Miami Heat: 10 Things That Could Destroy Their Season
When the Miami Heat managed to sign Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh, many people crowned them as the 2010-2011 NBA Champions.
Some teams like the Boston Celtics, Orlando Magic and Los Angeles Lakers took offense to such statements.
There are many things that go terribly wrong for any team during an 82-game season. However, any problem that exists among the Miami Heat will be greatly magnified.
The ultimate goal and expectation for the Miami is that they will win the NBA Championship this season. And not only this season, but LeBron claimed that they would win several more.
So, if the Heat do not win the title, it is safe to say that the season was a failure.
Here are 10 things that could destroy the Miami Heat's season and ruin their championship hopes.
10. Injury To Any Member of The Big Three
As we saw on Tuesday night, the Miami Heat could not defeat the Boston Celtics with every member of the "Big Three" on the court.
It is also clear that Miami has a weak supporting cast, especially with the injury to Mike Miller.
The fact is that the Boston Celtics and Orlando Magic are very good teams. This year, one can argue that the best three teams in the Eastern Conference are better than the top three from the Western Conference.
Any injury that causes one of the "Big Three" to miss a significant amount of time will lead to the Heat not making it out of the Eastern Conference.
Especially if the injury occurs late in the season, Miami has no chance to defeat either the Celtics or Magic.
Yes, LeBron has done it without Wade or Bosh on the team. However, the Cleveland Cavaliers had a much deeper roster and, overall, a better team.
9. Coaching Controversy
Just look at that stare in the featured picture. Pat Riley is saying, "You better get it done, kid. Or you will be out of here, and I will finish the job".
If the Miami Heat struggle in the beginning of the season, Erik Spoelstra may be out of a job.
The Heat struggling may translate to being fourth or fifth in the Eastern Conference at the All-Star break.
In the 2005-2006 NBA season, Pat Riley took over as head coach of the Miami Heat after Stan Van Gundy "resigned."
What happened? Miami would go on to win the NBA Championship.
The possibility of Riley becoming the head coach will hang over Spoelstra throughout the season. It will be hard for Spoelstra to be an effective coach if he is constantly worried about losing his job.
Also, the players will start to question Spoelstra and talk to Riley about returning.
The possible coaching controversy may be too much a distraction for the Miami Heat and ruin the season.
8. Injuries Among The Support Cast
The Miami Heat are already dealing with an injury to SG Mike Miller. In Tuesday night's game against Boston, it was clear that the team could use a more consistent three-point shooter.
If Miller's injury affects him throughout the season, the Heat would be missing a crucial piece of the puzzle.
A more devastating injury would occur to one of Miami's big men. The Heat's front-court is already small, and an injury to one of the power forwards or centers would be costly.
Udonis Haslem is a key piece of the team. He actually led the team in rebounds in the season opener with 11. An injury to Haslem would considerably weaken the front-court.
Another key injury would be one to Zydrunas Ilgauskas. The 35-year-old center is an important veteran on the team that provides necessary size against teams like the Magic and Celtics.
7. Dwyane Wade and LeBron James Can't Coexist
Dwyane Wade is used to being the man in Miami. LeBron James, "The King," was used to to being the man in Cleveland.
It is very possible that the two will not get along, especially if the team struggles. Everything will be fine if the Heat consistently win games, but the locker room will become tense after some losses.
There is a lot of pressure on both Wade and James, which often times translates directly to stress.
In a close game, who takes the last shot? Should LeBron or Wade be the facilitator? Will there be enough shots for both stars?
Chris Bosh should not factor in this equation too much, but it is possible that Bosh would take sides.
It happened with Kobe Bryant and Shaq, it can happen with LeBron and Wade.
6. Takes Too Long to Build Chemistry
It is assumed by most that eventually the Miami Heat will build some solid chemistry.
However, it will hurt the team if that process takes too long. Not only could some previously mentioned issues occur when the team struggles, but the Heat would not finish with that strong of a record.
It is possible that the Miami Heat finish with the third-best record in the Eastern Conference.
That means that Miami would have to go through both the Boston Celtics and Orlando Magic in order to get to the NBA Championship.
They would also not have home-court advantage for three rounds in a row. No matter how talented a team is, it is a very difficult task to win on the road in the playoffs in three consecutive rounds.
5. Boston Celtics and Orlando Magic Have Too Much Size
Chris Bosh is a 6'11" power forward. However, he plays very small for such a tall player. In the season opener, he clearly struggled against Boston's big men.
The biggest question that may face this team is who guards Dwight Howard and the big men on Boston.
Miami's center Joel Anthony was not too impressive in the first game of the season. Jamaal Magloire did not play, and "Big Z" has already proved that he cannot successfully guard Howard.
Once Perkins returns for the Celtics, Boston will have him plus Shaquille and Jermaine O'Neal. The combination of those veterans will be tough for any team to score against. Not to mention the 6'11" Kevin Garnett.
Dwight Howard's backup, Marcin Gortat, would start for most teams in the NBA and certainly is better than any center on the Miami Heat roster.
The weakness may plague the Heat throughout the season, but it will especially hurt them in the playoffs.
4. The Los Angeles Lakers
The Los Angeles Lakers are the best team in the NBA. If they can stay healthy, especially Kobe Bryant, the Lakers will win their third title in a row.
The Lakers match up very well with the Miami Heat. Ron Artest or Matt Barnes could guard LeBron James while Kobe Bryant would guard Dwyane Wade. Pau Gasol would guard Chris Bosh.
It basically seems the perfect recipe to stop Miami. On the other hand, who will guard Andrew Bynum? Who will guard Derek Fisher or Steve Blake?
The fact is that, right now, the Lakers are clearly the better team and would defeat the Miami Heat in the championship.
Their depth, along with their experience, gives them a clear advantage.
3. Can They Win Three On Five Consistently?
Against the good teams in the NBA, the Miami Heat will always have a disadvantage at the center and point guard positions.
Can they overcome these obstacles on a consistent basis? It is very possible, given the fact that they have LeBron, Wade and Bosh.
However, that would require all three of those players to play a large amount of minutes each game.
Erik Spoelstra may not be comfortable resting his stars with a ten-point lead, since the bench players may get killed by the opponent.
All of the minutes could lead to a tired "Big Three" at the end of the season or, even worse, serious injuries.
The supporting cast must prove that they can help win games on a consistent basis or the three stars will not get enough rest.
2. The Miami Heat Have a Huge Target On Their Chests
We can compare the Miami Heat with the New Orleans Saints, New York Yankees or Philadelphia Phillies.
The New Orleans Saints are the defending NFL champions. That means that each week, opposing teams give it their best shot to defeat the best in order to make a statement. Even the coaching staff wants to badly defeat the champions to prove that they can come up with a great game plan.
The reason that the Saints are struggling this year is because just like the Heat, they have a large target on their chests.
Once the Miami Heat signed the "Big Three" they took the pressure off of the Los Angeles Lakers and became the enemy of every NBA city.
Each game, the opposing teams will want to prove that the Heat are overrated by defeating them, especially in front of their home fans.
Miami will have to deal with chants of overrated throughout the season. The question is whether or not they can be mentally tough enough to deal with such challenges.
1. The Most Talented Team Doesn't Always Win
The 2010 Miami Heat roster can be compared with the 2003 Los Angeles Lakers team.
Before the 2003 season, the Lakers signed Gary Payton and Karl Malone. When Phil Jackson added these two great veterans to a team that already included Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant and Shaq, most people assumed they would win the NBA Championship.
The fact is that a better, all-around team, in the form of the Detroit Pistons, defeated the Lakers 4-1 in the 2004 NBA Finals.
Just because a team has the most talent in the league does not mean that they will win in the end.
In order to win a NBA title, a team must not only have three or five good players, but instead eight or ten players that are consistent throughout the season.