Thursday, July 15, 2010

How to Beat the Heat

No, I'm not talking about the weather, I'm talking about the newest "big three" down in South Beach. From the day that " The Decision" was made by LeBron James to join Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh, every sports buff's mind has been running a mile a minute, thinking about all the different problems the All-Star trio presents to opposing teams. My mind, however, has been working day in and day out, figuring out ways that the opposing teams can stop LeBron, D-Wade and Chris Bosh.

One might think that there is absolutely no way to stop this three-headed-monster, but those people aren't looking at the big picture. The Heat, now with three players taking up nearly 55 million dollars of the franchises money, now have minimal money to fill out the rest of their roster. As of today, the Heat have signed G/F Mike Miller, F Udonis Haslem and are closing in on a deal for C Zydrunas Ilgauskis, leaving their roster looking as follows:
PG - Mario Chalmers
SG - Dwayne Wade
SF - LeBron James
PF - Chris Bosh
C - Zydrunas Ilgauskis
Mike Miller
Udonis Haslem
Dexter Pittman (Rookie)
Da'Sean Butler (Rookie)
Jarvis Varnado (Rookie)
*All rookies were Second round draft picks by the Heat

So I hope that every NBA General Manager and Coaching Staff is paying attention, because I am going to describe a few ways to put the fire out down in Miami.

1. Pack in your defense, maybe even play a zone.
I know this may sound crazy, but it would work. A zone defense is designed to be effective against a team who looks to attack the basket off the dribble, rather than beat you with the outside shot. Take a look at LeBron,Wade and Bosh, they are all guys who look to drive to the basket and finish with authority, and none of them are great outside shooters. I understand these guys are NBA players, but for a team who doesn't match up against the Heat as well as the Lakers or Celtics do, a zone defense would be a great option to attempt to stay in the game.

2. If you're going to play man defense, send smart double teams.
This seems like an easy concept to understand, but a lot of times you will find yourself watching a game and wonder why a defender left Kobe Bryant to double team Josh Powell on the block. Sending smart double teams means double off the guy who is least likely to hurt you offensively, and in this case, it means anyone besides LeBron, Wade or Bosh; if you're going to leave any of those three, leave Bosh. Look for teams to use their Point Guard to double Wade or LeBron in an attempt to get the ball out of their hands.

3. Let Bosh get his.
If one guy is gonna beat you, let it be Bosh. He hasn't shown the ability in the past to carry a team by himself, so make him prove that he can take over the game down the stretch. Bosh is a fantastic player, but he doesn't have the same ability that James or Wade have in truly dominating a game. So if one of the big three is gonna get off, let it be Bosh, because his impact will not be as detrimental to the outcome of the game.

4. Slow down the game, and get high percentage shots.
No one is sure what style of play this team is going to adapt, but I assume it will be a wannabe Showtime offense. If that is the case, opposing teams need to prepare and execute an effective and methodical half court offense. High percentage shots will be key, and I think that there will be plenty of them to go around. LeBron is a First Team All-NBA defensive player, but if you look down the entire roster, there are a lot of players that can be exposed on the defensive end. By slowing down the game and getting high percentage shots, it will limit the amount of fast break opportunities that I feel the Heat will live off of.

5. Take advantage of the Heat's bench.
I know that these three guys are in tremendous shape, but they do need to rest; and when they do, opposing teams need to capitalize on the weak Miami bench. Throughout the NBA season, you will hear a lot of talk about how a strong bench can make or break a team, and as of now, the Heat hardly even have one. When the roster is filled out, Miami will have one of the weakest benches in the league, and that could spell trouble for all they hype surrounding this team.

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