Take Five

    The Miami Heat have several important things going for them which will help come playoff time. First, they have not one, but two superstars. Make no mistake, Chris Bosh is a very important piece of the puzzle, but he's no superstar. Dwayne Wade and LeBron James however, are both the type of player to carry a team in the playoffs. Not only do they have the talent, they've both been to the finals: James with the Cavs and Wade helped lead The Heat to their only title.

    This team is built along similar lines to the Phil Jackson coached Chicago Bulls. When Jackson's Bulls started winning championships, the key players were Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and Horace Grant (later replaced with Dennis Rodman.) The center position was usually a barely relevant 7-footer like Bill Cartwright and the point guard was usually more of a shooter than a ball handler, like Steve Kerr or BJ Armstrong. The ball handling and distribution was taken care of by Jordan and Pippen. Pippen was actually more of a Point Forward like James is for The Heat.

    Like Jordan and Pippen, Wade and James do most of the ball handling and scoring for their team. Watching them work together on the fast break is very reminiscent of the Bulls' stars. They are probably the best fast break duo since the Bulls' tandem. James frequently plays the point ala Pippen while deferring to Wade to be the primary scorer like Jordan was for the Bulls. Wade may not be as good as Jordan, but LeBron is better than Pippen was and Bosh is definitely better than Grant and certainly a better scorer than Rodman.

    Another key way they're like Jackson's Bulls is that they're committed to defense.  The Heat are only giving up 94 points a game, the kind of figure that Championship teams usually feature. Not all of the Heat are defensive specialists, but with James and Wade flying around the court helping out, they can plug lots of holes. Coach Erik Spoelstra even gave his players free rein to create on offense as a reward when they force a turnover. With creative offensive players like James and Wade, this isn't much of a sacrifice for Spoelstra. While Spoelstra is no Phil Jackson, he does have the legendary Pat Riley backing him up, if the coach needs some coaching.

   The biggest key to the Heat's postseason success may be the supporting cast. If Mike Miller can get/stay healthy and they manage to sign Mike Bibby, then the choices for opposing defenses may just become too overwhelming. Currently the Heat tend to depend on the Big Three too much for their scoring. The other big question will be can The Heat figure out how to beat The Celtics, the one team that really seems to have their number so far.

   I might be a season too early, but I like their chances to get their chemistry sufficiently sorted out in time to make a run to the Finals. Either way, it should be fun to watch and see.

March 3, 2011  03:13 PM ET

Okay, in seeing the end of the Heat-Knicks game, the Heat are not ready to take the next step yet. Dwayne Wade is the second best finisher in basketball. He should have gotten the ball at the end of that game. I don't know how Mike Bibby is going to help Miami. But it should be interesting. The Heat do not match up well with either Orlando or Boston even with Mike at the point. But it will be interesting to see come playoff time.

March 3, 2011  10:31 PM ET

Mike Bibby will finally give them a point guard with good point guard skills. He's also hitting over 43% of his threes this season, which will help keep the big 3 from being doubled.

March 4, 2011  06:00 PM ET

Mike Bibby will finally give them a point guard with good point guard skills. He's also hitting over 43% of his threes this season, which will help keep the big 3 from being doubled.

I don't see the Heat winning it all this season. Next season maybe. But not this season. When they get it right no one will stop them though. But the are a few players and seasoning away from being the dominate force in the NBA.

March 5, 2011  01:14 PM ET

Their struggles this week would seem to back you up. :)


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