Think back to July 2010. All eyes were on one of the greatest free-agent classes of all time including Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Amar'e Stoudemire, Rudy Gay and, most famously (or perhaps infamously), LeBron James. Speculation was rampant.
First it was thought that Wade and James would stay put, with Bosh heading to one of their teams as a second option. However, people began to fantasize, and the rumors soon changed to Bosh and James going to the bright lights of New York City, with Wade heading to Chicago to form a devastating backcourt with Derrick Rose.
What happened next, few people saw coming. The Heat were finally able to trade Michael Beasley to the Minnesota Timberwolves, allowing them to have enough cap space to sign not two, but three superstars. The entire sports world was turned on its head as Wade stayed with the Heat, with Bosh following him to the sandy beaches and thriving night life of Miami.
Then, The Decision happened. It seemed like everyone in the country was eagerly awaiting LeBron to announce his final destination. To the dismay of many, he took the easy way out and went to Miami with Wade and Bosh. He didn't take on the challenge of resurrecting the dormant Knicks, pairing with Rose in Chicago or bringing a ring to his hometown Cavaliers. Immediately after that day, he became the villain of the NBA.
Nobody wanted to see him win a ring, but here he is, merely two wins away from winning his first championship. The only thing is, he won't get it. Not this year, not the next year and not the one after that.
LeBron is stuck in a predicament as a player, one that if he does not fix could haunt this team for the remainder of his stay in Miami. It is as simple as this: he doesn't know what type of a player he is.
He aims to be a scorer primarily, seeing as he is leading the team in that category, while also throwing in a healthy dose of assists and rebounds. However, this is not what Miami needs him to do.
What LeBron needs to do is become a modern-day Magic Johnson. He has the size, the athleticism and the passing ability to average way over 10 assists per game but prefers to score himself instead. He may even be able to pull an Oscar Robertson and average a triple-double, which I think would benefit the Heat much more than what he is currently doing.
Right now, he and Wade are essentially the same player. They catch the ball on the perimeter and dribble, dribble, dribble, dribble, pump fake and shoot, or they will attack the basket. You can't have two players doing the same thing. LeBron needs to recognize this and change his game to suit his team, not himself.
Also, LeBron becoming more of an assist-minded player would help out Chris Bosh tremendously. Right now, Bosh does not get many touches in the offense and has been relegated to basically being a spot-up shooter. However, as we saw in Toronto, he can hang with the best of them on the offensive end.
If LeBron dishes out more assists, it could help Chris Bosh return to his previous level of production. That would truly make Miami own a "Big Three" instead of their current situation, which is two superstars dominating the ball with an All-Star stuck spotting up from mid-range.
Lastly, LeBron needs to realize that he is not the closer for this team. Dwyane Wade is and always will be. Sure, LeBron will have those games where he scores 15 points in the fourth quarter and you say to yourself, "Wow, he finally learned how to close out games!" But then he'll have games where he completely disappears during crunch time.
He needs to realize that Wade is a battle-tested player that has proven time and time again that he is one of the best closers in the NBA.
Overall, things are not looking good for Miami. Even though their series is knotted up at two games a piece with Dallas, LeBron is dragging this team down from what it could become. If they lose this series, don't ever expect them to win a championship with rising teams like Chicago and New York in the East and Oklahoma City and Memphis in the West.
Plus, the self-proclaimed "King" won't want to change his game since that would actually involve sacrificing personal gain for the team, which he's shown that he's not very fond of. If LeBron stays the course that he's on, I see a ringless future for Miami.
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