My Take On The 2010-2011 Miami Heat

My Take On The 2010-2011 Miami Heat
M.D. Wright

You may recall my preseason predictions from about a month ago regarding the then-upcoming NBA season ( I had made predictions back in July about how this “team” would project out over time; regardless of who they signed (eventually it turned out to be Mike Miller and Edward House). But even though we’re “only” 9 games into the season, a few things stand out:

As Bill Parcells famously said about our Giants back in the late 80s, “Ya’are what yer record says ya’are”. You know what you have after about 4-5 games playing together. You may adjust and tweak things here and there and LeBron James and Dwyane Wade may figure out what role works best for them with regards to the OTHER, but seriously… the question beckons:

If LeBron James is so great, why isn’t he willing to step in and fill the role that is killing the Heat every game that they lose (not having a Point Guard) instead of reluctantly doing so and still getting blown by every night by the likes of Rajon Rondo, Deron Williams and Chris Paul — not coincidentally three of the top 5 point guards in the NBA? Oh, they’ll have nights when LeBron and Dwyane Wade score 30 apiece and Bosh will chip in with 20 or so, but without a consistent jump shooter who can also play defense (something Mike Miller and James Jones DON’T DO), is it going to matter when they are facing a legitimate point guard or big man — or, for their sakes, a team that features BOTH? Like say, the MAGIC (that game earlier this season was an aberration, thanks for playing along, stans).

Oh, they’ll win 4 or 5 in a row a couple of times. But they’ll have .500 stretches. A FEW OF THEM. And they’ll probably lose 3, maybe 4 in a row a couple of times also.

I, as one of the many people who are not haters, but just being objective — honestly believe 5-4 is about where they are. They’re good enough to outscore bad or mediocre teams who have not a clue about what they’re doing on either end of the court (let’s say, MINNESOTA) and can catch a team like Charlotte that cannot score to save their lives, but against teams that play great defense (Lakers, Celtics) and teams that can easily outscore them in a series (Oklahoma City, Orlando, Atlanta, hell, even the Knicks, when they’re on), do you really trust them? No.

Oh, they’ll win 4 or 5 in a row a couple of times. But they’ll have .500 stretches. A FEW OF THEM. And they’ll probably lose 3, maybe 4 in a row a couple of times also.

I called 54-28 before the season. In this 82-game NBA season, we’re 1/9 of the way there. Just with the “on pace” angle, they’re on their way to 46-36, giving them the 82nd game as a win.

Why do people keep saying “Three ‘Great’ Players”? Bosh is borderline. He doesn’t bang, he isn’t known for defense. He’s a poor man’s 1990/early 2000s Kevin Garnett. And in case you missed it, that meant nothing but stats and no rings until two years ago. And before anyone suggests it, the Heat are a LONG way from that 2007-2008 Celtics team ha. He looked lost in the season opener, he’s lost out there generally. Even the things he does well are inconsequential to the team’s success. His agent ought to be getting 25%, not the standard 10%-12%, because he did an excellent job getting people to buy into this guy’s worth. Maybe next to an above-average or great PG or next to Kobe he’d be great. But he doesn’t fit in when Wade and James dominate the ball.

NO PITY HERE, THOUGH. His dumb ass is the one who hitched himself to LeBron’s wagon in the first place, if you recall.

Had he gone to Chicago, he would have ruled Joakim Noah expendable and the Bulls would have a starting lineup of Derrick Rose, Carmelo Anthony, Bosh (playing his more natural SF position) and an array of guys filling in at PF/C with Carlos Boozer. Bosh fits in playing off a guy like Rose or trading shots with Anthony more so than with James and Wade. He’ll regret this when he’s 31 and no one wants him after not winning anything in Miami on a team that will be hard pressed to improve without one of those guys leaving (James has an out after the 3rd year and BEST BELIEVE it was built in for this very situation; once he realizes they’re not going to win nor be able to improve the roster, he’ll still be relatively young at 28 and will exercise Plan B, which is being able to still come to New York and cement that legacy that Bernard King and Patrick Ewing both have. And NEITHER ever won a title. James would be in position to actually play with the caliber of players that DeBusschere, Scotty Stirling, Stu Jackson, Dave Checketts — although DEAR GOD he was my dude and tried hard to do so — never could muster around King and Ewing). WATCH THIS HAPPEN. You’ll have my column as a reference in the summer of 2013.

You think Mike Miller is really going to matter that much? Why? Teams are lagging off Wade and James. And although Bosh’s strong point is 15-17 foot jump shots and occasional spin moves in the lane, the theory that Mike Miller will be open all day to hit 3 point shots is so far off base I’m surprised Pat Riley even believes it. Maybe on paper you’d think so, but Mike Miller isn’t strong off the dribble. He’s DECENT, but he’s not Wade. He’s not Russell Westbrook. And he’s not Kobe Bryant. You can chase him off that shot, because no one is truly being played honest by opposing teams outside of LeBron at this point. Same for James Jones, the spot up shooter/nothing else extraordinaire. Eddie House can hit a few here and there, but these aren’t guys who are going to win you 12-15 games with their shooting. They’re about like the Knicks’ shooters are. They’ll win you one a month, MAYBE, then be so ice cold throughout long stretches that you’ll forget they’re even on the team.

People saying “wait for Miller to return” are delusional. He’s not a top tier player. He’s not even a second tier player. He’s a fringe third tier player with second tier ability but third tier desire (he wouldn’t even shoot the ball when he was wide open last year, why would he begin doing so now?) He’s better than he’s shown, but he IS 31, so seriously, Miami?

And I’ve been a Jerry Stackhouse fan since BEFORE he got to UNC. When Stack did this: — I nearly lost it. Everyone was talking about it at school the next day.

THAT WAS ALMOST 17 YEARS AGO. He’s not going to be pivotal to this team’s success. Nice try, Pat. You should’ve courted Boozer more heavily and made a run at Chris Paul or something, because…

Look at the Knicks’ roster (not the RECORD, because a lot of that has to do with the philosophy of the idiot coach Mike D’Antoni) and try to say they aren’t better suited to play with LeBron. Every one of the shooters on the team is better than anyone who was ever on the Cavs and is currently on the Heat (except MAYBE James Jones who is lights out). Danilo Gallinari is dead accurate. Toney Douglas can score better than Mo Williams ever wished he could, when given the playing time (as he was vs. CHI on national TV last week). Stoudemire is the type of guy who flourishes with someone who is willing to pass as LeBron is. Too bad Stoudemire will be 31 when James opts out of Miami. That would have almost certainly led to Carmelo Anthony opting out as soon as he could to come to New York, along with Wilson Chandler and young Landry Jones (who the Knicks would not have had to surrender since Anthony would be leaving Denver for NOTHING).

We’ll see. May not happen after they lose in the 2nd round of the playoffs — as I have predicted since the night James made the announcement — but after next year and falling short again, you’ll hear the grumbling. And LeBron will QUIETLY come here and not make the same mistake twice.

But people need to realize that the Heat cannot get better unless David Stern raises the cap limit $15M or so. They’re always going to be pressed around $50M because of those three guys alone, and the cap is under $60M. Who on earth would they sign? They used their full mid-level exception already. Sorry Heat fans, enjoy the sporadic highlights, but they’re not winning anything with those three.

However, there will be room on the Knicks bandwagon (and we’ll know who you are, because us real Knick fans know one another from a mile away) in three years.

SN: I’m looking at the Heat with the same amusement and withheld laughter as Kobe Bryant is to Dwyane Wade right here ha, probably at the thought that “Do these guys really think WE’RE not three-peating, if not MORE?”


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