When LeBron James made his decision to “take his talents to South Beach” the Heat automatically became the next in line to win an NBA championship. They were favored not only by Las Vegas, but by millions of fans (and haters) everywhere.
While Miami celebrated the crowning of the NBA’s new “Big Three” during a huge ceremony at the American Airlines Arena, and most fans of other NBA teams became increasingly frightened, there were still those who said that basketball was a team sport — and even three superstars can not carry a team to a title alone.
Boy, were they right.
After a game six loss, and a failure to bring home a title to, many critics are arguing that the Heat have only one superstar, and his name is not LeBron James.
LeBron lost his third consecutive playoff series with home-court advantage — something that real superstars don’t do. He also turned the ball over six times in the last game and took only a combined total of four shots in the second and third quarters, adding to the list of things that real superstar players don’t do.
Though LeBron will receive most of the media-criticism over the next few weeks, even months, the truth of the matter is that the Mavericks played better team basketball and showed why three great players can’t beat a great team.
So, does this mean that Miami will never win a title? Hardly.
If we take LeBron out from under the microscope for a moment, in all fairness, the expectations bestowed upon the entire team may have been a little bit high.
They had a new squad in which only five players from last season returned; unlike the Mavs who have had the same core group of players for years.
As well as being a brand new team, the Heat also had two glaring weaknesses in their point guard and center positions. Veteran point guards such as Mike Bibby, and Eddie House were largely ineffective in the playoffs and Mario Chalmers who is not a true PG, had to carry the load; a task he was not able to fulfill.
At center, Eric Dampier, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, and Jamaal Magloire were non-factors, leaving a large hole in Miami’s interior defense.
Even though the Heat lacked any sort of substance at two of the most important positions on a basketball team, they were still able to make it six games into the NBA finals. If taken without all of the prior expectations, the loss may not be as much of a failure as it seems.
This offseason for the Heat should be the opposite of last year. Instead of going after big names, the Heat need to secure some role players as well as a true point guard who can control the tempo and facilitate the strength of the “Big Three.”
If Miami can make some deals to strengthen their weaknesses, the 2011 NBA finals will have been just a pot-hole on their road to victory.