Had Dwayne Wade been healthy in the playoffs last year, Miami probably would've made it to the Finals. That didn't stop Pat Riley from making a slew of trades, basically eradicating any chemistry that might've been formed over the last few years. Unlike San Antonio the Heat had to pay a pretty penny for these former stars, and thus far it hasn't worked out.The Heat have looked dismal thus far, even without Shaq.
They picked up James Posey, Antoine Walker, Gary Payton and Jason Williams solely for the purpose of backing up Shaq, but to this point they've proved incapable of winning without him. All these players have the one-on-one give-it-to-me-and-I'll-score mentality. Dwyane Wade is a superstar who can't do it by himself. Alonzo Mourning has revived whatever gas is left in the tank to be surprisingly effective.Some players have found their role.
James Posey has resigned to be a 3-pt shooter in attempting to makeup for the loss of Damon Jones. Jason Williams is a completely different PG from the one we saw in Sacramento. With the Kings Williams consistently shot himself out of the game, but since being under Hubie in Memphis he's been more like a conventional Point Guard. Some like Antoine Walker haven't adapted as well; you'll still see him jacking up 30-ft 3's like he did in Dallas. Gary Payton hasn't explored much beyond the 3-pt line this year.
Shaquille O'Neal is set to be back by Sunday vs. the Wizards. The core of the Heat remains the same: they're still allowing teams to score only 93.8 PPG, they still get to the foul-line, now they just need O'Neal. His presence alone can carry a one-man team, so the Heat's record should increase substantially. How long it will take him to adapt to his new teammates is another story.
Pat Riley should've realized that not everyone on a team has to be a superstar. Two superstars and other contributors who have their roles works just as well, but asking former highly paid showboats to accept a team concept is ludicrous. Damon Jones was just a set-shot 3-pt shooter, and that's all you asked of him. Antoine Walker will go off on his own whether you ask him or not. When Shaq was injured in the playoffs last year, he missed the entire series against the Wizards.
But his teammates were able to carry the load and beat a quality team. For them to be 10-10 at this point is distressing since they shouldn't have to rely so heavily on Shaq. They are still a top 3 team in the East, but to what extent?..We specialize in writing betting articles on baseball and other sports.
By: David Pincus