved in high contact plays, Wade’s durability will forever be a concern.
In just the first game of the preseason, Wade has suffered a hamstring injury that will sideline him for two weeks. Even without Wade, the Heat should be able to battle any team in the NBA, but chemistry will be affected.
Chris Bosh has missed 45 games over the past four seasons due to injury. Out of those, 17 games were missed in the last two seasons. Known more for a big man with shooting range, Bosh is not likely to suffer significant injuries and should be durable. Nevertheless, as the best big man of the team, missing time will be a bigger case of concern for Miami than any other player on the roster.
Outside of the “Big Three," counting on veterans Mike Miller, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Juwan Howard, and Udonis Haslem to stay healthy the entire season might be a stretch since all these players have shown proneness to injury in their careers.
4. Point Guard Battle
Although people are worried about the “Big Three” being able to develop chemistry, they often forget that there are five players on the court at all times. This issue will turn out to be a lot more important than many people think.
At point guard, there is a unique situation. In Carlos Arroyo, the Heat team has an established veteran with international experience and one of the highest Assist/TO ratios (3.875) in the NBA. On the other hand, there is Mario Chalmers, who is entering his third year in the league following what many (including himself) considered a disappointing year.
Many times in the past, coaches and players have referred to the point guard situation as beneficiary competition. It is believed that the battle for the starting spot should push both players to perform at their highest level. That will change.
Chalmers will be soon playing for a contract, and he will soon realize that he must be the starter. Although a different player, Carlos Arroyo is not a player that would enjoy the bench too much. That’s why he left Detroit in the first place.
Beneficiary competition will soon become a locker room rivalry and a cause for drama. One can only hope Eric Spoelstra and Pat Riley are already thinking about this.
3. High Expectations
The Miami Heat are not only expected to be one of the best teams in the league next season, but they are also expected to contend for a championship in just their first year playing as a unit.
It is a common opinion throughout the league that the Heat are the Eastern Conference’s best team and only the Lakers could prevent them from winning it all.
But what will happen if after 10 or 20 games the Miami Heat do not look like the kind of team everyone expects them to be? How will the team react, specifically to the media?
Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, and Chris Bosh might be great players able to focus on the court under pressure, but in front of a camera they have shown less than average skills. If expectations are not met, comments will be made, fingers will be pointed, and drama will occur.
Not only players will be affected, but also coach Spoelstra. It is almost certain that Pat Riley will not let an opportunity like this slip from him. He will not allow failure and if things are not going the way they should, he will take matters into his own hands. This means coach Spoelstra might be coaching for more than a championship, he will also be coaching for his job.
When the game is on the line, who takes the last shot?
Several people including NBA legends like Magic Johnson, several respected NBA coaches like Avery Johnson, and other analysts have concluded the same thing: Whoever has the hot hand or the best matchup takes the shot or makes the play.
Although that answer makes sense in every basketball way possible, it is still not good enough. Actually, no answer is good enough.
Regardless of what the team’s philosophy (and there will be one to make this work) is, that is not the question that will bring issues in the locker room. The real question that needs to be asked is: What happens if the shot is missed?
When a team has one superstar, that player is most likely taking the last shot with the game on the line. If the shot is missed, the team loses the game and moves on. No questions asked since the best player made the best possible attempt. But when you have three superstars, questions will be asked regarding whether that was the best attempt.
Like it or not, players will be held accountable. Someone in a dark corner will be keeping a record on how many last minute shots James, Wade, and Bosh have taken/missed. This information will be reported, and again, fingers will be pointed and comments will be made.
Hopefully, all players in the Miami Heat roster are able to accept constructive criticism and retain themselves from making foolish comments inside or outside the locker room.
1. King of the Hill
LeBron “King” James left his kingdom in Cleveland, Ohio to play in Miami. The problem is that Miami already had a king of its own in Dwyane Wade. If people think LeBron James can live with no kingdom, then they are wrong.
People have taken different views of this issue. NBA Yahoo! Sports columnist Adrian Wojnarowski wrote a very interesting piece on this issue. Bleacher Report’s columnist Bhemis Parks wrote a piece responding to Wojnarowski’s analysis and opinion. Both writers did an exceptional job with compelling arguments.
In the end, LeBron James is a player that needs a franchise. He is not a sidekick, and quite frankly, not even a co-captain. He is the man, and he can prove it on the court. He is the ultimate playmaker in the game at the moment and two-time MVP.
Slowly but surely, LeBron James will become Miami’s new king. The Miami Heat will become LeBron’s team. How well Dwyane Wade can accept and embrace this is the number one concern on the team developing the chemistry needed to win a championship next year, or any year.