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Saturday March 5, 2011 9:48 am

How about those Miami Heat?

Posted by Dennis Velasco Categories: Athletes, Editorial, NBA, News,

Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, and Chris Bosh watching another defeat

There was much ballyhoo before the NBA season began regarding the joining of Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, and Chris Bosh forming a "super team" with the Miami Heat. In fact, speculation abounded on whether or not they could surpass the 1995-1996 Chicago Bulls' NBA-record 72 wins. At 43-19 as of this writing, obviously, it's a dead issue like the team's seeming spirit. They have lost four of their last five, all to playoff teams - Chicago Bulls, New York Knicks, Orlando Magic, San Antonio Spurs - and the Pat Riley taking over for Erik Spoelstra whispers have reared their ugly head yet again.

However, as a coach, you can only do so much. It's up to the players to execute and that's it. Especially when a team has two of the top five players in the game today. Should a coach be vocal and cheer and support his players? Well, it's nice, but does a professional really need that sort of motivation? The recent losing streak is all on the players, particularly the Big Three as they dictate the team's performance. The Heat lost a back-and-forth game 93-89 to the Bulls; a close game to the Knicks 91-86, who don't play defense and give up 100+ points on the regular; after owning a 73-49 lead over the Magic at one point in the game, the Heat suffered a second half meltdown and lost 99-96. Finally, they played against the best team in the NBA, the Spurs at 51-11, and got blown out by 30 (125-95).

It's not 20/20 hindsight vision when I say I didn't think the Heat would be as good as the 95-96 Bulls. Forget the wins total, they didn't have the depth or size to get far in the playoffs. Look at the other legitimate contenders - Bulls, Spurs, Boston Celtics, and Los Angeles Lakers - and you'll see they have the depth and size needed to go far in the postseason. The Heat consists of two excellent players, one very good one, and others. The recent acquisition of Mike Bibby to man the point guard position, a weakness for the team, won't help much as Bibby is clearly past his prime. If Chauncey Billups had been bought out by the Knicks, he would have been ideal as he can score, pass, play defense, has experience, and clutch. That last characteristic in particular if something missing from the Heat lately.

There isn't any question that LeBron is an awesome player and a force in the game. However, when it comes to the clutch and postseason, he doesn't exactly shine. Sure he had that one game-wining three-pointer against the Magic a couple of postseasons ago, but after leading consecutive 60+ win Cleveland Cavaliers teams into the postseason, how far had those teams gone? As far as you could throw LeBron. While it's nice that both he and Wade concede to each other, the ball has to be in Wade's hands to either create or attack the basket. Unlike LeBron, he won't settle for jumpers from the get-go and if he does drive, he'll likely draw a foul. Watching the end of the Knicks game had me screaming, "Why doesn't Wade have the ball?!?!"

In the end, who knows what happens, but it was foolhardy to think that the forming of this trio in South Beach was going to automatically make the team great. It takes time and it takes more than just those three players. Can the veterans (see: old) on the Heat get a shot of adrenaline during the playoffs? Anything is possible, but it will be hard to make up the lack of depth and size when playing the Celtics and Bulls, the two teams in the east that will give the Heat trouble.

Teams in the future considering or well on their way to forming super teams (*cough*Knicks*cough*), be warned that two or three superstars can't play all five positions on the court at once. Someone said this on Twitter last night as the Spurs were dominating the Heat - the Heat have great players... the Spurs have a great team. Wise words.



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