Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Chris Bosh, and the rest of this new-look Miami Heat roster have taken a lot of heat already in this young 2010/11 NBA season.
The critics are saying they don't have the size, point-guard play, or chemistry to be the NBA's best team come playoff time.
Fear not Heat fans, because this team will bring home the championship this season. Here's why...
This wasn't a team like the Lakers or Celtics who had three or four roster changes in the offseason. It was essentially a complete overhaul outside of Dwyane Wade and Udonis Haslem.
This is a team with eight new faces and four new starters. It's going to take a while for these guys to jell, especially for James and Wade.
Keep in mind, Miami had only one player (Mario Chalmers) under contract heading into this season.
It is absolutely ridiculous there is a panic surrounding this team already. They've played just ten games, winning six of them.
Anyone yelling for coach Erik Spoelstra's head this early should be shot.
Sure the Heat have disappointed thus far, with two of their losses coming against the defending Eastern Conference Champion Boston Celtics, but it's way too early to make rash decisions like removing a coach.
Ten games isn't a statistically significant number by any means when you consider there are 82 games in a season
The only thing the regular season is good for is playoff position and highlights. Just ask LeBron! His Cavalier teams had the NBA's best regular season record the past two seasons. Both teams never so much as made an NBA Finals.
The regular season does not define a champion. Sure playoff position is important, but to say this team has to win 65-plus games this season to win a championship is ludicrous.
Last year's Los Angeles Lakers, the NBA champions, won only 57 regular season games, barely locking up the one seed. Remember, many NBA "experts" did not pick the Lakers to win it all coming into the playoffs because they were not playing very well down the stretch. They lost 7 of 11 to finish out the season.
In fact even if the Heat don't get the one or two seed, I'd still be confident in them winning the whole thing, which leads us to...
Teams like the Orlando Magic can look pretty during the regular season, but come playoff team they aren't built to win.
The NBA is a star's league and if you don't have two dominate players or at least three stars it's nearly impossible to win a ring. Orlando has only one legitimate star in Dwight Howard and until they change that they will never win anything close to a ring.
Miami has two dominant stars in Wade and James, and a supporting third star in Bosh. When the minutes increase in the playoffs, the star players are even more of a focal point, boding well for the Heat.
It's the clear Miami lacks some interior toughness. The only big, physical players on the roster are Jamaal Magloire and rookie Dexter Pittman.
Magloire hasn't left the bench much while Pittman has yet to get off the inactive list.
Udonis Haslem is as physical as they come, but is by no means big at 6-7.
You really don't think Riley will address this? After watching his team get beat up inside in losses against Boston, twice, and Utah, he will likely make a move to get a physical big man who is willing to bang down low. There was a rumor the Heat have expressed renewed interest in free agent Erick Dampier, who looks like a perfect fit.
It's clear although Bosh possesses some amazing skills for a man his size, physicality isn't one of them. He needs a monster next to him who is as thug as possible. Is Charles Oakley willing to come out of retirement?
There is also concern at the point guard position. However, it's not a big a hole as people are making it out to be. There isn't a need for a traditional point guard on the roster because of the ability of LeBron and Wade to handle the basketball and defend the perimeter. All they need are shooters to help spread the floor.
Riley could also acquire another shooter via trade over the next few months.
Mike Miller is without a doubt a top five player on this roster. He hasn't played a minute and upon his return, this team will receive a huge boost.
Miller isn't just a dynamite shooter. He's a great rebounder and passer as well, who can also handle the rock.
A lineup with Bosh, Haslem, James, Miller, and Wade is unstoppable. That group is too much for any team to handle. Just wait.
The Heat's two biggest road blocks to winning a ring this year are the Lakers and Celtics.
Are the Celtisaurs really going to hold up after an 82 game season? Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce have had their share of injuries over the last few years and I don't think there is a chance they can keep their intensity up for the long haul while remaining healthy.
The Lakers unquestioned leader is Kobe Bryant. Although he's 32, he has more than 14 years of tread on those tires. Come playoff time, if the Heat were to be matched up in the finals with the Lakers, would Kobe be able to check Wade or LeBron for 40 grueling minutes? Doubtful.
His shooting percentages are down this year (42 percent from the field and 32 percent from three) as well. Anyone who denies Kobe is in decline is kidding themselves.
The NBA game changes come playoff time. Each possession becomes more important, and the defense intensifies. Those offensive juggernauts from the regular season can't survive without tough, physical defense.
Miami has already proved to be among the best defensive teams in the NBA. When LeBron and Dwyane want to, they can lock down the opponent's top two perimeter threats, something no other team is capable of doing.
Even without a true enforcer inside, this team has the potential to be an elite defensive unit.
LeBron can play any position on the court. Wade can play both backcourt spots.
The Heat can play big or small just as effectively. Throw LeBron at the point and it's a matchup nightmare.
Put Bosh at the five, and 90% of the opposing bigs in the league won't quick enough to stay with him. There are so many different combinations the Heat can utilize and that is why they are dangerous as a group.
When Wade, James, and Bosh talked of playing together this summer, the number one priority was winning a championship. It was about sacrificing the dollars and numbers for one goal.
When the only thing these guys are chasing is a championship the game becomes simpler. There's none of the off-the-court nonsense to distract them. They all checked their egos at the door and decided to beat down on the rest of the league.
Although they aren't in top form right now, over the course of the next few months the league will be aware of just how dynamic this Miami Heat team can be.
Through trial and error with different lineups and strategy they will find the right mix and once they do, watch out. There has never been another team assembled like this in NBA history.
The Miami Heat will be NBA champions this year and for many more to come.
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