Congratulations to The Heat!
Lebron led them to the promise land! They had a little help along the way of course: Derrick Rose tore his ACL, Iman Shumpert tore his ACL, Amar’e slashed his hand, Ray Allen was injured, The Spurs choked against The Thunder, and The Thunder choked against them. Who knows what would have happened if none of those convenient mishaps didn’t occur.
If you ask me The Heat were the third best team in the league last season. The Bulls were number 1 when Rose was fully healthy, and The Spurs were number 2. OKC was only fourth due to their lack of experience, which ultimately led to their demise. A little luck is needed once in a while right?
Don’t get me wrong, The Heat are immensely talented. Lebron alone will keep a team in the playoffs probably until he retires, and if you add Wade and Bosh into the mix you get a deep playoff run year after year. They most likely can make the Finals again sometime in the next few years, but it won’t be as easy as this time around. Next year they will have to face the healthy and improved Bulls, Clippers, Thunder, and maybe our own New York Knicks.
The Knicks are set to have a big year if they play their cards right. The arbitrator ruled in favor of players retaining their bird rights after being waived, so Lin and Novak will be returning to the team next season barring a successful appeal by the league. That means that the Knicks can add quality talent if they choose wisely and make a good investment. Newly minted head coach Mike Woodson impressed last season, and he sent home some of the players with missions on how to improve. Amar’e should come back with new low-post moves, Tyson should be more of an offensive weapon, and ‘Melo should be a better passer.
Who knows if any of those things will actually be successful, but if they create a perfect storm this could turn out very well. I don’t want to sound overly optimistic, but the Knicks v.s. Heat episode II may have very different results than the first one.
That does not mean we are better than The Heat, or even at their level. What it means is that we can be competitive against some of the best teams in the league. That’s what so great about the NBA playoffs, anything can happen as long as you stay in the game.
The Heat have their work cut out for them if they want to win another championship. Dwyane Wade is 30 and injury prone. As great as he is, he might not have 3 or 4 more years of excellence in his body. Bosh was not consistently efficient this season, and if he cannot reproduce his playoff success regularly he doesn’t make a huge impact. They have a decent supporting cast, but Chalmers is due for a contract upgrade sooner or later, Battier is not getting younger, and the rest of the lebron-ettes can be easily replaced and exchanged.
The Knicks may not be the only thing stopping The Heat, but if one thing is for sure, it is that The Heat need a lot of help from the NBA gods if they plan on winning not 1, not 2, not 3, not 4, not 5, not 6, not 7 championships.