The Miami Heat are the favorites to come out of the Eastern Conference and play in the NBA Finals for the third straight year. It is true, they are the best team in the East based on talent, but here is a guarantee that they will not win the title this year and may not even win the East. This is because of these five reasons….
– The Heat are the worst rebounding team in the league. They are simply awful. Their lack of rebounding on defense keeps the ball with the other team and their lack of rebounding on offense takes away more second chance points . It is not hard to see why they are so bad at rebounding, their starting center is Chris Bosh, who is a power forward playing center, who is simply average in that regard. Their starting small forward is their leading rebounder, which is all that needs to be said about the state of their rebounding. Lebron is an incredible rebounder for his position, but he should in no way be leading his team in that category. Their choice to play small ball, may make them better offensively, but hurts them on the glass and in this next category….
2. Post Defense
– Chris Bosh is a soft defender and Udonis Haslem is too small to guard true big men, which means their two best big men cannot keep up with elite centers and bigger power forwards. They have already had problems playing the Pacers and Bulls, whose size really hurt them. If the Heat do win the East, every team they might face in the Finals, other than the Thunder, has at least one elite big men. Chris Anderson could be the wildcard, as he is an active defender and shot-blocker and could be the key to slowing down the big men they will face in the playoffs, but as of now, this is an extremely serious issue.
3. Their Role Players
Besides their superstar trio of James, Wade and Bosh, they are having trouble scoring the ball. Looking at the stats of their supposedly elite role players is very telling. If one or more of their role players do not step up, their chances of winning or nil, regardless of the greatness of their Big Three. The following are the stats of their secondary options, compared to last year, showing their ineffectiveness.
2011-12 Stats: 14.2 points on 45.8 percent shooting
2012-13 Stats: 10.7 points on 45.4 percent shooting
2011-12 Stats: 4.8 points on 38.7 percent shooting
2012-13 Stats: 5.8 points on 37.3 percent shooting
2011-12 Stats: 6 points
2012-13 Stats: 3.7 points
2011-12 Stats: 6.1 points on 45.3 percent three point shooting
2012-13 Stats: 3.7 points on 38.9 percent three point shooting
2011-12 Stats: 9.8 points on 44.8 percent shooting
2012-13 Stats: 7.5 points on 40.7 percent shooting
2011-12 Stats: 6.8 points on 39.3 percent shooting
2012-13 Stats: 4.8 points on 39.7 percent shooting
All six of their best players, other than their Big Three, are having far worse seasons than last year and only Ray Allen has an excuse, as he is a backup for the first time in his career and his minutes are way off from his career averages, but Allen should be scoring more than 10.7 points per game. They won last year, because their role players stepped up in key moments, but they cannot win it all if their role players continue to struggle.
– For every champion, there is a hangover after winning the championship, where they lose focus and sort of coast through parts of the season, simply becoming complacent after winning the ultimate prize. However, this is only supposed to last a few weeks, not half of the season. A team this good should not have the fifth best record in the NBA and should not lose to the likes of the Wizards and Pistons. That lack of focus should have worn away months ago, but the fact that they are still coasting is alarming. They need to shape up now.
Simply, they have gone from 4th to 12th in points allowed per game, which is a big fall for a team that looked so dominant last year. They are also giving up over 4 points more per game than last year, which is unacceptable. This goes back to points 2 and 4, as their post defense has suffered and they are losing focus. Last year Joel Anthony, their best defensive big man, played far more than he has this year and he helped protect the rim down low. His lack of minutes has hurt their post defense, but with Wade, James, Battier and Chalmers, all fantastic defenders, a four point drop is unacceptable. When it comes to focus, they are simply struggling and must get their act together on defense, because they will not win the way they are currently playing.
– These are five very legitimate problems for the Heat and unless they cure most or all of their woes, they will not repeat as champions and there is a very real chance that they could even miss out on the Finals. They may have the best record in the East and are the heavy favorites in their conference, but for a team universally considered to make the Finals, they have a lot of problems that need to be fixed and soon. So for those reasons, the Miami Heat will not repeat as NBA Champions in 2012-13. Sorry Heat fans.