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Don’t Crown the Miami Heat Just Yet.

Just before Christmas, as I was thumbing through various previews of this NBA season, I was struck by just how wide the consensus seems to be that the 2012 NBA title is Miami’s to lose. On the one hand, it isn’t surprising to see that Miami is this season’s favorite (which, it should be noted, wasn’t the case at the start of last season; many thought the Heat wouldn’t get past Boston in the East, and few if any thought they would get past the Lakers in any event); they came within 2 wins of the title last year, and should be a more cohesive unit than they were for much of last season. On the other hand, the Heat still face certain issues that either haven’t been adequately addressed or can’t be proven until next June. With that in mind, I present the top four reasons why the Heat are far from a lock to win the 2012 NBA title:

1. The unpredictability of LeBron James.

Lebron’s season-opening performance against Dallas certainly lent credence to the notion that he has used the experience of last season’s Finals to improve his game and is determined and ready to exorcise his demons. But the question remains: how could the same guy play so brilliantly and fearlessly in the clutch against Boston and Chicago last spring (the best basketball of his entire career, in my opinion), and then play so passively and timidly when the ultimate prize was so tantalizingly close? Was it a matter of burn-out from a season of tumult unlike any other? Was it a matter of flaws in his game being exploited? Did Tyson Chandler and Dallas’ D have that much of an impact? Did LeBron simply freeze up or choke under pressure? Does he even know what happened to him? LeBron’s performance last June raised many questions which can’t be answered until and unless he plays well enough in the Finals to get the Heat over the hump.

2. The inexperience of Erik Spoelstra.

His contract extension was intended to avoid risking lame-duck status and to drive home the message that the Heat are his team, period. But it is still very much an open question as to whether he is the right coach to lead Miami to a title. Spoelstra was clearly outcoached in the Finals; I couldn’t have been the only one to catch the quote attributed to Mark Cuban in which he told his team, after Miami won Game 3 of the Finals to take a 2-1 lead, that the Mavericks were home free because the Heat weren’t making any adjustments. That’s one of the worst indictments of a head coach imaginable. Now the question is whether Spoelstra can make adjustments to the zone defenses that the Heat are sure to see in bulk given their early season struggles. Moreover, the stagnation on offense that afflicted the Heat for much of last season can’t simply be chalked up to questions of role involving Miami’s Big Three; a large measure of blame has to fall on Spoelstra, for not finding a way to get LeBron and Wade to consistently play well together or to get more out of Bosh. The Big Three came together to do many things, but they didn’t come together to do the coaching themselves.

One last point on Spoelstra: much has been made of LeBron’s lack of a consistent post game. I agree that he could stand to improve in the post, and he appears to be addressing that part of his game. But he should not do so in isolation. Kobe Bryant garnered considerable praise a few years ago for developing his post game, but that was simply in keeping with Phil Jackson’s triangle offense for which strong post play from the wings has historically been a big part (see Jordan, esp. in his second stint with the Bulls, and Pippen). Likewise, LeBron’s development of his post game can only succeed in coordination with a coaching gameplan which blends his post game seamlessly into the overall offense and creates favorable matchups to exploit. Can Spoelstra do that? The jury is still very much out; I’m surely not the only one who still thinks that the Heat’s chances would be much improved if Pat Riley put himself back on the bench.

 

3. An incomplete supporting cast.

Shane Battier was a nice pick-up for the Heat; he remains a solid “glue guy” whose defense will come in handy against the likes of Luol Deng and Rip Hamilton in Chicago, or against James Harden in Oklahoma City. But their biggest personnel holes, at center and point guard, weren’t sufficiently filled. Eddy Curry can be a valuable low-post scorer when healthy, fit and motivated, but the odds of him being any (let alone all) of those on a consistent basis are slim, and even if he is, his defense and rebounding remain highly suspect. Joel Anthony is another “glue guy” playing solid defense, but his offense is practically non-existent. Dexter Pittman has potential, but has bigger issues keeping in playing shape. At the point, Mario Chalmers‘ contract extension was a questionable move, and while Norris Cole is showing considerable promise, he is still untested, and it is a fair question as to how much rope he will and should get this season. Those two positions remain areas where the Heat, at least for now, have more questions than answers.

4. Young and hungry competition.

The Lakers, Celtics and Spurs may be in decline, and the Mavericks may have torpedoed their title defense before it even got started by letting Chandler walk, but there are younger and hungry teams ready to take their place. In particular, the Bulls and Thunder are in position to take the next step. In Chicago, Derrick Rose is hungry to carry the Bulls back to their Jordan-era glory, Carlos Boozer is determined to prove that his poor showing last year was an aberration, and Hamilton will fill a void for them at shooting guard. In Oklahoma City, the Thunder have assembled a Big Three of their own (Durant-Westbrook-Harden) that, if it can work out its own issues of role, has even greater long-term promise than that of Miami, and Kendrick Perkins is fit and healthy again to anchor what should be an improved defense. Both teams figure to have learned from their losses in last season’s conference finals, in which each of them had two games within reach (and one seemingly in the bag) in crunch time, only to unravel. Neither team, nor any other team in the league for that matter, will be in a mood to concede an inch to the Heat.

None of this is to suggest in any way that the Heat will be anything other than a top-level contender and the first team on any NBA odds to win a championship list this year. They have the talent and motivation to win it all this season, and increased familiarity and cohesion with one another should lead to a better record overall and in close games specifically. But they’re not so much better than the rest of the field as to render the title chase a formality. The Heat have flaws that can bring them down, and there are other teams that can beat them in a seven-game series. If the Heat do win it all this year, it will be because they overcame those flaws and took their opponents’ best shots-and that will make their achievement a noteworthy and yes, praiseworthy one, not just a formality.

Related posts:

  1. A Postmortem on the Miami Heat
  2. Is Shane Battier the Miami Heat’s Missing Link?
  3. Will A Miami Heat Championship Ruin David Stern’s NBA?
  4. Mark Heisler: The Miami Heat Dominance (5/26/11)
  5. Who is the Miami Heat Alpha Dog?

Discussion

31 Responses to “Don’t Crown the Miami Heat Just Yet.”

  1. I feel a bit sad for Spaoelstra. So had put much blood, sweat and tears and in the end everybody is talking about Dirk and Mavs. All credits to coach Erik, he deserved them. I think that in this 2012. season Miami is No1 pick for the title

    Posted by Tasos Apartmani | January 3, 2012, 4:43 pm
  2. The Bulls really? Did you not watch last years playoffs? Rip at this point is a scrub not a second allstar that Chicago needed. Speaking of players that choke you need look no further then Boozer who the bulls way overpaid for.

    Miami wins in 5 again as the teams stand.

    Posted by nightbladehunter | January 3, 2012, 8:44 pm
    • Here we go again… the band-wagon Heat fans (no one is from Miami) have crowned themselves champions… just like last year… Please come back in June and tell me what went wrong THIS year…

      Posted by Here-we-to-again | January 3, 2012, 10:39 pm
    • if u actually watched last years bulls-heat series u would know that bulls choked and gave away 2 str8 games…..instead of being down 3-1 they should have been up 3-1 if just a few small things went differently. if they have noah and boozer at full strength this time, plus adding a solid allround glue player/shooter in rip hamilton whos a huuuuge upgrade over keith bogans, plus u gotta realise rose, noah, gibson, asik, brewer, watson are all very young players who will be more experienced and better this time around, i can’t say the same for lebron-wade-bosh since they have already peaked at their prime.

      Posted by chumak challo | January 6, 2012, 5:34 pm
  3. Agree with Nightblad here. While the first 3 points here seem legitimate, the point about up and coming competition doesn’t seem to be valid. I don’t think the Thunder or Bulls has enough to seriously challenge the Heat this year.

    Posted by drinkinghaterade | January 3, 2012, 11:30 pm
  4. Well, if you pick lebron every year, eventually he might win a title. Maybe if they add a 4th top 10-15 player, he might have a chance. With all the talent around him, it seems hard not to win a title, but most people seriously underestimate just how hard it is to win a title.

    Enough with the excuses, he’s had the best reg. season and deepest team 2 years in a row, and then he played with the most talented team, by a wide margin last year, and only one finals appearance with those teams in the last 3 years.

    It does seem like they and he should win it, but let’s not forget our history. Even with a much depleted contender list last year and looking similar for this year as well, and a mavs team that was basically constructed the exact same way the 09/10 cavs’ teams were, lebron still failed. With all the talent around him, the heat will at least be contenders, but winning a title is another thing.

    Didn’t most ‘nba experts’ claim the heat would win 90 games last years out of 82 and coast to a title? I guess that didn’t happen.

    Posted by boyer | January 4, 2012, 2:56 pm
  5. Thanks for writing, nightbladehunter and drinkinghaterade. The thing to keep in mind about the Bulls’ and Thunder’s conference finals losses is that each team, after falling behind 2-1, was in position to take the next two games of its series. The Bulls lost Game 4 in OT and then simply gagged in Game 5 (up 12 with 3 minutes to go). Meanwhile, the Thunder gave away Game 4 (up 15 with 5 minutes to go) and also blew a late fourth-quarter lead in Game 5. I expect both teams to learn from those experiences, and to come back stronger and tougher for it.

    Posted by E-Dog | January 4, 2012, 4:52 pm
  6. Boyer, you’re a Cavs fan, aren’t you? You must be, in order to believe that last year’s Mavs were constructed the same way as the ’09-’10 Cavs. Uh, you left out the part about last year’s Mavs having A LOT more talent and quality depth. Dirk didn’t go anywhere when he became a free agent in 2010 because he had faith in the Mavs’ front office’s ability to surround him with quality talent, and that faith was ultimately rewarded. By contrast, whatever else can be said about LeBron’s departure from the Cavs, it is clear that he had lost faith in the Cavs’ front office’s ability to do the same, and it’s hard to blame him for feeling that way, between them whiffing at the ’09 trade deadline, passing on Amare at the ’10 trading deadline, handing out dumb contracts (to Larry Hughes, Daniel Gibson, etc.) and drafting poorly.

    Posted by E-Dog | January 5, 2012, 5:16 am
    • Ah, revisionist history. I encourage you and anyone else to re-read almost anyone prior to the 09 and 10 seasons for the cavs, and each time the cavs made trades. Almost everyone was spouting how much of a lock that cleveland was to win the nba finals, and then the heat last year, and now the heat will win this year. But, the fact is, lebron has wilted away when the pressure is the greatest.

      The 09/10 cavs’ teams and 11 mavs team had 1 superstar along with 9-10 guys that could give good minutes. Both teams were very deep. Those cavs teams were better. The only difference was that dirk decided to give full effort, while lebron decided to quit. And also remember, the mavs were without the 2nd or 3rd best player for the entire playoffs, butler. That’s how much less daunting of a team the mavs were than the cavs.

      The cavs were built around lebron. He had 4-5 40%+ 3 pt. shooters around him, 2 recent former AS playing at high levels around him: williams/jamison, and 2 big centers who were still quality players in limited minutes: shaq/big Z. Not to mention a great bench big in varejao, and a team with an identity of playing great defense. It was all there. Don’t be confused because of lebron. He just isn’t as good as everyone makes him out to be, actually nowhere near it. He needs lots of help to win a title, and so far all that help still isn’t enough. The 09/10 cavs’ teams were also better reg. season than the mavs.

      Posted by boyer | January 5, 2012, 6:44 am
      • Did you just use the word great and Varejao in the same sentence? You, my friend, know little to nothing about basketball, which explains why you think LeBron is not as good as advertised. Yeah the Cleveland bench was so deep that you can’t seem to name the players on it? Varejao was a starter buddy. You seem to forget that Mo W. and D West couldn’t hit the side of a barn or stop a nose bleed in the ’09 Orlando or ’10 Boston series. The Mavs were loaded with former and current all-stars and disciplined players who believed in the zone scheme they were running; and executed it. There is no comparison between those Cavs teams and ’11 Mavs team, dream on. Lebron is the NBA’s best player and has as many late success as he does failures. You can hate all you want but try not to kill yourself when he hoists the 2012 championship trophy – his first of many.

        Posted by NoMoreBoyerBS | January 5, 2012, 1:58 pm
        • Sorry to say, but I don’t hate lebron. I don’t really like him, but I don’t hate him. He calls himself King and Chosen One, and parades around celebrating how awesome he is when he hasn’t won anything, which this is the main reason why people don’t like him. Nobody’s denying how great he is, but when you mention the all-time greats, he’s nowhere near them at his point in time. Have you ever seen another elite player wilt under the pressure and just quit on his team 2 years in a row, especially when both of those teams had excellent chances to win the title? I can’t remember even one other time by another supposedly elite player. There’s been bad performances by every player who’s ever played, but just quitting on your team and acting completely indifferent is another thing, and it’s happened 2 years in a row.

          People like to talk up lebron and he can beat up on the weak teams year in year out, but when a tough-nosed team stands up to him, he doesn’t know what to do. Part of this is lack of a complete skill set, and part of it is because he fears failure, which he has admitted to. His mental game isn’t all there.

          I said Varejao was a great bench big, not a great player, read carefully. He was a great bench big in 09/10. Please name me some better bench bigs than him during those years. And before you say odom, odom was a starter much of the time when bynum was hurt.

          I just looked up williams/west stats, they both played awesome in the orlando series. Check it out for yourself. They weren’t awful in the 10 c’s series, but not as great. But, what can you expect from your role players when your best player quits and is moping around in the corner doing nothing for half the series. That’s main the biggest difference between Kobe and Lebron. Kobe’s teammates have repeatedly said they can’t miss games because Kobe doesn’t miss games from all the injuries that he has, but Lebron’s right elbow, which was never really injured caused him to shoot a lefty hand in the playoffs in the 4th of one game, what a joke. If he’s not going to give full effort, you can’t expect his teammates to either. You follow your leader. If your leader is playing aggressive and giving good effort, you usually do as well, and there’s no excuse for not doing so.

          Lebron’s a high excuse player, which I don’t like at all.

          It’s quite interesting how awesome almost everyone thinks of the 09/10 cavs before the season/playoffs, and how bad they think of lebron’s supporting cast afterwards. That’s called revisionist history. Those cavs were elite defensive teams and very good offensive teams, the 11 mavs were good defensively, but not elite. Kidd wasn’t better than williams at each stage of their respective careers. Shaq/big Z/varejao more than easily cover chandler’s worth.

          When lebron is being pushed around and trash talked by Jason Terry of all people, and then Terry actually delivers on his words, while Lebron wilts away, isn’t that a red flag?

          If we want to say the the 07/08 cavs weren’t exactly a contender, then fine. He did perform well those years. But, having the best reg. season team and deepest team 2 years in a row, and now the most talented team by a wide margin, he still can’t get it down. He is lucky to have wade because if wade played even reasonably well in the finals, the heat might still have won, even if lebron playing like 4th or 5th best player in the series. But, wade was injured, which is often the case with him, so maybe not so lucky as it turns out.

          Posted by boyer | January 5, 2012, 2:55 pm
          • What I think is interesting is how the Lakers were overwhelming favorites to repeat and choked on thier own vomit in the semi’s against the Mavs.

            At least the Cavs got to the Conference Finals in 2009.

            And to speak of stats and quitting:

            James in 2009 ECF:

            75/154 fg/fga .487 fg%
            11/37 3pt/3pta .297 3pt%
            70/94 ft/fta .745 ft%
            50 rb
            48 assits

            for a line of:

            38.5/8.3/8.0 ppg/rpg/apg

            Yeah, he really sucked.

            And for the Star of the Lakers against Dallas in 2011 WCSF

            38/83 fg/fga .458 FG%
            5/22 3pt/3pta .227 s pt%
            12/15 ft/fta .800 ft%

            his line was

            23.3/3.0/2.5 ppg/rpg/apg

            James went to the free throw line 15 times a game; Bryant went to the line 15 times TOTAL!!!

            The Cavs and Magic collective scores were 607-622

            The Lakers and Mavs scores were 353-409.

            Who was the quitter and which team choked??

            And as to West and Williams in that series having good numbers (which, as you state when not convenient for you, lie)

            Mo: 18.3/4.1/3.7 ppg/rpg/apg
            .371/.425/.778 fg%/3pt%/ft%

            West: 14.5/3/3 ppg/rpg/apg
            .449/.318/.769 fg%/3pt%/ft%

            Williams shot 27 FT and West had 13 FT. They were not really attacking the rim or likely drawing much defensive attention.

            I suppose, compared to Bryant, those are good numbers, but compared to James they are not even in the same zip code.

            Posted by Paulie Walnuts | January 5, 2012, 11:30 pm
  7. Chalmers extension was questionable? and there are questions at point guard? The only question the Heat have at point guard is whether they have the best combination of PG’s in the NBA without haveing an all-star.

    You haters need a new angle.

    Posted by Sigh | January 5, 2012, 8:24 am
  8. Boyer, you’re a Cavs fan, aren’t you? You must be, in order to believe that last year’s Mavs were constructed the same way as the ’09-’10 Cavs. Uh, you left out the part about those Mavs having A LOT more talent and quality depth. When Dirk became a free agent in 2010, he didn’t go anywhere because he had faith in the Mavs’ ability to surround him with quality talent, and that faith was ultimately rewarded. By contrast, whatever else can be said about LeBron’s departure from Cleveland, it is clear that he had lost faith in the Cavs’ ability to do the same, and it’s hard to blame him for feeling that way, considering that they sat on their hands at the ’09 trade deadline, passed on Amare at the ’10 deadline, handed out numerous bad contracts (Larry Hughes, Daniel Gibson, Varejao, etc.) and drafted poorly.

    Posted by E-Dog | January 5, 2012, 4:17 pm
    • Wow. I just cannot believe how much people cater to and make excuses for lebron. How about lebron committing to cleveland and recruiting players to come play with him like he’s doing in miami right now? And where’s this mysterious more talent that everyone’s talking about with the mavs? You do realize that the cavs had the best reg. season record in 09/10, while the mavs were only tied for 4th best in 2011?

      The mavs and cavs each had deep teams with 1 superstar, that’s called being constructed in the same way. Each team only had 1 AS, and several near AS. You do realize that Varejao as a bench player made 2nd team all-defense in 2010 as chandler made 2nd team all-defense as a starter in 2011. Both teams are nearly identically made up. The cavs were a little deeper, and the better reg. season team. And the mavs were without butler/beaubois in the playoffs, and haywood barely played. I don’t know why it’s so hard to understand to this. I’m so tired of the excuses for this guy. The main difference was that Dirk played hard, while lebron didn’t.

      The only thing clear is that Lebron quit on the cavs in the 2010 playoffs, as he’s done for his current team last year, and made a ridiculously disgraceful exit from the cavs. You can speculate about the future all you want, who knows what will happen, but that doesn’t excuse him from bailing early while the season is still going on.

      Posted by boyer | January 5, 2012, 8:04 pm
      • Just stop. You are embarrassing yourself. The idea that because the Mavs and Cavs had one superstar that means they were constructed the same is absurd. Are you reallu comparing Dirk, Kidd, Terry, Chandler, Marion et al to what Lebron had around him in Cleveland?

        During last year’s playoffs, Kidd led all players in assists, 3pt fg attempted and made, Chandler led all players in offensive and total rebounds, Terry hit key shot after key shot, Marion and Barea were solid and so on….

        You ignore all that and bizzzarely claim that the main difference between those teams was that Dirk “played hard” and Lebron didn’t? That’s utter nonsense.

        Posted by ks | January 6, 2012, 7:37 am
  9. Hey, Boyer, don’t use those stupid stats! Just rely upon what the NBA “insiders” that you have a pipleine to say. I don’t know what that is as I am on the outside lookin’ in.

    But, since you mentioned it, Jame sis having an AWESOME year

    James: 29.9/7.7/7/4 ppg/rpg/apg
    2.0/0.9 spg/blkpg
    .595 FG%
    .791 FT%

    Combine that with the fact taht the Heat beat Atlanta WITHOUT James OR Wade playing at all, and the Heat look pretty darn good!

    James is shaping up to win MVP, DPOTY, and a ring. Likely, the first of several.

    Posted by Paulie Walnuts | January 5, 2012, 10:14 pm
    • Boyer is speaking the truth, its just that the lebron highlight lovers dont wanna hear it.

      Posted by chumak challo | January 6, 2012, 6:19 am
    • Paulie et al., please actually watch the games. Are you really telling you can’t tell a difference between lequit’s effort level in the 10/11 playoffs compared to normally? That’s quite revealing if you can’t. Keep drinking the lequitorade, but I doubt it will work for you.

      It’s quite interesting that lebron plays better without wade and vice versa, and bosh is much better without both of them. I thought great players were supposed to make their teammates better.

      Like I said before, stop making excuses. Do you realize the cavs had Varejao off the bench, who made 2nd team all defense? I’d like to have a list of bench players on all-nba teams. I doubt it’s very long. And the cavs supposedly lacked talent. That’s just a complete lie. The cavs were better than the mavs in the reg. season, and the the cavs were full strength in the playoffs, unlike the mavs who were basically missing 3 players. Your rationale for thinking the mavs were better doesn’t make sense. And that still doesn’t excuse the heat last year from losing. This isn’t about playing poorly, this is about playing hard. Lebron and his team’s didn’t play as hard in the playoffs, but the mavs did. It’s as basic as that – effort level.

      What a weird argument you make, stating who think has the worse stats was the one who quit. Do you know understand how worthless of an argument that is? You’re hopeless.

      Posted by boyer | January 6, 2012, 8:15 am
      • If they play better without each other, then why did they set career highs in FG% last year?

        Then why did the Heat get tot he Finals and win 2 games? The best the Cavs won was ZERO with James before. Isn’t two better than ZERO?

        What you claim is not supported by the evidence.

        Posted by Paulie Walnuts | January 6, 2012, 10:40 am
        • they set career highs in fg% because they get easier shots by playing TOGETHER. You can’t double team both of them or else you’re leaving 1-2 guys to guard the other guys on the court, including bosh who’s an allstar!

          Posted by chumak challo | January 6, 2012, 4:25 pm
  10. Of course, the same week that I rag on the Heat’s supporting cast (among other things), they go into Atlanta for the 4th game in 5 nights and pull out a 3-OT win without LeBron or Wade. I’m really not trying to be a motivation man for the Heat, it just seems that way sometimes. ;-)

    Posted by E-Dog | January 6, 2012, 4:52 am
  11. If Lebron wasnt so caught up with stats (mainly scoring) the Heat would be almost unstoppable. The media for so long has made all the jordan comparisons and i think long ago lebron bought into them and tries to live up to them and even exceed them (alot of pressure). Micheal jordan was largely known for being the best scorer in the league, among other things. due to this lebron feels the need to also be in the scoring race year after year…but someone please answer for me, who is a better pure natural scorer, lebron or wade? Unless you’re an idiot the answer is wade. So then if wade is the best scorer on the heat then why isnt he the heats leading scorer and main offensive threat thruout the game?!?!?! Why is it ok to give the ball to d-wade in the clutch but not allow d-wade to be the primary scorer for the other 47mins of the game? Only true educated ball fans who been watching since at least the 80′s will understand what I mean when i say this stuff. If magic johnson played the way lebron does the lakers would prob still have won 1-2 titles in the 80′s, but not 5. Lebron playing the way he currently does, won’t allow the heat to win 5-6 titles, but only 1-2. Magic’s statline was around 20pts, 12asts. He got old kareem and james worthy going early in the game, got them into the flow along with the other lakers, then magic picked his spots and disected the defenses to look for his own scoring. If Lebron played this style, dropped his scoring avgs from 28-30 down to around 18-20, upped his assists, focused more on the other lil things, the heat would be scary. Yea they win now but its based mostly on sheer talent. The Heat win so many close games against inferior teams when they should be blowing them out. The reason for this is lebrons playing style and how it affects the heats offensive chemistry. I’m not a lebron hater but i cant say i like the guy, he made a cowardly decision to join wade and the heat but most of the younger generation ball fans wont understand why i say that. it’s not just the way he left, it’s the players/team he decided to join that disappointed many ppl.

    Posted by chumak challo | January 6, 2012, 6:34 am
  12. Magis was not the best shooter in the 1980′s. See the 1-40 3 point shooting in the playoffs he had spanning several seasons.

    Posted by Paulie Walnuts | January 6, 2012, 10:36 am
    • hey paulie walnuts…I never once said Magic was the best shooter in the 80′s so i’m not sure what krack u smoking. What I said is that if Magic cared so much about scoring the way lebron does, the lakers would have won 1-2 titles but not 5! Magic scored 20pts and dropped 12dimes but if he wanted to we all know he could score an extra 8-10 pts if he dropped his assists by 4-5 per game. Lebron has been pumped up to be the next Jordan, but his skillset is more to magic or oscar so he needs to play that way to maximize his team’s and his own potential. Wade isn’t happy with his role, either is Bosh, how long will these guys stay quiet and cater to diva james?

      Posted by chumak challo | January 6, 2012, 4:23 pm
  13. For Magic Johnson to score like lebron doesnt mean he’d have to be a better three point shooter…he would jusst drive and take more shots and free throws, rather than what he normally did which was pass up a contested shot of his own for a wide open look for a teammate. Lebron should take notes from magic, not jordan, because thats what lebrons skillset is made for. Lebron should be getting bosh and wade goin early, like magic did for kareem and worthy (and of course the rest of the team) and then pick his chances strategically to score, especially attack and be aggresive on fast breaks.

    Posted by chumak challo | January 6, 2012, 4:30 pm
  14. E-Dog thanks for responding to me. I did enjoy your read and I agree with most of your points. I do think the Heat supporting cast is way better then it was last year. I also think the run and gun is the right choice to make the most out of Wade and Lebron’s talents.

    I have to admit being shocked that the Heat won that game last night but that is what young legs and talent can do for you.

    I think Miami is ok at point guard because of all the players they have that can handle the ball well. Sort of like the 90′s Bulls did. They had shooters at point guard.

    Rip isn’t making much of a difference on the Bulls yet(if he ever does). Rose still is ball hogging and putting it all on himself. And if you think Wade can’t guard Rip your crazy. That leaves Lebron to shut down Rose in the 4th Q. I just don’t see it. The Bulls COULD have won 2 of those games. They still would have lost the series though. You know that if you remove the blinders.

    And if we speak of things that should have happened, Miami should have won game’s 2 and of the NBA finals. It SHOULD have been a 4 game sweep but it wasn’t. Thus here we are.

    Btw Wade and Lebron raise each others games. Thats clear from watching them play together so far this year.

    Full discloser: I am a Heat fan(and I am from South Florida)…people do live in Miami you know that watch sports.

    Posted by nightbladehunter | January 6, 2012, 7:41 pm
    • @nightbladehunter. Simple question, who is a better pure/natural scorer; D-wade or Lebron? In my opinion it’s clearly wade, and if u agree then why do u think the teams best scorer isn’t it’s top scorer? I already know the answer but I’d like to hear what other ppl think.

      Last year reg season the heat was inconsistent in the closing minutes on a reg basis until they made wade the “closer”. If Wade is the best in crunchtime, then what’s wrong with him being the main scoring option throughout the other 47 minutes of the game?

      Also I can’t believe that you think lebron elevates wade’s game or vice versa. Yes their fg% is higher but thats expected when you have some easier shots, but you can’t possibly be telling me that wade is playing better now then when he led the heat to a title or even 2 seasons ago when he was the nba’s leading scorer at 30ppg plus getting 8 assists per game.

      Posted by chumak challo | January 6, 2012, 8:10 pm
  15. I was a heat fan since Wade’s been drafted… but as soon as lebron joined the team I can’t root for them. Being forced to be lebrons sidekick damages wade’s legacy. I say forced because lebron is their primary ballhandler so he has more control of how many shots he gets and his teammates etc. The day before the decision wade and bosh came on tv and announced together that they are signing with miami. I had been waiting for 2 full years for d-wade to get some help so he could win more rings, and I thought that time had finally come. I believe wade was/is the best player in the nba, and the closest thing to jordan as far as having a killer instinct, being a closer/clutch, scoring and slashing against anyone, relying on tres the least, sick mid range jumper. He’s smaller than MJ but plays a very similar style. Imagine a team of Wadeas the undisputed top dog, then Bosh as a 2nd scoring option and micheal beasley 3rd. Then you got great role players like Haslem/Anthony/Chalmers, plus instead of signing lebron they could have had another 10-12 million to spend to add even more shooters/rebounders/defenders. The Heat would have had more depth, clear heirarchy where you have clearly defined roles and a pecking order. Right now it’s clear that lebron is playing against micheal jordans legacy and trying to match or exceed it, which will NEVER happen. Lebron refuses to play a team game instead he plays for stats, a huge part of what MJ was known for was being a scoring beast so thats something lebron will not let go of easily. He doesn’t realise that he would reach his potential if he would be more of a playmaker and focus on getting wade, bosh into a groove as the main scorers. Wade should be avging 28-30 a game, Bosh and Lebron should both be around 20. Lebron should be avging 11-12 assists a game, magic johnson stats. Not 30pts, 7assts, 7rebs. Rebounding is never stat hogging but when ur trying to get tons of points PLUS get tons of assists either your team must really suck and you have to, or you’re a stat hog.

    Posted by chumak challo | January 6, 2012, 8:26 pm
  16. @chumak challo the team is playing better and that is what I care about as a Heat fan. I was tired of seeing Wade carry the entire time on his own. I knew that when Lebron joined Wade and Bosh that it would take some time for the 3 of them to get their games working together. And it appears this season that they have. I love the new offense and I think that as long as they can play good defense to feed that offense things will work out fine.

    To answer your question Wade is the better natural scorer, however Lebron is the better overall player. I don’t really care who leads the team in scoring as long as Miami is winning. I don’t view last season as a total failure as it was their first season as a group and they really should have won the title. This year I think they will win it.

    I think that Lebron is playing much more relaxed this season and that will help him as the season goes on.

    Posted by nightbladehunter | January 7, 2012, 10:19 am
  17. I think your article is overrated.

    Posted by I-Win | January 8, 2012, 2:52 pm

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