When there isn’t any basketball to watch and analyze, journalists are forced to go to option B, covering the NBA offseason movement.
The last few summers haven’t disappointed at all. LeBron James made the “Decision”. Dwayne Wade stayed in the NBA city that he has developed into a household name. Kevin Durant made post-modern history by not making a skeptical out of his contract extension by simply mentioning it on Twitter.
The summer of 2012 wasn’t as predominantly awesome as 2012 with the resigning of Wade, James taking his talents to South Beach for the first time and Chris Bosh hoping in his carry-on bag, but adding Ray Allen — no matter how old the man is, he will always be able to shoot the rock — never hurt anyone.
If a general manager or franchise owner then throws in a Rashard Lewis to reunite Allen and Lewis from their days in Seattle like the Heat front brass did, I’d say there is no reason at all to say the Heat didn’t win this offseason.
Let’s face it James, Wade and Bosh are not making small change. With three players making as much money as they are ($52,114,000 of the team’s $82,629,170 payroll for the 2012-13 season), it is almost impossible to build a team around them.
We seen the problems or issues of this very situation last season. Bosh was uncertain with his role and the other two superstars couldn’t beat the Dallas Mavericks in the 2011 NBA Finals by themselves. They needed help.
This past season, they still needed offensive help — Mario Chalmers, Shane Battier and Mike Miller came up huge in the playoffs but struggled to stay consistent in the regular season — but Miami managed to add some defensive stoppers to the team. The aged knees of Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Erick Dampier were replaced by a great interior defender in Joel Anthony; although, he was useless on the other side of the ball.
Battier improved defense on the wing and a healthy Udonis Haslem made for mass improvement for upfront depth and rebounding.
On the other hand, the Heat didn’t have much scoring at all.
Now Allen and Lewis add two lethal snipers from the perimeter, who will make any Miami ball carrier’s eyes light up when they see these two on the other end of their pass. Both of these guys can score 15-plus points on any given night. Besides James, Wade and Bosh, Miami hasn’t had anyone else who can fill up the net like these two can.
Lewis has dropped off from his three consecutive seasons of 20-plus points per game when he was with the Seattle Super Sonics, but his is still a legitimate threat. He isn’t going to be an All-Star on the Heat because that isn’t his role anymore. The Washington Wizards asked him to do too much with a squad with too little. The young players had talent, but no heart, no drive and no discipline what so ever.
There are only a few guys in the NBA I would expect to thrive in this situation — Tim Duncan, Kobe Bryant and James. If you didn’t notice, these are three of the best players to ever play in the league; far advanced from Lewis’ level of a solid player.
If the Miami Heat won a ring without much offense coming from outside the three superstars, then I don’t see why they couldn’t or shouldn’t repeat with them.
Not only can these guys shoot, but Allen is a clutch shooter who looks a buzzer-beater in the face without blinking and Lewis is a lengthy defender who can handle the ball and grab five or six boards a game.
I have no problem saying the Heat are the biggest winners of the offseason. They got two prime time scores who will help in other areas and will still have one of the best defenses in the league.
Also, who do they have to contend with?
The Los Angeles Lakers picked up a fossil in Steve Nash for four draft picks, including two first round selections. Nash is great and Kobe Bryant is 1B behind Michael Jordan when it comes to the best guards of all-time, but the Lakers are old and are not going to maintain a high level of play if Pau Gasol loses his edge — like he does midway through every other season — or Bynum does something stupid.
Plus, LA’s bench is still awful.
The New York Knicks signed Jason Kidd, also super old, and Raymond Felton, who is over weight and doesn’t seem to want to be in the NBA at times.
Houston over spent on potential in Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik. If these two don’t pan out, neither do the Rockets.
The Nets made some key moves by resigning Deron Williams and Gerald Wallace while trading for Joe Johnson. I’m a fan of all three of these guys and think them plus Brook Lopez is a solid four. They will be in the playoffs and could even be a contender for a championship.
However, their bench is weak after MarShon Brooks and would get rolled in a seven-game series against the Heat or a Chicago Bulls team with a healthy Derrick Rose, even though they haven’t done anything other than let last years deep roster thin.
Miami has done a great job of not only enticing players to come to South Beach, but to sign on the dotted line as well. The Heat’s ability to get it done in the offseason will only transfer to impressive achievements such as a second consecutive NBA Championship.
Topics: Andrew Bynum, Brook Lopez, Brooklyn Nets, Chicago Bulls, Chris Bosh, Deron Williams, Derrick Rose, Dwyane Wade, Erick Dampier, Gerald Wallace, Houston Rockets, Jason Kidd, Jeremy Lin, Joe Johnson, Joel Anthony, Kobe Bryant, Lebron James, Los Angeles Lakers, Mario Chalmers, Marshon Brooks, Miami Heat, Mike Miller, Omer Asik, Pau Gasol, Rashard Lewis, Ray Allen, Raymond Felton, Seattle Super Sonics, Shane Battier, Steve Nash, Zydrunas Ilgauskas