Miami Heat Still Not Championship Team

Steve O Speak

By Guest Blogger Geoff Nelowet:

The Miami Heat have won seven straight games. They’re 16-8 overall, which is good for second in the Eastern Conference. We know the Miami Heat can dominate the mediocre teams, but how good will they be come playoff time? For me the answer is clear, and it’s that the Miami Heat are simply not a good enough team to win the NBA Championship with their current roster, and no matter how much chemistry they build from now until April, they won’t have the defensive toughness to beat any of the elite teams in a seven-game series.

By elite teams, I mean Boston, San Antonio and the LA Lakers, and at this point, even the 18-4 Dallas Mavericks who have become one of the most consistent defensive teams in the league. And that’s what each of those teams bring every night: defense. As good as a LeBron, Wade and Bosh combination sounds, having two 35-year-old, lifeless centers in Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Erick Dampier holding down the paint does not equate to a championship team.

And even more importantly, the signing of Chris Bosh at this point is looking like a pretty substantial mistake. Bosh is clearly not a guy that plays much defense, and he’s certainly not a guy that can turn a team into a winner, which was made evident by his time with Toronto. Sure, put Bosh alongside Dwight Howard in Orlando and you likely have a championship team, but Bosh is not a guy that can win without a very solid foundation. The Heat would be in an exponentially better situation right now, had they gone after a defensive-minded power forward and center, instead of blindly signing a guy that puts up good stats on a bad team. This is not to label Bosh as a guy that can only put up stats on a bad team, but in Toronto, the offense ran through him, they were a horrid (as in 27th in the NBA in ’09) defensive team, and they were mediocre at best throughout his career.

And finally, having Wade and LeBron on the same team isn’t paying dividends in the way that many imagined, and here’s why: When Wade or LeBron have the ball in their hands, they make their team much, much better. Whether it’s shooting, getting to the paint or assisting to their teammates, when they have the ball, good things happen. The problem with this, though, is that the ball can only be in one set of hands at a time, and having LeBron or Wade without the ball in their hands legitimately minimizes the effect that their skill set can have on their teammates. Honestly, I’m not sure what can be expected of LeBron or Wade when they don’t have the ball. What can they really provide that 75% of the NBA can’t? LeBron and Wade are average jump shooters for their positions, and when they don’t have the ball, they’re being limited to just that — jump shooting. For the Boston Celtics, their offense is simple: Rajon Rondo sets up his teammates each and every possession. Whoever gets the ball, gets the ball, and nobody on that team is wasting away their elite passing or driving ability because Rondo has the ball. Imagine a Celtics teams with two Rajon Rondos — it would be a waste of talent.

In order for the Heat to seriously contend for a title, they need more defensive players. Specifically, they need a center that can take the pressure off of Chris Bosh — someone like Chicago’s Joakim Noah. Having Taj Gibson on the Heat bench certainly wouldn’t hurt either. Basically, if LeBron wanted to be apart of a team that would win seven or eight NBA titles, he should have taken his talents to Chicago and played with a team that actually has the pieces to win on offense and defense — not a pseudo All-Star team that plays Don Nelson basketball.

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