The Miami Heat's projection for this season is easy—overwhelm the league and win a championship. Nothing ever seemed so easy, specially if you a have quarter of Team USA on your roster. That was the promise the new Heat trio of Lebron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh made to it's fans—championships.
But as they stand now, the Heat are only two games above .500.
What went wrong?
While other writers pan James out, I will point out what is obvious—this team lacks chemistry.
"Him and D-Wade don't complement each other. They're somewhat the same type of players, 'Bron and D-Wade. ... Both of those guys need the ball, and they don't shoot the ball like Ray Allen. That's why they're having trouble scoring in the halfcourt, because they can't get a rhythm, because one of them is dominating the ball. That guy might be getting off, but the other guy [isn't]. That's why when they're on the court together, they're terrible. They're rhythm players that need the ball. I'm like that. I can't stand out there and catch and shoot. I've never been a guy that sits out there waiting for the ball to come to me." says T-Mac.
Nice observation, because I predicted the same when this team was first assembled.
I remember questioning how Wade and LeBron could co-exist, because they basically have the same skill set. They are not consistent jump shooters like Allen and they mostly attack the basket rather than take the jump. Compared to Boston, who basically had a diverse big three (Garnett mans the post, Allen takes the jumpers and Pierce is their main penetrator), the Heat have two guys playing the same game and they demand the ball in their hands big time.
That's one problem I foresaw five months ago.
I also noticed the general makeup of this team. They have no steady point guards, and their centers are not the kind of bigs that wins championships (well, if you say Jordan did it even without a credible center then obviously these players ARE NOT Michael Jordan). Point guard can be easy to answer as both Wade and LeBron are no strangers in bringing in the ball and distributing, but the center thing is a different monster all together.
Championships are mostly won by great big men (again, don't raise Chicago here because Jordan is a different beast). The Lakers prove it in their long history. Celts did it in their dynasty days, recently on Garnett's steady intensity. Spurs obviously banked on Tim Duncan's exploits. Philly had one thanks to Moses.
You don't expect to win with Zydrunas and Juwan, known softies, manning your post. Their most credible threat, Udonis, is done for, and Chris Bosh is uber-soft and will likely rely on his jumpshots instead of banging bodies inside. Obviously, the Heat need more than Jamaal Magloire and Joel Anthony, and I doubt Dampier fits the role perfectly.
A few days ago I was analyzing what went wrong for this team when it struck me that the "Miami Thrice" never played with another All-Star player in their prime. Bosh had Marion on his downside. James and Wade had Shaq on his downside. James had Mo but Mo isn't in the same level of a Wade, an elite All-Star. Mo Williams is just an actor on the LeBron direction in Cleveland.
They had Antawn but he came in too late to really blend with his new team. "Miami Thrice" are prized players on their respective clubs and they run the show...all of a sudden you bend the tradition and try to share the spotlight. Knowing how big the egos are, that's a tough spot to cover.
As I said, the media is panning-out James, but not with lack of reason. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports did a great job of the story: "Meticulous in his preparation, Spoelstra spoke with several past coaches, and league sources said a clear and unequivocal picture appeared on how to proceed: End the cycle of enabling with James and hold him accountable. And surprise, surprise: LeBron James has responded with a test of his own organizational strength, pushing to see how far the Heat will bend to his will. This season, James is hearing a word seldom uttered to him in Cleveland: “No.” And it keeps coming out of the coach’s mouth, keeps getting between the King and what he wants. Can I stay overnight to party in New Orleans after a preseason game? Can I play the clown in practice? Can I get out of playing point guard? No. No. No. Wait, what? No, LeBron. No. Even within a month of the season’s sideways 9-8 start, the NBA witnessed a predictable play out of the James-Maverick Carter playbook on Monday morning. They planted a story and exposed themselves again as jokers of the highest order. They care so little about anyone but themselves. Still, no one’s surprised that they’d stoop so low, so fast into this supposed historic 73-victory season and NBA Finals sweep of the Los Angeles Lakers. They want Spoelstra – and Pat Riley – to bend to them, to bow to the King the way everyone has before them."
Such machinations don't work out in the professional level. Larry Brown always says "Play the right Way." If this Heat team wants to win, they have to let people do their jobs, like Spoelstra is doing. Interestingly, instead of righting this insane wrong, Wade joins team LeBron: “I’m not going to say he’s ‘my guy,’ but he’s my coach,” Wade said.
Well done. Tuning your coach out is another page for disaster.
And that's what the Heat finds themselves in: A disaster.