Even a week before LeBron James announced his “Decision”, it seemed everyone and their grandmother had an opinion about how the Miami Heat (if they were to pull of the miracle of signing the “Three Kings”) wouldn’t be able to surround them with anything.
Basically, every so-called “expert”, media maven, blogger, and just plain Internet bozo espoused the imbecilic idea that Pat Riley wouldn’t be able to afford to bring any further talent to Miami, and that the Heat roster would be made up of three superstars and twelve D-League scrubs.
Of course, the world has learned, as I’ve cautioned them to do in one of my previous articles, that it’s foolish to doubt the genius of ‘Riles’ as he’s affectionately called by fans, as he not only surrounded Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, and Chris Bosh with talent, he created a roster that is lethal in the extreme; each piece being a perfect compliment to the three megastars he brought to South Beach.
Yet, now that the Boston Celtics have signed Shaquille O’Neal, these same so-called experts are renewing their idiocy, couching it in the tired idea that Miami’s bigs just won’t be able to handle the frontcourts of teams such as Boston, Orlando, or especially the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers.
Hogwash! Nonsense! Ridiculous! Get the F Outta Here!
However you want to put it, it’s sheer insanity. Or, more appropriately, it’s OLD thinking.
Those who are making these arguments are making them as if the Miami Heat haven’t just changed the nature of NBA basketball forever. They’re looking at the team from South Beach with a view that’s mired in the past. They’re blinded to the seismic shift that has taken place in the NBA landscape.
They look at Miami’s frontcourt and scoff. They say the names, Joel Anthony, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Jamaal Magloire, Dexter Pittman, Juwan Howard, Udonis Haslem, and Chris Bosh, and dismiss them, one and all.
Sure, they’ll grudgingly admit that Chris Bosh is a “pretty” talented power forward. Yet, with every compliment they pay the man, they’ll dole out five unjust criticisms of his game. Every time they’re forced to admit his incredible statistical superiority to almost every power forward in the game, they’ll throw in three or four attempts at painting him as soft, or weak.
Udonis Haslem? Oh, they see him as a workhorse, and a bruiser, but nothing more. They blatantly ignore his lockdown defensive ability, against far taller and bigger players many times, and pretend they’ve just gotten a message from the “Great Kazoo” that requires their immediate attention whenever the FACT he’s a damn double-double machine is mentioned.
Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Juwan Howard they immediately dismiss as over-the-hill one-dimensional players, despite all evidence to the contrary on both accounts.
Fully three quarters of them don’t even know who Joel Anthony or rookie Dexter Pittman are, and those who do laughingly disparage both of them, despite Joel’s incredible defensive ability and Pittman’s “immense” potential.
Jamaal Magloire they see as nothing but a thug good for six fouls on an opposing team’s center. Well, at least they’re right on that count, but that doesn’t lessen his value in that regard one bit. Of course that’s what he’s on the team for, and he knows that role well and relishes it.
There’s nothing better than having a player on your team whose sole purpose is to be an enforcer and who has a passion for just that.
In contrast, they see Boston’s revamped frontcourt, with the additions of Jermaine O’Neal and the Big Diesel, as something that will thoroughly dominate Miami on the boards and during long stretches of the game. In the same way they see Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic simply overpowering the Heat up front.
Don’t even get them started on the Los Angeles Lakers. They’ll regale you for hours about how Miami just has no chance whatsoever matching up with Lamar Odom, Pau Gasol, and Andrew Bynum.
Again, I ask, are these people insane?
First, Miami’s frontcourt is ten times better than these fools are giving it credit for, believe me. Not only are every one of the players mentioned far more talented in many ways than a great majority of these so-called “experts” are crediting them to be in their endless articles and statements on blogs and in the media, they perfectly compliment the game Miami will be playing.
Miami doesn’t need the traditional “trees” in the middle you’ve seen on many championship teams of the past, and history tells us you don’t need a team made up like that in order to win a title.
Case in point, the Chicago Bulls of the 90s. Are all these fools seriously devoid of any historical understanding? Are they so ignorant of the history of the NBA they simply don’t realize that the Bulls of the 90s didn’t have a bunch of awesome frontcourt talent.
Take the 1995-1996 Chicago Bulls for instance. They had James Edwards, Jack Haley, Luc Longley, Dennis Rodman, John Salley, Dickey Simpkins, and Bill Wennington up front.
Now, granted Dennis Rodman was a monster, and John Salley was capable, and Luc Longley had a little talent. But come on, now, is there anyone out there truly saying that frontcourt would compare with the Lakers of today? If they are, then they’re simply a little ridiculous.
Yet, is there also a single person out there who wouldn’t rightfully admit that the 1995-1996 Chicago Bulls would literally destroy the Los Angeles Lakers? It wouldn’t even be close (despite the nonsense Lakers fans would try and feed you to the contrary). Chicago would sweep them out of the playoffs without even trying hard.
In the same way, all this talk about how Miami’s frontcourt is going to matchup with other “elite” teams is nothing but nonsense in my view. Miami isn’t going to have to worry their heads off trying to figure out how to contain other team’s frontcourts, or backcourts for that matter. They’ll be too busy destroying those teams.
Those opponents will be spending dozens of hours, though, trying to figure out how to stop Miami, and they’ll fail miserably at it, I guarantee you. Miami will run it down their throats and then shove it a little further just to make sure they get some good acid reflux action.
Just as those Bulls of 1995-96 tore their opponents up running the ball, so will the Heat. As for the defense, Joel Anthony is one of the most underrated defenders in the NBA. He doesn’t need to be a scoring machine, as that isn’t his role. Like Rodman, he will be a one-dimensional player, a defensive stalwart, and that will be enough for the rest of the offensive juggernaut that is the Miami Heat to win games.
I could go on and on telling you how Chris Bosh, Anthony, and James will create a frontcourt that will simply smother opponents trying to score. I could go on and on about how Wade and Chalmers will be disrupting passing lanes and stealing the ball at will (leading to endless fast breaks that will usually end in some spectacular alley-oop to LeBron or Wade himself), as those opposing frontcourts try to dish the ball back out from that overbearing defense, but I don’t really need to.
Miami will testify to all of this once the season starts with their actions.
My only question to any doubters is, will you actually believe your own eyes when it happens, or will you begin to think you need to see a shrink? My advice? Get a jump on it now, and go check yourself into an asylum, because if you think Miami’s frontcourt will be a roadblock for them, you’re insane.