Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Miami Heat: How much is left in the tank?

Almost three weeks removed from the NBA Finals, everybody is caught up in the hype of free agency. Dwight Howard is now a Rocket and looking ahead to next offseason, where LeBron James is thought to opt out and become a free agent.  But I’m back to talk about NBA championships, and specifically, how many the Miami Heat can win.  To make that statement clear: no, I don’t have the answer for you.  All I can do is speculate on what could happen.
LeBron James and the Miami Heat set sky-high expectations for the new squad in the 2010 offseason.  By now, we should all be familiar with the famous words that came out of his mouth (it may have been Wade or Bosh, but they all speak as one): “not three, not four, not five…”  The Miami Heat have won back-to-back championships, whoop-dee-doo.  I’ve got news for you guys, though.  According to them and according to basically every fan and critic, stopping there isn’t going to cut it.
Stopping after two rings is kind of like a tease.  We could look back and say: “okay, you guys won two championships but that’s it.  It’s not like you were the Chicago Bulls of 1991-1998 or any of those remarkable Boston Celtic teams.  You won two championships but then you disappeared and let other teams takeover the league”
Zach Tennen on LeBron & Heat Championships
Courtesy of sportsillustrated.cnn.com
Miami would be damned if they “let other teams takeover the league” from here on out.  LeBron James would get some props but everyone would remember him as not being able to win with Dwyane Wade in All-Star form.  James’ legacy can’t really afford that, unless he chooses to take his talents to another city, bring along another star, and eventually win a championship there (possibly L.A.?).
Coming off two well-deserved titles, next season is absolutely huge for Miami.  There were times when Dwyane Wade looked to be getting old and sluggish in the 2013 playoffs.  On top of that, Chris Bosh turned more into a solid starter rather than a borderline all-star.  James may have to carry this team more and more as we get further into time.  Even during the 2013 playoffs, James compared his situation to his Cavalier days, where he was expected to carry the bulk of the work.  Only, in 2013, he had transformed as a player and a person.
Because of the money that Mickey Arison had to dedicate to the “big three,” they don’t have any money to spend in offseasons.  However, that was a choice that the organization made, knowing that they’d have to ride a core of James, Wade, and Bosh for as long as they could.  While other teams, such as the Pacers, Rockets, and Clippers, are making significant roster changes to become championship-caliber teams, Miami just awaits the team that’s talented and energetic enough to take them down.
As of 2013, the LeBron James-led Miami Heat sit atop the mountain.  But as time goes on and circumstances change, their position at the top may not be as secure.  Back-to-back championships are impressive but, in the NBA, they are somewhat commonplace.  The 2013-14 Miami Heat are going to have to push even harder to do it again, but it’s unclear how much is left in the tank.

Follow me on Twitter @ZJTbasketball11

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