Surprising enough, this is not a column bashing LeBron James. I am at peace with him moving on. I am still rooting against him, not because of my hatred for him, but because I would love to see Dan Gilbert’s guarantee come to fruition. I can watch the Heat, without having hate in my heart or wishing ill will on anyone. I have always understood his reasons for leaving and never blamed him, but the way he did it was nothing short of brutal. To be truthfully honest, no matter how he did it, it wasn’t going to go over well and he knew that. But like I said this is not an anti-LeBron thing. I just wanted to point out my stance on him.
LBJ is having the same problems in Miami that he had in Cleveland. And I’m not talking about him disappearing in fourth quarters or passing off the “big” shot. Lebron is the best player of this generation and he would be a top three player in likely any other generation. He makes everyone else around him better and is the ultimate team player. The problem is he has been surrounded with terrible supporting casts virtually his entire career. I understand that he has never played with guys like Wade and Bosh. I get that. But outside of those three, that team is horrendous. There are multiple players who play significantly on that team that would not see minutes on likely 15 to 20 other teams in the NBA.
While LeBron never had a running mate in Cleveland, his supporting staff was built to be successful on his style of play. That leaves one single point of failure, if he gets hurt, has a bad game or leaves via free-agency there is nothing to fall back on. Now LeBron has that running mate, two of them actually. The problem is those three are the entire team. There isn’t a single other player on that team that you can depend on. While the Heat may still be able to get by Indiana without Bosh, I can’t see them getting much farther.
It’s funny; the least respected of “The Big Three” is possibly the single player that the Heat can’t afford to lose. The Heat can win without Lebron, as long as they have Wade and Bosh. The same goes for if Wade is out. But if Bosh is out longterm, the Heat are really going to have to work to win this series. He provides a presence on the inside and is able to space out the floor. Without him, the Heat don’t have a single player that can do that. Not to mention, LeBron now has to guard David West which is going to really take a toll on him physically.
If all three are healthy, they can get by the Pacers, Sixers, Clippers and probably the Lakers. They will struggle, but could possibly get by Boston and maybe the Spurs. There is no way that these three players alone can beat Oklahoma City. They have to find someone on that team that has something left in the tank and can step up to help lead them to a title. Just like in Cleveland, it’s the same old issue. Although he may have true running mates his role players don’t have what it takes to make it happen. In Cleveland, he didn’t have the running mate, but he had role players who were good enough to keep the team competitive. But when time came for someone to step up, you were never sure who you could depend on.
It is not known how long Bosh is out, luckily the NBA playoffs are something like six months long, so Bosh has plenty of time to get healthy. If Bosh cannot return for this series, I think the Heat are in serious trouble. The balance of this series depends heavily on game 3. If the Pacers return to Indianapolis and play like they have at home all year and contain the Bosh-less Heat, I think the Pacers take the series in 6. If they Heat go to Indy and find a way to win game 3, I think they take the series in 7. Regardless, if they run into Boston, San Antonio or OKC without Bosh, I really don’t see how they can win. LeBron and Wade are two of the best players in the world, but they can’t do it alone.