Believe it or not, the NBA's regular season is this week. To get you ready, Crossover Chronicles will be profiling a team each day for the next few weeks. This week is the Southeast Division. Today is the Miami Heat.
2011-12 Record: 46-20, NBA Champions
Key Losses: Ronny Turiaf (signed with L.A. Clippers), Eddy Curry (signed with Dallas), Juwan Howard (free agent)
Key Acquisitions: Ray Allen (signed from Boston), Rashard Lewis (signed from New Orleans), Josh Harrellson (signed from New York)
|Mario Chalmers||Dwyane Wade||LeBron James||Shane Battier||Chris Bosh|
|Norris Cole||Ray Allen||Rashard Lewis||Udonis Haslem||Joel Anthony|
|Terrel Harris||James Jones||Mike Miller||Josh Harrellson||Dexter Pittman|
When you are the champions. Life is always very good.
The Heat are the champions and had very little turnover on their roster. LeBron James is king of the world. Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh validated the Big Three and their moves. Now everyone wants in as the Heat go for not six, not seven, but their second championship.
This is an incredibly talented roster that went through a lot of hard times together and figured out a way to win. Now with the weight of the world off their shoulders, this team could actually become more dangerous. Gulp.
Most championship teams winning their first title do not have quite the same experience as Miami. The Heat had the targets on their backs usually reserved for champions from the moment they came together. They have been living under immense pressure for a long long time already. There should be no ill effects from the added pressure of repeating.
Then you can argue that the Heat got better in adding sharpshooters in Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis, two players with deep playoff experience and the desire to win while accepting lesser roles on the team.
Miami is not going away any time soon and should be fine as the favorites to win it again.
The Heat still have a center problem if it even is one. LeBron James' versatility allows him to play any position and support in the rebounding effort so that Miami only needs to play one true post player at any time. But with the Lakers doubling down on centers in acquiring Dwight Howard and the Oklahoma City Thunder remaining a big team, it seems like matchup issues at center will remain a question mark.
Remember the Magic always gave the Heat trouble because of Dwight Howard's mere presence on the defensive end of the floor. This is not anything new. Now he has a more talented cast around him should the Heat and Lakers meet in the Finals. This could eventually cause problems for Miami.
Against the East, which lacks any sizeable teams now, lining Chris Bosh at center with James or Shane Battier at power forward will be fine to space the floor. But the Playoffs, when the game slows down and it becomes more about grit and the "dirty" plays, could see Miami's exposure at center come to light.
Bosh struggles defensively against the best offensive centers in the league. Udonis Haslem is too small to tend the spot for long. And nobody quite knows what you can get out of the duo of Joel Anthony and Dexter Pittman. Not a lot of offense obviously.
It is hard to find problems with this Heat roster. But if there is one… center is where it is.
There is not much ugly with the Heat. This team is on top of the world and there is little reason to believe they will get knocked off. Maybe the only ugly thing is the rumors about 2014 when the three superfriends become free agents.
Perhaps it is the news media trying to wriggle some intrigue, but now that the team has won a title and seems on its way to competing for a second, what is to stop these guys from saying: "OK, we have done it together, let's do it on our own now." Iron Man still has his own battles even after The Avengers, right?
It will be interesting to see how that plays out. That is more of a storm cloud on the horizon though than something the team is worried about now. Right now, it is about fitting everyone in and going for a repeate title performance.
Have thoughts or predictions on the Heat? Leave them in the comments below or drop us a line @CrossoverNBA on Twitter or join the discussion by using the hashtag #HeatDay. We will be back with a closer look at the Heat throughout the day.