Welcome To Camp: Miami Heat

Championships are a zero-sum game: One team wins, everyone else loses. But how a team gets there can vary significantly, from steamrolling the competition in a series of 10-point blowouts and 4-0 sweeps to scratching through a 16-12 postseason in which, theoretically, the champs get swamped in total points scored.

It’s easy to forget how close the Miami Heat came to not winning the 2012 Larry O’Brien trophy. Power forward Chris Bosh went down at the start of the conference semifinal round against Indiana and Miami, down 2-1 in games, trailed big in Game 4. They faced elimination on the road in Boston in Game 6 of the East finals before winning in seven. In The Finals, they were within a late maybe-foul (LeBron James vs. Kevin Durant) of possibly slipping behind the Thunder 0-2.

Much of that gets forgotten, crowded out by the celebrations and validations in South Florida since June 21. But as the Heat hosts its Media Day Friday and starts practicing Saturday, coach Erik Spoelstra knows his team can win bigger, better, nastier. So (shudder) does the rest of the NBA.

Guy on the spot as camp begins: Ray Allen. What, you were expecting Spoelstra? No way – he’s officially off the hot seat for the first time in two seasons, with the validation and job security that comes with winning an NBA title. Spoelstra is one of only four active coaches (with Rick Carlisle, Doc Rivers and Gregg Popovich) to have done so. Allen has a ring, too, but not with these guys. The NBA’s all-time leader in 3-point field goals has been brought in to provide another lethal option and he snubbed his so-called brothers back in Boston with his surprising, emotions-driven departure. Lots of Celtics and anti-Heat fans, while appreciative of Allen’s career, might be rooting against him in 2012-13.

What the Heat need to work on: Focus. Spoelstra will use all of the traditional coach clichés – heck, he uses more than most – to convince the fans, the media and most of all his players that the regular season matters. But c’mon, those 82 games are to be endured and survived before the Heat gets back to the tournament it wants to win again (and dominate this time). Look at it this way: If Miami were to reach late April healthy and intact, but somehow with the No. 8 seed, who would be favored in the Eastern Conference to reach The Finals? The Heat, of course.

Who could surprise: Josh Harrelson. OK, some Heat insiders don’t even think he’ll make the final roster. Others, however, see the former New York Knicks big man as a solid addition. The 22-year-old and No. 45 pick in the 2011 draft out of Kentucky has the size (6-foot-10, 275 pounds) to help defensively. He also has the 3-point range to draw out big defenders, further spacing the floor for Miami. He’s the sort of player the Heat hasn’t had among its bigs, and even champions like new wrinkles.

30 Comments

  1. Dixon says:

    I can’t believe Spoelstra got a ring as a coach to be honest. If anyone paid attention, the only thing he’s good at is to use big words and cliches to cover up is lack of basketball knowledge. I’ve literally seen him write “FEARLESS” capitalized on the play board in one of the timeouts against the Celtics last season during the playoffs. He’s so lucky to have someone like Lebron to carry him and make him look legit for the past 2 years.

  2. Carissa D says:

    I think that Miami will have no problem winning the championship this year. Don’t get me wrong- last years team was dominant and they did struggle, however with the addition of Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis they will be hard to stop. As long as Spoelstra keeps his act together and works with what he’s got, they should have no problem winning the championship. All the hate seems to pump up the team as a whole, so with their strong talent they should have another championship under their belt this year. GO HEAT!

  3. DHAM says:

    AND WATCH OUT FOR THE KID JARVIS VARNADO HE WAS SIGNED BY THE HEAT 2 YEARS AGO BUT WENT OVERSEAS. HE ALMOST SINGLE HANDEDLY BEAT KENTUCKY A COUPLE OF YEARS BY IN THE SEC CHAMPIONSHIP, HE’S THE ALL-TIME LEADING SHOT BLOCKER IN THE NCAA AND HE’LL BE A KEY PIECE ON THE HEAT BY THE END OF THE YEAR.

  4. DHAM says:

    I AGREE WITH SOMEONE’S POST I HOPE EVERYBODY IS HEALTHY CAUSE I DON’T WANT ANY EXCUSES CAUSES LEBRON AND THE CREW DON’T MAKE THEM!!! TALK IS CHEAP THE HEAT HANDLE THEIR BUSINESS ON THE COURT. LET’S GO GET IT!!!

  5. jay says:

    all team’s it’s all fun lol but miami is going back nothing you can say about that it’s just who they going beat in the at the end La or okc that’s how it is and it’s not all about king as they call him about the team takes a team not one man

  6. Rod says:

    Season tickets in hand!!!! I can’t wait for this!!!!! Let’s go Heat Baby!!!!!!!!!!

  7. LeBoDy says:

    The heat are going to be beast this year, but kinda disappointed that they didn’t do anything in draft or offseason to get a deffensive big man

  8. bOxstOppER says:

    LETS GO HEAT…HOWARD???? KOBE??? THEY ARE NOTHING OF THE MAIMI TEAM……HEAT ARE SO SOLID TEAM…THEY MAKE ALL MEMBERS MORE THAN A BROTHER….NOTHING GONNA STOP THIS TEAM..

    • Peter says:

      Hmm lets see…

      Nash > Chalmers
      Kobe = Wade
      MWP Bosh
      Howard > Better than any center Miami can even dream of throwing out there

      Against LA the only position where Miami has ANY benefit is at SF, and MWP happens to be one of the toughest defenders out there at the SF spot, and can defend Lebron as well as anyone.

      I’m sure as hell NOT a Lakers fan, but I’m not blnded by Bias – they have an incredibly strong team and unless Miami’s (very old and injury prone) bench can somehow dominate LA’s on a consistent basis, they have no hope.

  9. mario says:

    MIAMI HEAT thats the nba champs name. and if the key players stay healthy they will repeat as CHAMPS. theyve got a team that will contend for the title for years to come.

  10. wonderboy says:

    tooooo much excited for this season…Godbless heat.. go for another ring!!!!03

  11. Califan says:

    We’ve seen Miami win nasty (good) during the regular season. Doing it in the post season is when you start to get people to really fear you. That’s not to discredit them in any way either because a 4-1 win vs OKC was very impressive to me.

  12. john says:

    Heat all day baby..repeat champs….LBJ time…LBJ season….

  13. WAD3 says:

    This will be one of the best seasons in a LONG TIME

    Great time for bball fans!!!!!!!!!

  14. Bob M says:

    I like Josh making the roster. He is a banger and is developing offensive skills. If I can be critical of a team that decimated OKC and has James, Wade, Allen on their roster, I still think that interior defense is a big deal when going out west. Harrellson will be good for that task, I thought their 2nd round pick, Justin Hamilton would be a good man, too. We will see when the playoffs start. I’m not betting against a healthy Heat team. Another thought, DaJuan Blair would fit nicely in the post, if the Spurs would let him go cheap. He’s a strong inside player that has high IQ and plays team ball.

    • Mytownla says:

      Josh??? Really??/ if your looking for that scrub to become an impact, then may god help your precious aka soon to fail heat hahahahahahahha

  15. Peter says:

    Cant wait!!!!! finally a full season, Miami with a trophy already, great start!! And hopefully everyone stays healthy…THROUGHOUT THE LEAGUE!!! i dont want no talks of…ohhh they didnt do this cuz he was missing blah blah blah. I wish this year everyone is healthy and the competition is to the MAX!!! But regardless of all that, its time to REHEAT that championship :)
    LETS GO HEAT!!

  16. Give it Up Already says:

    Can we just get Sekou back doing these articles? The constant anti-Miami undertones of this guy’s articles are really just ridiculous.

  17. flowerpot says:

    As a Heat fan I am not thoroughly sold on the coach or the team’s penchant for going small. I am also convinced that without Lebron Miami would be unable to match the play of chicago sans D. Rose. Miami absolutely needs a force at the 5 and they shouldn’t “force” Bosh” to play out of position because over the long haul strength is needed.

  18. zhiggi says:

    Let’s see what Miami does this year. It’s going to be one entertaining year for all to see. Can’t wait to see the culmination of teams as they give everything they got on the floor not to mention competition and the rivalries. O yeah!!!! Let’s get this party started….

    • DJ3 says:

      The way I see it, there are 3 teams (Miami, Oklahoma City, Los Angeles) competing for the championship. Then there are 8 team who (if they get a chance), could oust one of those 3 and potentially compete for a championship. This season will be the best season in years.

    • Peter says:

      Sure, just ignore the Celtics, who came within one quarter of beating the Heat last season and come back youger, deeper, healthier and twice as talented.

      That’s ok, everyone will ignore them until they are right there in the ECF fighting for a spot in the finals :)

  19. King says:

    #LETSGOHEAT No one is gonna stop the Heat with Lebron being healthy! Not Rondo and the celtics, not Durant and the Thunder, Not Kobe and Dwight the Lakers. LEBRON IS TOO TALENTED. REALLY. HE IS KING JAMES.