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The 2010/11 Miami Heat, the most hyped team in NBA history, is different than any roster ever assembled. Who will be the man on this star-heavy squad moving forward?
Will it be Chris Bosh, one of the best big men in the league? What about LeBron James, the most talented player in the world? It must be Dwyane Wade’s team, right? After all, he led the franchise to their one and only championship four years ago and has been the franchise ever since.
The correct answer is none of the above. This is far from the typical NBA roster, ultimately defined by one leader. This is a team.
For them to be successful this year and beyond, they will truly have to embody the team concept. In the NBA, where egos are large and critics are bountiful, this can be a difficult task.
Like a marriage, Wade, Bosh, and James are going to have to deal with some give and take. Each isn’t going to score 25 every night. One might lead the team in scoring one night but not the next. Bosh might frequently be the team’s leading scorer, and nobody will have a problem with that.
James and Wade are going to have to get used to taking turns facilitating offense, because there is only one ball. It shouldn’t be as challenging as some might think.
Let’s take a look at the facts of the offseason.
1. Three superstars, two of which are among the league’s top three players, decided to team up while each taking less money to do so. The reason for taking less money was so the Heat could acquire other assets to further improve the team, which led to…
2. Mike Miller and Udonis Haslem joined ship after both passed on more lucrative deals elsewhere. Don’t dismiss the fact that these two are both 30 years old. This is their last major contract and they sacrificed a ton of money.
3. Veterans like Zydrunas Ilgauskus, Eddie House, Juwan Howard all came aboard for the league minimum.
Every major move this summer was carried out with the the thought of winning a championship in mind. James, Wade, and Bosh value winning before anything else, as they have said repeatedly. This chemistry issue should be a piece of cake.
No other team in the NBA is stacked with as much elite talent as the Heat. That is fact, no matter how you look at it.
I had an argument the other day with a friend who stated that Miami won’t succeed because there isn’t a clear cut player who will be the man in the final moments, like Kobe Bryant is for the Lakers. I became a little irritated because Miami has two dominant perimeter players who can fill that role, and then a beast inside who can score in a variety of ways.
On a true team it doesn’t matter who takes the last shot, or the most shots, or plays the most minutes, just that they get the win. Who says you can’t have more than one leader?
If the Lakers are down one with five seconds left, more times than not Kobe will be taking that shot. If the Heat are down one with five seconds left, which should be a rarity this year, they have multiple options. How does that not make them even more dangerous? I’m dumbfounded as to how this is an issue.
Just because two alpha-male superstar perimeter players have never played on the same team before doesn’t mean it won’t work. People fear the unknown. But what is known is Wade and LeBron are incredible basketball players and throwing them together will be dynamic.
You think Larry Bird gave a rat’s ass if he wasn’t the one to score the winning bucket, as long as they won? You think even someone like Michael Jordan was upset when Scottie Pippen made the game winner? A true champion in a team sport cares about one statistic. Wins. The reason why Jordan always took the final shot was because it gave his team, the Chicago Bulls, the absolute best chance of winning. Same goes for Kobe.
Dwyane, LeBron, and Chris voluntarily chose to do this! This wasn’t something forced via a trade. Wade and James want to play alongside each other. They placed winning ahead of any individual accolade, and win is what they will do. James knew that if he joined Wade and Bosh in Miami that his potential to be considered the greatest ever would take a hit. That logic still makes me sick, but hey, it’s public perception. This summer has been about sacrifice for these Heat stars.
Imagine if Kobe and Shaq valued winning more than anything else. They would have won six or seven rings by now. But they let the oversized egos in the way, emitting selfishness. It had to be Kobe or Shaq’s team. Where those two failed (Yes three rings was somewhat of a failure because they should have won 10), the Miami core will succeed.
By James, Wade, and Bosh teaming up, they all agreed to place winning as the number one priority. When all that matters is winning, basketball becomes simple again. It’s like they can regress to their childhood days of playing ball in the park. Basketball should be enjoyable, and they’re going to enjoy the hell out of destroying the competition this year.
Once the Miami Heat, a true team, gets used to playing together, they’re going to punish the rest of the NBA for doubting them. Even after they win a ring this season, people will find something, anything to knock them. What they don’t realize is any negative thought will be thrown on their ever-growing bulletin of motivation.
Meanwhile, some time in late June next year, the entire Heat roster will be kicking back on South Beach with margaritas in hand, laughing at all of the doubters after bringing Miami their second ever NBA championship. Then they will realize they still have eight and nine open fingers for rings to be worn.
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