What's on the Menu? "mmmmmm . . . Basketball!!!!"

Monday, October 1, 2012

SDH's 2012/2013 NBA Worst to First Previews and Predictions: 1. Miami Heat

Overall Win/Loss Record :  46-20 first place Southeast division

Last Season’s Rank


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Projected 2012/2013 Finish


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Last season’s Team Statistics and League Rank
  • Points Scored: 98.5 (7th)
  • Points Allowed: 92.5 (4th)
  • Team FG%: .469 (4th)
  • Opponent’s FG%: .437 (9th)
  • Rebounds per game: 41.6 (21st)
  • Opponents rebounds per game: 39.8 (1st)


Returning Individual Statistical Leaders
  • Scoring: Lebron James (27.1)
  • Rebounds per game:   Lebron James (7.9)
  • Minutes per game:  Lebron James (37.5)
  • Assists per game:  Lebron James (6.2)
  • Steals per game:   Lebron James (1.9)
  • Blocked Shots per game:  Joel Anthony (1.3)



Projected Starters Based on Last Season’s Performance, Veteran Seniority and Projected Impact


Key Reserves Based on Last Season’s Performances, Veteran Seniority and Potential Impact.
  1. Ray Allen (SG)
  2. Shane Battier (G/F)
  3. Udonis Haslem (PF)
  4. Norris Cole (PG)
  5. Rashard Lewis  (F)


2012/2013 Projection:  62-20, first place in the Southeast Division—chalk up another NBA Championship ring for this mega power.

Analysis:

In life there are very few guarantees or absolutes, especially in the world of sports; however, there is will be one absolute guarantee this upcoming NBA season and that is the Miami Heat will remain at the top of the league as it has simply no equal.  They already have the Eastern Conference on lockdown as most of the team are either in flux or on the verge of collapsing.  The Heat have virtually no competition in their own Southeast Division as their two biggest rivals, the Atlanta Hawks and Orlando Magic, are going in the opposite direction as they are both headed on the path towards rebuilding.  While at the same time, the Washington Wizards and Charlotte Bobcats, two perennial bottom feeders of the league, are in nowhere near ready to offer Miami any sort of challenge.

The same goes for the two other Eastern Conference divisions, the Atlantic and Central despite the radical improvement of the quality and competition.  The Atlantic division may prove to be the most competitive in the league with four teams capable of winning 45 to 50 games; however, none of those four teams have what it takes to dethrone the Heat.  Despite their delusions to the contrary, neither the Boston Celtics or the New York Knicks have the ability to contain the Heat’s trio of Lebron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh—especially James, who finally utilized his physical and athletic gifts to their full potential last season.  The same goes for the Brooklyn Nets who will be spending close to $200 million for the next four years on the roster it currently has and will probably never be any better than a marginal playoff team.  As, for the Philadelphia 76ers, save for their major acquisition of former Laker big man Andrew Bynum, there is little or nothing else to speak off on that roster. 

The Heat’s strongest rival for the East last season, the Chicago Bulls, have fallen into complete disarray with the loss of the team’s star player, Derrick Rose, for a majority of the season in addition to the team’s butchering of its roster due to financial reasons.  As for the four other teams, two of them—the Detroit Pistons and the Cleveland Cavaliers—will be virtual nonfactors this season while the Milwaukee Bucks will show some signs of improvement, but will remain marginal at best.  The only team that may prove to be a challenge for the Miami Heat will be the Indiana Pacers who almost upset Miami during the Eastern Conference Semi-finals last season.  Indiana had a rather productive offseason add more size and athleticism to match that of the Heat’s—they may be only team capable of dethroning the Heat’s current stranglehold on the Eastern Conference.  Other than Indiana, no other team in the NBA can hold a candle to this Miami Heat team and don’t believe the hype of the Los Angeles Lakers have even the slightest chance of beating Miami either.  

Although the Lakers pulled off two of the biggest offseason moves in NBA history acquiring future Hall of Fame point guard Steve Nash along with the league’s most dominant big man Dwight Howard, they are still not nearly a match for the Heat.  They may have gotten stronger defensively in the paint, but their perimeter defense still remains sketchy as neither Nash or his future backcourt mate Kobe Bryant are known for being defensive stoppers.  Many have the Lakers winning it all, but it is doubtful that they will even manage to win their own division as they share an arena with whom many believe is the second best team in the Western Conference—namely the Los Angeles Clippers.  Even if the Lakers manage to take control of the West and meet Miami in the NBA Finals, they will still be hard pressed to find someone capable of containing Lebron James—a player that is so strong and powerful that he can either blow past his defender or just simply overpower him to the basket.  Last season the Lakers were simply torched in the playoffs by the Oklahoma City Thunder’s trio of Kevin Durant, James Harden and Russell Westbrook.  What makes Laker fans believe that the same won’t happen with the tandem of Lebron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh who proved to be more than the Thunder’s match in last season’s NBA Finals?

It is almost as if the Heat are destined to become the next great championship dynasty on the NBA following the example of the Boston Celtics during the sixties, the Los Angeles Lakers for much of the eighties, and the Michael Jordan led Chicago Bulls of the 1990s.  Never has been a team that has looked as invincible as the Miami Heat coming into this season—there a simply an irresistible force that can be neither stopped nor contained.  With Lebron James finally coming up front to become the undisputed leader of the Heat and with his superstar sidekicks, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh, supporting him, the Heat will be simply unstoppable.  Right now as it stands, the NBA belongs to the Miami Heat, while the rest of the league has been relegated to bystanders.  Sure the Heat may lose the odd game or two; however, short of a calamity, the NBA Championship belongs to Miami and there is no one in this league who is able to say otherwise.