The “Big 3” welcome rally fiasco seems like decades ago right now. The one where LeBron James basically declared that the Miami Heat were going to go down as the best team in NBA history, and for that he was the punch line for numerous jokes. Well he is the one laughing now because the Heat are eyeing an unprecedented 3-peat, which will put them down as a dynasty in the NBA record books.
Just as it seemed like the Heat were wrapping up their championship parade, NBA Training Camp begins the first day of October. Of course, as one can imagine, all eyes are on the most scrutinized team in sports, and for good reason. The Heat are seeking their 4th straight NBA Finals appearance, and their 3rd straight NBA Championship. This is bad news for the rest of the NBA as the Heat are not still celebrating last season’s Championship, however, they are hungrier for another one.
It was obvious to tell this by how the players talked and acted during media day. After dismissing all the questions about them breaking up after this season, they talked and acted like they belong at the top of the NBA, which they are by an overwhelming margin. This is not to say that they were being cocky, however, they were confident and all business at the podium.
In the opinions of many NBA experts, this is the Heat’s Championship to lose. Let’s start with the fact that they have the best basketball player in the world, who just happens to be in the prime of his career. There is no denying that James can do absolutely everything that a basketball player could possibly do on the floor. He has always been a tremendous talent, but now he has worked on his game and listened to the advice of others to add to the parts of his game that were lacking. These parts are his shot, and his post moves.
James was always known as more of an athlete than a jump shooter, but over his career, his shot has gotten a significant amount better. James has added a solid jump shot off the dribble, as well as the 3-pointer. This now forces defenders to crowd him at all times, giving him the opportunity to blow by them and take it to the cup if he pleases. On top of that, his free throw percentage has gone up the past few seasons, making it a very difficult scenario during the final seconds of the game for defenders when he is driving full force at them.
James has also taken the advice of many former big men in the game, worked with them, and developed a solid post game. The man is an absolute tank. Combining his size with post moves makes him an animal down low. It is going to be scary to see what this man will do this season with all these tools.
Let’s go to the next member of the “Big 3”, and that is Dwayne Wade. What did Wade do to improve this offseason? He did the thing that he needed absolutely most, and that is to rest. Wade is still a superstar, and one of the top players in the NBA. His problem was his knees, and they never really seemed to be even close to 100% last season. So he took a couple months off and recently returned to the gym and he said that he is feeling great.
Now to the almost forgotten member of the “Big 3”, Chris Bosh. Bosh has been heavily scrutinized while a member of the Miami Heat, and he is out there with something to prove this season. Bosh has struggled scoring at times, and that is what most people judge him on, which is not exactly fair. The man is a great rebounder and as everyone saw in the postseason, he can block shots as well. Bosh said that he worked on his post moves and his shot this offseason, and feels like he is due for a career season.
Not to mention players like Ray Allen and Mario Chalmers, this team is locked and loaded for another NBA Championship. Now it is up to them to prove that they can actually be what they set out to be, and that is a dynasty. There are no real excuses here. For the most part, every player should be 100% healthy to start the season. Erik Spoelstra just signed a contract extension, so he is locked up for seasons to come. But for the most part, they have the best basketball player in the world, and he has pieces around him. There are absolutely no excuses, and it is up to the Heat to get the job done once again.