"This Week in the Nba"- Return Edition- Miami Heat focus
Posted 04 December 2010 - 04:28 PM
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<u><div align='center'>MIAMI HEAT FOCUS - HEAT CHECK</div></u>
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<b><!--sizeo:3--><span style="font-size:12pt;line-height:100%"><!--/sizeo-->S<!--sizec--></span><!--/sizec--></b>ince the Miami Heat are unquestionable the most talked about nba team this season, with an un-measureable amount of media and journalists focusing their attention on them, I thought, what better way to return to "This Week in the Nba" than to give you my impressions. And lets face it, i'm not exactly the type of person to give a "typical" or "common" view on any given topic now am I.....
What I'm going to do is break this down into a number of parts;
Part 1: Are the Heat built in the correct way to become that infamous "dynasty" ?
Part 2: How are they performing right now?
Part 3: Why I think the Heat should play like.... well.... the Bobcats...
oh, and I might just mention if I think they can, or indeed will win the title.. (well ya know, what would be the point of the entire article if I didnt?.. )
<img src="http://joeljamescome.../t1_jordan.jpg" border="0" class="linked-image" />
<i>Yes Mr Jordan, I DID say that your team should be their example... but before you start rubbin' those hands together in your exhagerrated sense of smugness, let me explain first</i>
Ok, lets get crackin' .
<b><!--sizeo:4--><span style="font-size:14pt;line-height:100%"><!--/sizeo-->PART 1: ARE THE HEAT BUILT IN THE CORRECT WAY TO BECOME THAT INFAMOUS "DYNASTY"?<!--sizec--></span><!--/sizec--></b>
Firstly I guess, to make it clear for everybody, and so that we are all working on what I think the criteria and the backdrop is for a dynasty, I think we should set a "formula".
Every championshiop team, in my opinion has one of the following, and before I delve into the roster I am going to give you a few ideas and thoughts on these;
<b>i. An Identiity</b>
If I asked you the style of basketball that wins championships, and the style of ball the Heat either do, or should play, a common answer to the latter might be.. "use their length and athleticism on defense to get enough stops and get out in the open floor in transition. If it is, thats a shame because I dont see that as a "winning formula" for year upon year success. If it was the case, and if they were to implement that night in night out, the 76ers would have been champs at least 4 times this century. In my humble opinion, that does not get it done in the playoffs, and unless you can combine that with a solid selection of half court sets (see please, the magic), you're prone to falling a little cheaply.
A championship identity is something that tells fans the way they will see their team play, and that is solid on both ends, and willing to sacrifice (yes, sacrifice is a key word i'm sure you'll agree) in order to overcome each different opponent put in front of them.
The biggest issue I see with the heat's identity right now is that they dont actually have an identity. Thats actually totally understandable though, because no team that had over 3/4's of its roster put together in the offseason is going to be able to jell that quickly, and in particular, no team with any specific roles to speak of and a combination of eccentric stars. I wouldnt worry about this until the all star break. Right now the heat will gain plenty of wins on talent alone, and by then they will know what they can and cant do and will be more prepared going into the last stretch of the regular season, and the playoffs.
<b>ii. A marquee player or two</b>
Err.... yeah, lets just say they dont just have 2 all star, superstar talents that they can call on come crunch time to bail them out... they have 3...
<b>iii. A "lay it on the line in crunch time" ideology</b>
In my opinion this is similar to the identity issue. WE DONT KNOW YET. Thats becase with all the new faces around and no real offensive sets yet designed, we havent had a chance to see what the heat will likely do when the game is on the line. Ok, we've seen lebron or wade go one and one at the end of games against their man in the hope of getting something productive, but please please please dont become naive enough to believe that we'll see the same malarky come april, because with 3 guys who are so used to having the ball in the hands at the end of games its hard to design plays where all 3 are involved and all touch it.... They'll figure it out.
(Oh, and for those shaking your heads and disagreeing with that.. yeah, I see you.. stop for a second a think- you have been giving 3 all star, superstar guys, what plays would you run, what sets would you design (becuase lets face it, simply using one play book such as the triangle, the princeton offense etc, wont accommadate, so you'd have to design a mixture) to utilise all 2 and keep all 2 happy?... Ok OK, i have my ideas, and no doubt you do too, but keep that in mind.
Thought about it?... there you go, not so easy now is it coach?...
<b>iv. A coaching team with knowledge and educated instincts</b>
Starting with Spoelstra, a young, solid coach who has sime expeirnce behind successful groups. Is he ready to lead a team with 3 ego's that large?.. in my opinion yes... the only thing that may hinder his progress is Pat Reily... not because he is going to get fired, but because he will constantly have that little voice in the back of his brain wondering if Reily is looking over his shoulder, just waiting for a chance to pounce. Unless Reily publically states his backing of Spoelstra, it may be the paranoia that hinders him more than anything else.
But, on the flipside, they may be best buddies and all is well and good behind the scenes.. so chin up heat fans.. theres always that chance! (WRITER GIVES SLY WINK HERE TO GET HEAT FANS BACK ON GOOD TERMS WITH HIM)
Other than that, the heat have a very stable group of coaches in place, and if they can keep hold of Lebron in practice, I dont see an issue.
<b>v. A group that can work well with each other, and compliment each other on and off the court</b>
<img src="http://www.metrolic....pt-150x150.jpg" border="0" class="linked-image" /> Just how important might the guy to your left be down the road?
Well, here is where it can get complicated. What the management team did this offseason was fit a selction of shooters around the big three, because they anticipated that the rest of the league would panic and naturally double team each of them whenever they have the ball. Whilst that looked good on paper, they seemed to have forgotten that size and intangibles win titles. James Jones, Eddie House, Mario Chalbmers, to name just a few, where put around them for that very purpose, but they havent got enough about them to warrant being anything else. None of them are premier defenders, none can efficiently create their own shot, and so none offer more than their classic jumper.
The team itself has, in my opinion, the right things about it to be great, but, they must add size.. maybe in the form of brendan haywood, or someone of the like to solidify the middle. IF the can do that, and keep healthy (yes, losing haslem is massive) then they will be fine.
I will say though, and I will be bold, brave, and anything else you want, that I DONT THINK THEY NEED ANOTHER PG..... I am saying this because I think Chalmers should start, and that, Mike Miller and Lebron can tag team that position in different and certain situations. That makes Miller very critcical... whilst people are criticising the heat, many have forgotten that a crucial piece is still in a cast. When Milller is back (an underated passer and ball handler) they will have a dynamic quartet that can run the ball, and I think you will see it will be much easier for them to run motion offenses, which at the moment, they clearly are not.
So YES, I do think the team they have (plus another big) is sufficient and can work together.
<b><!--sizeo:4--><span style="font-size:14pt;line-height:100%"><!--/sizeo-->PART 2: HOW ARE THEY PERFORMING RIGHT NOW?<!--sizec--></span><!--/sizec--></b>
Right now they have major issues. At 12 and 8 they have begun to claw back to the top 4 spots in the east, but it definately hasnt been an easy ride for a team that was supposedly going to win 72 games. Other than the past 3 games (all of which they have won), they have struggled against stiff defenses as they arent using their talents and abilities in the best way, and they are settling for jumpers. Currently, plus .500 teams are running a slit defense that we over here in the UK call the "sagging one-to-one". What this means is that you run a man to man defense, but if your guy hasnt got the ball, you are effecitively running a box and 1 defense because you can sag toward the paint, thus clogging the lane. This has been great against the heat because the better defensive teams can rotate and shuffle themselves for one side of the court to the next with relative ease and are making it hard for the heat to penatrate, particularly because the heat are mostly static, and thus have little momentum going towards the rim.
In addition, they are getting beaten to the boards, and havent seemed to have understood that EVERY team will treat them differently, in that they will mark on their shedules the date that they are playing the heat, and so will look to take a "scalp" and shock them. I honestly think that at the moment, (not over the past 3 games it must be said) that there is still an aoura of "we will naturally win because of the talent we have". What this is leading to is people assuming and expecting others to take over games, and noone taking the initative.
The biggest disappointment is the defense though. They are not aggressive enough and are hoping, rather than initiating, that they can get out and run. This needs to be fixed, and quickly.
They have gotten better this past week, but the lack of movement on offense, and the lack of defensive intenisty is causing problems that shouldnt be there in the first place.
<b><!--sizeo:4--><span style="font-size:14pt;line-height:100%"><!--/sizeo-->PART 3: Why I think the Heat should play like.... well.... the Bobcats...<!--sizec--></span><!--/sizec--></b>
Ok, so I guess from your expression, that this is going to need a lot of explaining..?.. I mean, it must seem strange for me to even say such a thing right?... well, here goes.
The bobcats are a team that the heat should watch very closely. On defense, they trouble teams because they are long, and have active hands. Not only that, they protect the paint very well. Neither of these should be a stretch for the Heat, and the Heat should naturally be much, much better at it. If they were to add a big who can do nothing but clog the lane, they would be able to get stops in the same way the bobcats do, and thus would have a much easier going of it whilst their offense works itself out... (gradually). Not only that, it would give them until march/april to work out their offense.
As a neutral fan, or as a fan of the Heat, what I want to see is them playing the passing lanes, and never, NEVER, playing a zone.. By playing straight up half-court press they will force teams to throw longer passes, more dangerous entry passes into the post, and will rush teams into running more, and will not allow them to easily run their sets. In the game against the cavs, they started by trapping Mo Willams in the corner at half court, and he commited a turnover, and got lucky with the balls deflecting out of bounds. This should be a common thing for the Heat, because with Bron and Wade in particular, they are VERY good at it.
Offensively is where I suggest they again watch the Bobcats, but only in some areas. The first is at the point. When Mike Miller is back, I'd like to see him tag team the ball handling job with Lebron, with both arroyo and chalmbers comming off the bench. I can envisage Miller playing a key role, because he gives them a dimension they dont currently have, and when he's back I think it will make Spoelstra's job of creating and running sets much easier.
For now I want to see a starting five that has Chalmbers at the 1. This is because, similar to the 'Cats wth Augustin at the point, they will have a solid shooter than can react to the SG and SF's when they have the ball in their hands. Arroyo cannot hit the jumper consistently and his defense has hardly been stellar. Plus, with Chalmbers you wouldnt lose much defensively because if they play the right way, and has the PG pressing the ball handler and the others playing the passing lanes, he will have more freedom to play aggressively.
I also want to see Anthony back in at starting centre. He cant particualr score on the block, but, by simply staying down there, bosh has liscence to roam aound the elbows and baselines. This gives them a better balance than the 2 spot up bigs they are running with now, and will allow them to space the floor much better.
With these changes, and if the Heat go about it the right way, i dont see any reason why they cant go to the ECF, if not beyond.
Well guys, that about does it for this return edition of "This Week in the Nba". But before I go, I just want to let you know that "Money-Shots Mailbag" has also returned!
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All you have do is PM me a question you would like me to answer, or a topic you would like me talk about, and I may do so on that week's article! So ask away!
Ok, so that about does it, thanks for checking into "This Week in the Nba".. the Miami Heat Focus edition, be sure to check back next week!
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Posted 04 December 2010 - 06:07 PM
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Posted 04 December 2010 - 08:13 PM
2) before i start commenting, i just wanna add a little constructive criticism, that i know its a huge article, but maybe spellcheck just a little better
3) i think you make a lot of good points
4) i think adding dampier was a big step to add some size and depth
5) mario chalmers is actually a pretty good perimeter defender
6) i agree, he should be starting
7) as big as you made him sound, i think mike miller is actually more important than you made him sound, he will totally spread the floor and he'll get at least 7-8 open 3's a night...jones and house are getting them now, but their not the same quality shooter as Miller
8) overall, from what i read, it seems like a very quality article
Posted 04 December 2010 - 09:44 PM
Posted 06 December 2010 - 11:22 AM
I think a lot of ppl saw how the Celtics created their big 3 and clicked almost immediately and expected the Heat to do the same. Different players, different points of their career, different chemistry.
The Heat have all year to figure it out and so long as they do by the playoffs they'll be in the mix for a trip to the finals.
I do agree that if they don't develop and identity on offense it will bite them in the ass vs the upper echelon teams ina 7 game series.
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