Show of hands. Raise your hand if you thought Chris Bosh was the third wheel in the BFF triangle that is Wade-James-Bosh. There should be a lot of hands.
Now raise your hand if you thought LeBron James was the third wheel. Fewer hands, but those individuals may have been on to something.
Believe it or not, Bosh actually finished with four more points than LeBron (111 vs. 107) with four fewer MPG (39.4 vs. 43.6) over the course of the Finals. That means that Bosh finished with a Finals average of 18.5 PPG while LeBron managed only 17.8 PPG.
Both stats would be great for just about any other team, but not a team that had a Finals celebration last July when the three marquis players of free agency joined forces. In the case of the Miami Heat, it just exemplifies the point that maybe LeBron is the third wheel in that alignment of All-Stars and not Bosh.
No one denies the sheer talent LeBron has and you could tell he so desperately wanted to take over Game 6 of the NBA Finals when the Heat were down. The problem was that he's been criticized for being the facilitator and the scorer. Being the leader and the follower.
The Heat were a minus-24 last night when James was on the floor, a statistic that is ridiculous on paper, but makes sense when you look at the play on the court. James is too good to be a facilitator, but on the Heat that's what he must be. It's Wade's team, contrary to what anyone else would have you believe.
Will the Heat win the title next year?
The NBA Finals were a microcosm of LeBron's year. Some days he was on, some days he was off. He put up 24/9/5 in the first game of the Finals in a win and near identical numbers of 20/8/4 in the second game for a loss. It seemed that no matter what he did it didn't help the Heat's cause.
LeBron doesn't deserve criticism for choosing Miami. He's an athlete and the teams will screw the athletes the minute they get the chance, so he shouldn't be begrudged for going to Miami. Scorn should be heaped on the three-ring circus he incited in leaving. Although Cavs owner Dan Gilbert seems like a kid who takes his ball and goes home when things don't go his way.
The point is that maybe LeBron shouldn't have gone to Miami. Maybe he's the odd man out and he can't coexist with Wade as Alphas 1 and 1A.
Call it a hunch, but don't be surprised if this really bugs LeBron. Bugs him so much that something actually snaps in him, where he turns what he called "seething anger" about his second Finals loss into something bigger. Bugs him so much that he practically kills himself this summer to refine his game.
This could really be the start of a new era for the self-proclaimed King. An era where he lords over his purported subjects with anger and vengeance. An era of sheer annihilation where LeBron is the unquestionable best player in league for the next four or five years.
An ice-cold LeBron is what the Heat and LeBron himself need. Someone ruthless and calculating on the court, who knows when to take over the game and when to defer to others. LeBron doesn't know that just yet, being the main man in Cleveland for seven years. This year should have taught him a lot about finding a balance and when to unleash the beast.
Seeing as how the Heat lost the championship after coming so far, every other team in the league should be afraid. The King is about to arrive and when he does, he'll leave a scorched NBA earth in his wake.
He does play for the Heat after all.