Not surprisingly the commentary of fans and foes alike from those across the League went something like this—"the Heat just won themselves a championship and could well have put 70 wins or so in the bank for 2010/2011.
Take it from a displaced New Yorker, Heat fans were loving themselves—especially loving the pre-championship, championship tag-lines.
But almost everyone else in the nation felt that the James/Bosh signings were a cop out, a rigged game, a Pat Riley power play and the league's competitive balance seemed to be quivering as a result.
But then I said to myself, "let's look at two things"—
1) Consider the fairly recent glory days of the NBA, when Bird's Celtics, The Bad Boys of Detroit, MJ & Co., high flying Hawks Spud & Dominique and the West Coast Magic Show of all Magic Shows alternated beating each others brains in.
2) Consider how horribly the NBA season ended up last year with the Celts and Lakers throwing up endless bricks in low-scoring affairs, a series—in truth—that left many wondering why they even bothered watching.
I mean, don't we want the NBA of today to compete like the NBA of those self same glory days?
Perhaps, with D Wade, LeBron and Bosch in Miami, the rest of the league would step up, amp up the rosters a bit, push the youngsters harder over the summer, make sure the vets came to camp in-shape and ready to go.
Guess what?—it looks like that's exactly what has happened.
In Boston KG is healthy again and a seemingly bigger than ever Shaq can still play at a high level. Pair those monsters with superstar Paul Pierce, Brooklyn's Ray Allen and mad scrambler Rajon Rondo and tell me who has a better starting five right now?
Yes, the Lakers are probably a bit deeper, and until otherwise dethroned they've got to be considered the best team in the game, but I'm loving the Spurs, finally healthy,(nicely utilizing the ham handed, glass-eater DeJuan Blair out of Pittsburgh), Orlando's tighter than ever, Utah, Oklahoma, Denver, Dallas and New Orleans all make a good case for a deep playoff run.
Heck, I'm even digging the Knicks, but that's me—I see a deep roster there that will win and win often as soon as they realize they are capable.
Oh yeah, and the Heat—you mean that team with the incompatible player mix? No healthy spot-up shooters? A team as weak as your grandmama's back up the middle? A team that now seems to be a very good idea gone horribly wrong? Not so much a long-shot for the playoffs but way off the radar for a title this season.
No the purportedly incomparable Miami Heat didn't crash the seasonal gates at 15-3 or some such like mark—in fact they're barely managing to stay above .500.
And whispers are emanating from the nations southernmost tip about player disillusionment—LeBron—and the tenuous nature of young coach Erik Spoelstra's employment status.
So while Miami may still have a target on it's back—Public Enemy #1 so to speak—they are far from favorites to run the table. Not such a bad position to be in from my way of looking at things. You see there's nothing quite like the charge of an underdog run. That's the stuff of legends, and it can still be the stuff of the 2010-11 Miami Heat.
We'll see how it all turns out.
That's it for today,