Miami Heat: Why You Can Write off the Miami Heat as 2011 Title Contenders
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This is a new all-time low, even for a LeBron James-led team. Seriously, crying in a locker room following a regular season loss?
As if grown men "tearing up" over a regular season game weren't sad, or dare I say pathetic enough, star guard Dwyane Wade pushed the envelope with a heart-wrenching press conference, saying, "The Miami Heat are exactly what everyone wanted, losing games. The world is better now because the Heat is losing."
To a point, Wade is actually right. But in a much bigger (and sadder) way, he's showing us how much he and the rest of his teammates are clearly the real problem here.
These guys (Wade, James and Chris Bosh) waltzed into their preseason launch party expecting to win it all in one year like the Boston Celtics did a few years ago. They figured they were the new "Big Three," that no other team could touch their talent, and that all they needed to do was fill a few roles, and everything else would just be gravy.
They snagged Eddie House, brought in Mike Miller, and penned veteran big men like Juwan Howard and Zydrunas Ilgauskas. Problem is, Miami got cocky a little too quick. They didn't realize that, as good as their core might be, the supporting cast wasn't good enough to do much supporting, their young head coach may or may not be able to handle the star power, and that (gasp), their talented Big Three might not be good enough to muscle through the formerly dreadful Eastern Conference with ease.
Will the Heat pull it together and win the title?
And now that they have just three wins (two against the Magic) against the stud teams in the league (Celtics, Bulls, Magic, Lakers, Spurs, and Mavericks), they're crying in their locker room. They're tweeting sob stories.
This comes after proclaiming that they wouldn't win two, three, or four championships. They barely had the decency to stop their counting at five or six rings when they proudly stood in front of the hometown crowd before the 2010-11 season began.
This comes after Chris Bosh gave up on Toronto. LeBron James defaced Cleveland, abandoned his home state and "took his talents to South Beach." This comes after Wade re-signed and helped pull the other two stars into his franchise.
This also comes after a players-only team meeting after the team started out a very mediocre 9-8 through the first 17 games of the season.
And now here we are, and the Miami Heat are floundering. True, they still sit atop of the South division, three games ahead of the Orlando Magic. Yes, they still have a hold on the third seed, and yes, they're still a very solid 43-20.
But they can't get over the hump. They can hang with just about everybody, but they can't actually beat anyone that matters. And to make matters worse, they're being a bunch of babies about it.
These guys have the world at their fingertips and are absolute superstars with loads of cash and limitless potential. Yet, instead of coming together and figuring out how to knock off the best teams in the league, they're reverting to nooks and bonnets.
This doesn't sound like a team destined for greatness or on the verge of becoming the next dynasty. This sounds like a team with wide eyes that expected to shock the world in their first year as a completely new team with a makeshift roster.
The thing is, they actually are shocking the world. Just not at all in the way they intended to.
But let's slow down for a second. Yes, it's easy to hate the Heat right now. Very easy. But this is still a team with a ton of talent. Its not impossible for them to wipe their eyes dry, fix their late-game problems, and shock the world.
Possible, but not likely. Champions, at least the last time I heard or checked, don't publicly implode like this. Maybe its just the day and age we live in. Maybe we would have seen Larry Bird, Michael Jordan, or Magic Johnson tweeting about how the whole world was against them.
Maybe, but I doubt it.
Because let's face it. As good as Wade, James and Bosh are, they're not exactly cut from the same cloth as the greats I just mentioned.
James has one NBA Finals appearance with no wins. He has a slew of "elite" seasons that went up in smoke when it mattered in the playoffs. Wade has just one championship, and that had more to do with one more impactful season from an aging Shaquille O'Neal, spirited veteran play from long-time almost-champs like Gary Payton and Alonzo Mourning, and horrible reffing. As for Chris Bosh, well, Toronto sends its condolences.
Just about everyone outside of Miami knew what we were getting when this new Big Three was formed. Most of us laughed at the cockiness, the "South Beach" remarks, and giggled at just over every ridiculous stunt or act that accompanied this severely incomplete team on its route to its current state.
It's now becoming quite clear that this is not a championship caliber team. After all, LeBron's Cleveland teams actually had regular season success against elite opponents, but couldn't finish the job when the post-season rolled around. Why would (or should) Miami fans expect it to be different when the Heat can't do it right now?
I'm not saying the Heat can't figure it out for next season and go on a tear that will send the record books running. But right now, they look, act, sound and smell like a pretender.
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