If you haven’t read Max’s post yesterday exploiting the Cryami Heat, I suggest you scroll down and check that out before diving into my cesspool of hypocrisy. I say this because I was one of the many who handed the Heat the trophy when a certain “King’s” teary-eyed talents announced they were flowing to South Beach. I also subscribed to the belief that said King could contend for a Championship regardless of the other eleven names on his roster. And lastly, to the put the hypocritical cherry atop my Heat sunday…I am about to spray an AK-47 loaded with excuse-bullets as to why the Heat will not win a championship this year, and immediately follow-up with why they most certainly will…in the coming years.
This season has been one of the most interesting and entertaining NBA regular season I can recall in my lifetime. We’ve seen two uber-superstars change uniforms, the ageless (and unfathomably boring) San Antonio Spurs re-emerged as a contender, the Lakers have been riding a roller-coaster of effort, an under-discussed Piston mutiny quietly occurred, the Oklahoma City Thunder are legit, and we were blessed with a career’s worth of highlights in a Blake Griffin-half-season. Yet all of these excitingly fodder-filled stories lie in the shadows cast by the woes of the Miami Heat.
I handed Miami the trophy the moment LeBron muttered “South Beach” out of his shameless lips. It didn’t take long (one game) for me to snap back to reality and realize this team isn’t exactly immortal. I’ve watched as many games as I could (most of them are nationally televised and the rest can easily be found illegally online) and narrowed it down to a few significant problems. The personnel, the personality, and the people (some alliteration for Max) all contribute to this epic disappointment that is the Miami Heat 2010-11 regular season.
On paper, two top-5 scorers and a top-25 third wheel should put the ball in the bucket on an unprecedented level…but that is why they play the games on the hardwood and not on the stat sheet. Jump shots, extremely limited second-chances, terrible clutch performances, a lack of a serviceable bench, and a plethora of bad decisions have significantly contributed to the Heat’s disappointment. I spent the last few nights studying the book of common sense, and in doing so I discovered that it’s not the player’s fault they can’t execute. Mario Chalmers isn’t going to forget he’s Mario Chalmers anytime soon and start running a fluid offense at an NBA level. Mike Miller racked up an incredible 3PT% while in Minnesota, Memphis and Washington. Think about those three teams…he spent seven years with less pressure on him to succeed than one can possibly experience in the NBA (unless you’re a Clipper). He also managed to participate in all of twelve playoff games. TWELVE! Is it really any surprise that Mike Miller isn’t performing in the clutch…or at all? Jo-el Anthony is as good an offensive player as Ilgauskas is attractive, and even Chris Bosh has decided that he is strictly a 16-18ft jump-shooter. The only thing he’s posting up are wanted ads for toughness.
I could blame Pat Riley for assembling the worst bench in the NBA, but on the other hand he gave them Lebron, Wade, and Bosh. So where does the blame lie? In a word…Spo. He has managed to run an offense (with two of the best offensive players on the planet) that is ninth in scoring and THIRTY-FIRST in assists per game (19.5). They are putting up as many assists as Lebron and Wade were expected to have alley-ooping to each other! This team lacks any semblance of an identity, plays with the heart of the Tin-Man, and they finish as if Chris Bosh should be jacking buzzer beating threes….wait….what? Spoelstra may have been on his way out the minute he stepped into the arena this season, but for Heat fan’s sake…you better hope he finds the exit sooner than later.
Lets begin with more “villain” talk, shall we? LeBron James is not a villain. Dwyane Wade is not a villan. Chris “Charmin” Bosh is scared of villains. These guys are not inherently evil, nor do they carry the ability to play such a role well enough to win even a SAG-Award. Max had mentioned that they have done a lot of talk and not a lot of walk in reference to accepting being the “bad guys.” He’s absolutely right. None of these three have been in such a position in their entire lives. In fact, Bosh “the pillow” and Dwyane “please don’t call me Flash anymore” Wade were perceived as being on the other end of the spectrum. They were great guys on and off the court. LeBron seemingly floated somewhere in the middle. These are two of the greatest athletes on the planet earth, and they are struggling with every breath to will their team to 100 points. They are as uncomfortable on the court together as they are off the court playing the bad guys. This is in turn is not allowing them to find a natural identity…they appear to have no clue how to take over or defer anymore. Before the season began the chatter was all about who would play Robin to the other’s Batman, but they seem to have two Robins and an amateur Alfred.
By people, I am referring to us; the fans, the bloggers, the media, and the public (by the way, google docs doesn’t recognize the word “bloggers” …strange). There was so much hype (and rightfully so) in the off-season that this team was never given a shot to make or exceed expectations. There were former coaches (Jeff Van Gundy) Nostradamus-ing 75-80 wins! Even Orlando’s current coach Ron Jerem..er..Stan Van Gundy acquiesced to his brother’s position. They were simply setup to fail. Lets be completely honest here, they didn’t help themselves or their cause any either. All of the off-season shenanigans (yeah, I said it) only aided the evil-movement and warranted hatred from all non-Heat fans around the league. And not just fans want to see this team lose, opposing players share the disdain. If they were to fire out 70+ wins, they were only meeting the expectations the people set for them, and anything less was thus shear and utter failure. This pressure, the young coach in over his head, the unrealistic expectations, the natural inner-Robins, the overrated Chris Bosh, and Mike “the mistake” Miller are all working in conjunction with the next to create an avalanche of mediocrity.
Oh Hypocrisy is Truth
So I already said I was going to lay out for you the many reasons this Heat team won’t take home the title this year. I just don’t believe there is enough time left to fix all that needs fixing. Not this year. Lets remember though, this team was not built to win just one championship. Riley stood at the NBA altar and preached from the gospel of dynasty. This year was a learning experience. The Heat are becoming accustomed to every team in the league showing up with their best on a nightly basis. They are discovering where the holes are in the roster (from 4 to 12 if you ask me). They found out (at least most of us did) that Spo needs to go. The knee-jerkers are in full force this week. People are jumping ship like they just saw Jack and Rose at dinner. Even Max suggested Wade will consider ET-ing his way to Chicago. Are you all nuts? Are we not a month past the All-Star break? (the answers are yes and yes for those not following) They did just acquire Mike Bibby. Yes…hes old, hes slow, and he can’t defend my dog when I isolate him, but he is the closest thing to a veteran assassin that they have on this roster. He can only make them better. (If you disagree, please write your local team’s GM and request you make an offer for Mario Chalmers.) I’m not saying he is the savior, but he will make them better.
GIVE THEM TIME!!!!
-by Lowell Ahee