Website: Crazy From The Heat
Author: Vivek Wallace
Wow…Wasn’t it just yesterday that we were celebrating the teams first Championship in franchise history on the balmy biscayne boulevard in downtown Miami? Sure seems like it, but never-the-less, here we go again. Only this time the plot has thickened. There’s a few new faces added to the mix, as well as a couple of old ones that have changed uniforms.
As we prepare to kickoff another NBA season and survey the landscape, one thing you can count on is that based on some of the offseason moves there will be nearly more subplots than points scored, making for an interesting season.
The closer we get to the season opener we’ll examine a few of those subplots but for starters, let’s take a look at the ones surrounding our own team…Your MIAMI HEAT!!!!!!!!!!!!
“THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY”
“Good”… for starters you have to look at the fact that Miami’s returning with the full roster in tact. Early in the offseason most questioned how the chips would fall, but those questions were answered relatively fast for some, and a little later for others.
Swingman James Posey put his autograph on the dotted line early to solidify his position for the near future. Following his lead was veteran center Alonzo Mourning. Most felt he had the most legitimate reason to pack it in and ride of into the sunset, but after further review he found the urge to chase more “bling” too tempting.
The biggest question mark was that of head coach Pat Riley.
After an offseason of introspective meditation, the serenity of Africa’s Serengeti proved to be soothing to the soul as ‘Riles returned from his usual summertime destination clearly rejuvenated, and ready to resume a career that has once again landed him back in the NBA’s “buzz”.
If anything, Miami’s continuity should serve as a plus as they prepare to defend their crown.
Certain “issues” that came about as a new team learned to gel last year will easily turn into unconscious repititions this season if history speaks like it has in the past.
Having a returning roster should be pivotal in the success of the Miami Heat this season.
“Bad”…Well…Here goes that three letter word again…The one that’ll be synonymous with Miami all season long…A-G-E.
All of us can remember a situation in most any sport where one of the great ones fell victim to “father time”. Obviously it’s one thing to play injured, knowing in the back of your mind that soon enough you’ll be back to form…But it’s another story when you’re facing opposition every single night that’s bigger, quicker, stronger, and last longer.
Some find age to be the lost of youthful progression, but the great ones turn that word into an acronym…Meaning “A-Greater-Education”…turning experiences learned over that “seasoning period” into priceless intelligence used to outsmart the less experienced young guns. Example, an aging Michael Jordan realized quickly that it made more sense to preserve defensive energy and perfect an offensive jumpshot, rather than trying to remain a human highlight reel dunking everything handed to him.
The outcome it garnered was the sixth edition to be added to his “bling”…Hence term “One for the Thumb”.
Last year in the NBA Finals, Miami was able to adapt this philosophy by using seasoned veterans to out think a team that clearly had more atheleticism and depth, but will they be able to with another year added to the equation remains to be seen.
“Ugly”…Is the fact that this has been an offseason of nothing but celebration for this returning roster and one has to seriously question how rested this very “aged” team will be come opening season tip-off.
Any Pat Riley coached team will undoubtedly know the word DISCIPLINE, but an offseason following a Championship victory has to tempt even the meek at heart to indulge in activities outside the norm.
The attention, the parties, the clubs, the talk shows, and oh, perhaps the most dangerous culprit of them all, the “fridge”.
You add all of the elements to one of the oldest teams in the league and can’t help but question how they’ll respond.
Will they come out of the gates slow like last year and morph into form when it’s time to play for all the marbles? Possible, but very improbable.
Among other key questions…Will Shaq come into camp in tip top shape?…Will J-Dub’s injury force D-Wade into more minutes than normal following an offseason spent on the court in the World Championship action?…Who knows?…I guess one thing we do know is that this season like any other will start with more questions…But they’ll be questions that only the “Heat” can answer, and questions that only time can tell…Stay tuned.
When it’s all said in done, barring any major injuries, I see Miami coasting to a record of 54-28…(Slightly better than last year based on lessons learned during the ‘05 season)…As far as the postseason, this teams drive down the stretch and energy left after a long summer will tell that…I know what they’re capable of, but what they do is sometimes a little different…Let’s just hope that Shaq’s prediction comes to fruition…(Remember the victory day parade…And I quote): “We’ll be back next year….Yeah, I said it”!