What’s wrong with the Miami Heat?
Wait a minute, what’s wrong with the Miami Heat?! Are we seriously asking that question after 9 games?
If you must have an answer to that question then the answer is ‘nothing’. But I’d also argue that if you must have an answer to that question then you’re the type of person that wears surgical masks on a daily basis.
Nothing is wrong with the Miami Heat because right now we don’t even know what the Miami Heat are. Why don’t we know this? Because not even the Miami Heat know who the Miami Heat are yet. This experiment is 9 games in. The trial period is 5 years. Translation: we’ve got a long way to go.
If you insist on answers about the Heat then don’t try to find them in games versus the Boston Celtics. At least not yet. The Celtics are an NBA Championship caliber team. They’ve been together going on 4 years now. They know who they are as a team. They know their go-to plays in crunch time and they play the type of team basketball only time and experience can build. Comparing the Miami Heat to the Boston Celtics 9 games in is like comparing every girl you meet to Halle Berry. Do it and you’ll die angry and alone.
This isn’t to say that the Heat don’t have deficiencies, but so does every team besides the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics. Injuries and complacency are just about the only things that can affect either of those two teams. Right now the Heat just aren’t close to being on that level. That’s not a knock on them, it’s just a fact. A fact that would be true of any newly formed team after 9 games.
Remember when Miami was on that 4 game tear and beating teams by double digits? Everyone was silent because that’s what they were supposed to be doing. Granted, Orlando was one of those wins (they got themselves too hyped) but the rest were versus Minnesota, Philly, and New Jersey. It’s true, Miami is supposed to be beating those teams, and at the same time, they’re supposed to be losing to the Boston Celtics.
A team needs to have an established identity if they’re going to leapfrog the Boston Celtics or LA Lakers. They have to know who they are, what they do, what works for them and what doesn’t. In those go-to moments that decide games they have to know what they’re doing and who they’re going to. For the Celtics it’s easy: screen to the corner, Ray Allen 3. The Lakers? Just as simple: dump to the post for Pau or high screen & clearout for Kobe. But it’s only easy because they’ve done it and seen it work. So far the Heat have had Eddie House take, not one, but two last second shots.
…….Think about that.
Miami needs to clearly define the roles of their big 3. They’re getting there, but you can see right now there’s an imbalance. Too often Wade and LeBron take turns going 1v5. Organized help defense and clockwork rotations ruin that offense, *cough*BostonCeltics*cough*. Chris Bosh has to realize he can’t be a 100% finesse player on this team. He’s going to have to get dirty, he’s going to have to get mean. He can not be in position but stand there and watch Rajon Rondo dunk in his face. Inexcusable. If Udonis Haslem has to wake him up with an elbow to the jaw every morning for it to happen, then so be it. Bosh has to become a low post presence for the Heat to have any shot at the Celtics……this year.
What we all, including the Miami Heat players, need to realize is that they’re 9 games into a 410 game (minimum) experiment. This isn’t a ‘Karl Malone and Gary Payton to the Lakers for a one last hurrah at a ring’ situation. There’s a lot of growing, learning, and developing to be done. They understand the sacrifices that need to be made, but now it’s about recognizing their roles within the parameters of those sacrifices. Long story short, Dwyane Wade has to realize he can still be Dwyane Wade. LeBron James has to realize he can still be LeBron James. Wade has been quickest to assimilate because he’s done this before. His championship season with Shaq gave him a head start while LeBron is still trying to figure it out. It’s a hell of a transition after being options 1-5 for all seven years of your NBA career.
LeBron also needs to come to terms with the affects of his decision. Mainly: the Miami Heat are despised by the majority of people outside of south Florida. He probably thought since a big 3 worked and became so popular in Boston and LA, the same would be true in Miami. It’s not. A multitude of reasons factor into why, most of them are foolish, but that doesn’t change the facts. LeBron, and the entire Heat organization, need to understand this and use it as a glue. We’ve seen LeBron with a ‘me against the world’ mentality before, it’s not pretty for his opponents but damn if it isn’t the most surreal thing to watch in the NBA since Michael Jordan retired.
I want that LeBron back. Miami needs that LeBron back.
The harsh reality for the Miami Heat and their fans is that the more they lose now, the better they’ll be. This mini-meltdown will be good for them. After running through subpar competition they were given a swift reality check by New Orleans, another courtesy of Paul Millsap, and the Celtics just gave them a backhand full of all sorts of reality (again). This team has had their weaknesses analyzed and dissected enough for a full seasons worth of games. The more this occurs the easier it will be for them to recognize and patch their holes, schematically or personnel wise.
This is only bad if the Heat themselves start to lose perspective and listen to the talking heads that foam at the mouth anytime they take an L. They have to remember what they cautioned before the season even started. This will be a process, they’re not behind and they’re not ahead.
It’s been 9 games.
They’re right where they’re supposed to be.