Miami Heat Confidence Meter: 10.0 (CHAMPIONS!)
• No sense in breaking down the game. Lets’ break down this team instead. They are after all, CHAMPIONS.
• Some doubted the health of a Mike Miller, and sure enough, he found it within himself to be healthy enough to have the performance he had (7-of-8 from three) in the close out game of the NBA Finals. When signed, his value was as an outlet to the Big Three. That Miller also contributed rebounding was a bonus, but his value as a space creator is obvious. His health may prevent him from fulfilling his promise and his contract. But what a going away party this was, if indeed his career is over.
• Roster construction was a hot topic among many, and a lot of credit has to go to Coach Erik Spoelstra for insisting on bringing the team to the newest age of NBA basketball. His insistence on playing with speed and his move of Chris Bosh to the Center spot was pivotal. It meant that the Heat was going to use more wing players instead of a steady rotation of bigs. Shane Battier as a signing this year began with mixed results as he shot the poorest percentage of his career from the field. What cannot be questioned was his invaluable contributions on defense and his play in the NBA Finals, which was stellar.
• The growth of Mario Chalmers this year was a huge key. He was well on his way to, at the very least, a mention as NBA’s most improved player till he slumped after the all-star break. RIO has developed into a reliable member of the starting unit, and going forward, we can expect very big things. Udonis Haslem had severe struggles with his shot this year, but one thing that he never struggled with was his desire and heart. On the court, UD is as solid as you can be on defense. His nose for the ball as a rebounder is still valuable going forward.
• When Chris Bosh got injured in Game 1 of the Pacers series, it could have been the death of this Heat season. The Heat instead adapted and overcame. They learned to play without him and ultimately disposed of Indiana and then held off the Boston Celtics long enough for Bosh to return and win the Eastern Conference. Chris Bosh facilitates so much that it takes him not being there to see what his contributions are.
• Dwyane Wade while injured, still managed to be as effective as any Shooting Guard in the NBA. It takes the best player in the world to overshadow D-Wade’s consistent contributions. His efficiency may have been down, but not many players “think” the game like Wade does. His effort defensively is contagious and there are not many with more will than the Heat’s Co-Captain. Now a two-time champion, D-Wade can enter conversations as one of the best Shooting Guards in NBA history. Wade is in the legacy building stage of his career. And with a off-season of work on his body, I expect him to return to his very best.
• LeBron James. The best player in the world. The most intelligent player in the world. The most physically gifted and exciting player in the game is a joy to watch. He is in that rare air of athlete that you never question, because you know he controls the outcome with his shear effort and will. The Late Great Jim Mandich once said this of Dan Marino, and I will echo and adapt it for LeBron James. “What a Joy it has been to watch that man play (Basketball).”
The Heat will be partying their asses off till the Parade Monday. Parade kicks off Monday Morning.