The upcoming NBA season is one of the most anticipated in history due in large part to the new look Miami Heat. Boasting a roster of arguably three of the top five players in the league in LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, the Heat are favored to win the Larry O’Brien trophy by many.
There are still 82 regular season games to play and as the hamstring injury suffered by Dwyane Wade in the preseason opener shows that anything can happen (right, Carlos Boozer?). While Wade will make a full recovery before Miami opens the NBA season on October 26th against Shaq and the most recent big 3 in Boston, below are 5 reasons the Heat will not hoist the gold basketball at the end of the 2010-2011 season.
5 – Erik Spoelstra is coach
Let’s be honest here. Pat Riley (and all the slick hair, championship pedigree, and showtime glory that comes with him) is the reason LeBron James took his talents to South Beach. The last time the Heat won the title in 2006, Pat Riley was on the sidelines and a still serviceable Shaquille O’Neal (another Riley signing) was in the pivot. If you remember once Shaq signed in 2004, Riley “Deebo’ed” the coaching reins from another assistant turned coach Stan Van Gundy. Erik Spoelstra took over the job once Shaq rolled out of town and the team became a joke again. Even though everyone is saying the right things in defense of the current head coach, you better believe if this super team with the plethora of nicknames gets off to a slow start (read: three game losing streak) expect to see Riles back on the sidelines in a hurry.
4 – Chemistry
Although it is a given that whenever players are put together for the first time there will be an adjustment period, these aren’t just any players. The “New Big Three” of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh are not only three of the top ten players in the league they were also, in Bosh and James’ case, the superstar of their old teams. These three are used to having the ball in their hands. They will have to figure out who will take the last shot and who will step up in times of adversity, etc. Add to that the twelve other players they threw the roster together with and it may take some time to get the ball rolling.
3 – Pressure
The fallout from LeBron’s “Decision” has been swift. His good guy image took a significant hit for the way he left Cleveland and teaming up with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh means anything less than an appearance in the NBA Finals would be a disappointment. With former NBA coach and ESPN/ABC analyst Jeff Van Gundy stating on record that this team will surpass the 72 win season of the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls, to say expectations are high would be an understatement.
2 – The Other NBA Teams
Forget about the other teams that were left at the altar by LeBron James (Knicks, Nets, Bulls, Clippers, and Cavaliers) Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard has already publicly disparaged the “other” Florida NBA team in the press as overhyped. With the Miami Heat already being given the NBA title by many before the season starts, the other 385 NBA players are not happy with the notion that they are suiting up to lose. Therefore expect every team that plays the Heat this season to play their best game in hopes of derailing the South Beach juggernaut. And that is just the regular season. The playoffs are another animal entirely.
1 – Kobe
His team won the NBA championship last season and his focus is on a repeat three peat, a feat that would equal his idol Michael Jordan. Expecting a showdown with LeBron’s Cavs the last two seasons, Kobe will not just hand the title over to the Heat without a fight. Like Jordan, Kobe thrives off challenges and all the hype surrounding “Miami Thrice” will only fuel his fire.