One, Two, Three,…and counting
By: Ronnie Hamp
The Miami Heat are looking to three peat this upcoming season. The
Heat have been to the last three NBA finals which is a remarkable
feat. The Heatles last title run brought many challenges, but, they
hoisted up the Larry O’Brien trophy at the end of the season. Since
then several teams have tried to catch up with the Heat to take the
throne from them. Teams such as the Pacers, Spurs, Nets, and Thunder
(with Westbrook) pose as real threats to the Heat, but when you have
the best player in the game playing with an even better supporting
cast it makes it a tough task to handle. When the Heat win title No. 3
the next question is that, Will the Big Three stick together to make
this dynasty official? The free agency period is a long time from now,
so until then lets enjoy the ride to #3.
No legit threat
Call me crazy, but I feel that there is no legit threat to dethrone
the Heat. In the Eastern Conference, the Pacers improved in all areas,
but they failed to add a point guard which could have changed my mind
a bit. The Bulls are a tough team, but they peaked three years ago
when the Heat were in their first season, and they lost in the Eastern
Conference Finals 4-1. LeBron James is better, and the chemistry is on
another level, so I see it tough for the Bulls. Maybe GBE can help?
The Brooklyn Nets may have the best starting lineup in the NBA on
paper, but that does not always translate to wins. I think Deron
Williams will play great under Jason Kidd, but I think Paul Pierces
psyche may be off by being in a different environment for the first
time in his career. In the West you have the Spurs, Grizzles, and
Thunder to worry about to a certain extent, but nothing to sweat over.
Even though the Spurs took the Heat to 7 games they are also a year
older. The Thunder will be up there, but the ghost of James Harden
will continue to haunt them. The Grizzlies are the same team as last
year, and they brought in Mike Miller for some shooting, but can they
muster enough offense to compete with the champs? I’d say no.
I am not even going to mention Greg Oden, because there is a huge
unknown, but if he plays we already know what to expect with his
defense and rebounding. When Jordan won his titles he had role players
such as Kerr, Kukoc, Buchler, Bison Dele, Ron Harper, John Paxon, and
B.J. Armstrong. LeBron & Co. have a great stable of role players. Guys
like Mario Chalmers, Norris Cole, UD, Birdman, Ray Allen, and Michael
Beasley are perfect compliments to the “Big Three”. If you can get
around 70 points from the “Big Three”, How hard is it to make up for
the rest? Role players like Chalmers, Beasley, and Allen can all erupt
for points very quickly when given the opportunites.
Erik Spoelstra will never get credit for being a top tier coach.
LeBron has improved so much as a player while wearing a Heat uniform,
and Spo has some reason for that. I know that Spo has a team of stars,
but he is putting them in the best position to succeed as a team.
Spo’s unconvientional lineups will always throw opposing teams off,
and he isn’t afraid to challenge his stars. Phil Jackson has two hands
full of championship rings. Did he win any of those ring without Shaq,
Kobe,Pippen, or Jordan? My point exactly.
This is a team that knows what is at stake. There aren’t many players
that can say they’ve three-peat as a NBA Champion. With guys on the
roster having the taste of winning they will only get hungry for more.
The Heat players know that this may be the last time they all play
together this season due to players being able to opt out of the
contracts next season. With Pat Riley being at the helm of everything
he will let his coaches and players know what is at stake. Riley never
three peated as a coach or player, but he will get a legit chance to
this time in a front office position.
LBJ, LeBron, King James, or whatever you want to call him is head
above the rest of the NBA. I know guys like Kevin Durant, Melo, and
Derrick Rose are fan favorites, but at the end of the day they can’t
hold a candle to him. LeBron has quieted haters for the past two
seasons, and he will only continue to do so. The four-time MVP (should
be 5) is only 28 years of age, which means he has a lot of basketball
to play for the rest of his career. LeBron has aspirations of being
the best player that the game of basketball has ever seen, and the
only way to get close to that is to win championships. We all know
that Dwyane Wade is not the Wade of 2006 or 2009, but Wade has the
luxury to play second or third fiddle to LBJ. Chris Bosh is not an
intimidating force, but he will have his best season as a Heat Player.
LeBron is the center of everything for the Heat. The Heat goes as he
goes, and when LeBron gets a head start you can forget about it. When
LeBron said Not 1…Not 2…Not.3… and so on many people laughed,
but if LBJ keeps it up he may have the last laugh.
Not 5, not 6, just 2…
By: Derrick Bond
1. Lebron James is the best basketball player on planet earth. He was
not the best his rookie season in 2004. He was not the best in 2009
despite his commercials battling with Kobe Bryant. Right now however
in 2013 Lebron is by far the best player in the world on the best team
and Kevin Durant a dominant player in his own right is a distant
second. I’m aware of the off season acquisitions of Michael Beasley,
Greg Oden and Roger Mason. I’m aware the “Big Three” remains intact.
With that being said I’m going to give you the top five reasons why
the Miami Heat will not win the 2014 NBA title.
Will Dwayne Wade be healthy?
The last three seasons Wades health particularly his knee’s have been
a tremendous question mark. At stretches he looks like an average NBA
two guard compared to his top form in 2007. I think it’s safe to say
he is no longer a superstar because of his steady decline and
postseason disappearances. Oddly Wade has managed to return to
greatness at times during the last two postseasons but I don’t see it
happening this season.
The health and age of the backup singers
Ray Allen, Chris Andersen, Shane Battier, Udonis Haslem and Dwayne
Wade who will be 32, are all in their mid 30’s not exactly the peak
age for playing basketball for another grueling 82 game schedule and
extended postseason. You can go ahead and add Greg Oden to this list
because of countless injuries his knee’s are about 214 years old. As
we saw in game 6, title number two does not happen without maybe the
clutchest shot in NBA history by role player Jesus Shuttlesworth.
Simply the odds
The “Heatles” have made the finals the last three seasons straight.
That’s right don’t forget about that shocking loss to Dallas. Only
three teams have made the finals four straight times in the history of
the NBA; The 1980’s legendary Lakers/Celtic teams and the Bill Russell
led Celtics from the late 50’s to mid 60’s. In the modern era there
seems to be too much competition to continue to rattle off
championships without other teams finding your kryptonite. After the
Shaq & Kobe three peat they failed to even make it out the second
round in the following season.
Sometimes it is impossible to find the motivation after
accomplishment. At times this past season before the epic Heat streak
took place, we saw a team that looked like it was going through the
motions. All teams face it even most super bowl winning teams fail to
make the playoffs in the next season. With the Lebron haters silenced,
D Wade winning his third ring and the experiment resulting in obvious
success are the Heat satisfied? Most recently we saw the Kobe/Phil/Pau
Lakers lose against the Celtics in “08” come back win it all in “09”
get revenge in “10” against the Celtics just to embarrass Phil Jackson
in his last season by losing it’s intensity and getting swept in the
2nd round of the “11’ playoffs.
Other Teams figure it out
The Brooklyn Nets are here! They added Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce
(Nemesis of Lebron in classic shootouts), AK47, and new head coach
Jason Kidd to team up with Deron Williams, Brook Lopez and Joe
Johnson. They are stacked and with immediate chemistry could really
give the Heat trouble. The Indiana Pacers remain a constant threat
because of size, defense and emerging star Paul George. They now have
star shooter Danny Granger back to add to their offensive attack and
look as dangerous as ever. The Chicago Bulls may be the key to the
demise of the Heat. They always play the Heat tough and now they
finally have the last man not named Lebron to win an NBA MVP award on
their team. Welcome back Mr. Rose we missed you.