Two a Days: Miami Heat Preview

The Big 3 are on a mission for a 3-peat.

The Big 3 are on a mission for a 3-peat.

By: Travis Thayer

2012-13 Record: 66-16

Projected 2013-14 Finish: 1st in the Southeast

Projected Starting Lineup

Mario Chalmers, PG
Dwyane Wade, SG
LeBron James, SF
Udonis Haslem, PF
Chris Bosh, C

Key Reserves

Ray Allen, G
Norris Cole, G
Shane Battier, F
Chris Andersen, C
Greg Oden, C/ Michael Beasley, F (If they’re lucky)

Not one, Not two, but three.  The Miami Heat are chasing their third consecutive NBA Championship.  Bill Russell, Michael Jordan, Shaquille O’Neal, and Kobe Bryant all won three in a row, and LeBron James and Dwyane Wade want their names to be on that list of all-time greats.  There is no doubt that the Heat are the best team in the NBA, but most critics believe they won’t win their third straight title because the lack of offseason additions.  The Heat were almost forced to amnesty Mike Miller, and they ended up filling his spot with Michael Beasley and/or Greg Oden.  Both players have huge question marks surrounding them, and it would be a slight miracle if either one made their way into the rotation.  Oden is the more intriguing pickup of the two because of his size.  The Heat were manhandled in the paint by the Indiana Pacers last season, and Oden could be exactly what the Heat need to neutralize the Pacers big men.  The problem is Oden hasn’t played in four years, and there is no guarantee he even plays significant minutes at any point this season.  Still, the Heat are going to be a team to be reckoned with because of the four-time MVP LeBron James.  LeBron seems to be in a league of his own, and nobody should be shocked to see him win his fifth MVP in six years – a feat that has never been accomplished.  Although he has a way to go, LeBron has his mind set on being the greatest basketball player of all-time, and that is a scary thought for the rest of NBA.

We know LeBron is going to be great once again this season, but Heat fans hope he doesn’t have to carry all the load.  Dwyane Wade is said to be as healthy and fit as he has even been, and a healthy Wade makes the Heat all that much better.  Wade has been criticized for his play over the past couple of years, but his injuries have factored into that.  Wade has something to prove this year though.  He is out to prove he is the same ole Wade, and that he is the best shooting guard in the NBA after Kevin Durant said James Harden took that honor.  Chris Bosh continues to be at the center of criticism as well, which is ridiculous for a two-time NBA Champion.  Wade and Bosh have had their struggles at times, but you can’t deny the end result.  They both have played pivotal roles in two championships, and scoring isn’t everything.  Chris Bosh is the perfect example of that.  In Game 6 of the NBA Finals he had the biggest offensive rebound and assist of his life.  If he doesn’t get that rebound and kick it out to Ray Allen, then the Heat don’t win the NBA Finals.  If that wasn’t enough, he blocked Danny Green’s attempt to win the game just seconds later.  In Game 7, Bosh didn’t record a single point, but he rebounded the ball and played great defense.

At the end of the day, the Heat have found a way to win back-to-back championships.  Part of becoming a dynasty is learning how to win championships, and it doesn’t matter how the deed gets done.  The Heat may not have had a sexy addition to the team, and they might have even lost the key to it all in Mike Miller – but is that really all it takes to knock off the champs?  The still have the “Big 3”, and plenty of great role players.  Chalmers, Cole, Allen, and sometimes Battier will knock down three pointers all day, and guys like Haslem, Birdman, and Anthony do the dirty work.  Much like the Spurs, the Heat have all the ingredients to win the championship.  Until someone knocks the Heat off their throne, I will continue to believe they will win their third straight NBA Championship.

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