So, I don’t know if you heard, but LeBron James says he is going to play for the Miami Heat next season. I’m not going to get into the Dan Gilbert-fueled LeBron hatred— in fact I think LeBron made the smartest, if not safest, decision available.
Not only does he get to play with two studs, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, but now if the Heat flounder next season, it’s not all on LeBron. Had he chosen to re-sign with the Cavs or go to the Knicks or Bulls, their success would be entirely dependent on LeBron and his ability to lead them to the promised land. But if in two years the Heat still haven’t won, Miami will have some other players to share the blame.
After the initial “Holy crap this is actually happening” thoughts, the first thing that went through my head was the Miami Heat roster. Sure, they have three unbelievable players, but then who?
They reportedly traded Michael Beasley last night to make room for LeBron, so that leaves them with Mario Chalmers, LeBron, Wade, and Bosh. Not exactly the Dream Team.
It was also reported last night that Mike Miller will sign with them. Don’t get me wrong, Mike Miller is an excellent role player, but since they are supposedly paying him $30 million, that doesn’t leave much to fill out the rest of their roster.
The Heat situation reminds me of a video game in “Franchise Mode”. You select a team, in this case the Miami Heat. You put it on “League Draft” so that you get to choose your own team. You start out hot, choosing LeBron, Wade, and Bosh with your first three picks. “How did the computer let these guys fall to me!” you think to yourself, “I’m gonna be unstoppable!” With your fourth pick, you go to select another superstar, Dirk Nowitzki, but a dialog box with an exclamation point comes up on the screen: “Insufficient Funds. Please make another selection.”
Suddenly it dawns on you that you left the “Salary Cap” option on, and you don’t have enough money to draft any more players that you want. You go through trying to pick every player who you’ve heard of, but the dreaded “Insufficient Funds” box keeps bursting onto the screen. Finally you become so frustrated that you choose “let cpu finish draft” and you look at your final roster. It’s a dichotomy of the best players in the league and players who you thought had retired (or gone to the D-League) many years ago: LeBron, Wade, Bosh, Speedy Claxton, Kris Humphries, Aaron Williams, Ed O’Bannon, Bryant “Big Country” Reeves, Travis Best, and three players that the computer clearly made up with mismatched names like Santiago Suzuki and Yao Richardson.
You play one game before you realize it’s not really that fun playing with three superstars and a bunch of scrubs.
I have a feeling that’s what’s going to happen this season in Miami. They’ll be able to fill out the roster, but it won’t be the right combination of players to take the Heat to the Finals. Not this season at least.
There are two reasons the “big three” worked with the Celtics: 1) they had immediate, unbelievable chemistry that only happens when two of the big three are slightly over the hill and have been floundering with miserable teams for the past couple seasons, and 2) they had a solid supporting cast and bench, led by a phenomenal young point guard.
It’s pretty obvious that it will take some time for the Heat to gain a supporting cast, so this season will be more about point #1. How long will it take for LeBron, Wade, and Bosh to gel? Will they be able to share the spotlight, or multiple spotlights as LeBron put it? It remains to be seen, but one thing’s for sure. I can’t wait to watch this team play.
And I can’t wait to see Miami’s first game in Cleveland.