There's much to like about the Miami Heat. There's much to dislike about the Miami Heat. Love them or hate them, they belong in the top five.
Any time you have a team with three perennial All-Star players, you're going to be in contention. Cue in the Miami Heat and their trio of Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh.
Wade and James have played at MVP levels pretty much the entire season. James is the leading scorer at 26.4 points per game, with Wade next at 25.4 and Bosh contributing 18.8 points and 8.3 rebounds per contest.
Wade has made one Finals appearance during his career, winning the Heat's first championship alongside Shaquille O'Neal in 2005-2006. He led the team back from an 0-2 hole to beat Dallas in six games.
James has also been to the Finals, where his Cavaliers were swept by the San Antonio Spurs. Bosh has not been to the Finals. Yet.
The new "Big Three" have all the talent in the world, but if you've paid any attention to the NBA this season, you know that the Miami Heat have had their fair share of struggles. Their offense is very stagnant, with one guy dribbling the ball and four others standing around. Outside of Wade, James and Bosh, they don't have many reliable scorers.
Mike Miller, who missed most of the first half of the season with a thumb injury, returned to the team and became the sixth man.
James Jones is a three-point threat, but that's about it. Eddie House is in and out of the rotation.
Big Z and Dampier provide a little size at the center spot, but not much other than that. The Heat's lack of ball movement and a true point guard have resulted in their 28th rank in assists, with only 19.6 per game.
They lost Udonis Haslem early on, which was a big blow to the frontcourt. Haslem isn't the tallest nor the most athletic player, but he's a hard worker and a very reliable option down low. He's a veteran post player with incredible determination and will.
The Heat have trouble defending quicker, physical point guards; guys like Rajon Rondo and Derrick Rose have had their way with the Heat. Miami can run with any team, but struggle to play in a half-court setting.
Their record in close games is also very unimpressive.
LeBron James has missed countless shots to either tie or win the game for Miami. He's proven that he should not be the guy with the ball in his hands at the end of a game. That's Dwyane Wade's gig.
The Miami Heat is Dwyane Wade's team, and I think he needs to take it back.
There's no denying LeBron's talent, but Wade is the guy who should have the ball in his hands with the clock winding down. Wade's driving abilities are almost unguardable. He's incredibly effective at attacking the rim, drawing fouls and hitting crazy circus shots.
It's also important for Chris Bosh to become more of a force inside. He's asked to receive the ball more, so it's up to him to make the transition into a low-post threat. He settles for too many elbow jumpers, mostly because that's where the offense puts him.
With Wade, James and Bosh all moving with and without the ball, Miami is a very tough team to defend, but they will require better efforts from their bench (who rank last in the league in scoring) to become a true title contender.
Relying on talent alone won't be enough. Not against the elite teams.