Sunday, October 5, 2008

Still No Heat On South Beach

Don't expect things to Heat up anytime soon in Miami.

Last year, the Heat were a woeful 15-67. Two seasons prior and Miami was NBA champion. Last year was a good, old-fashioned tanking by the Heat. For a Pat Riley led team, it was a surprise. His teams never used to quit in the past but that all changed last season.

They had some injuries - but all teams do - so that's no excuse. Phoenix Suns rookie GM Steve Kerr did throw Miami a lifeline when he bailed them out of Shaq's monsterous $40million contract and in return, gave up the springy Shawn Marion-and-only-a-year-remaining-on-his-contract.

Riley must have had some incriminating photo's of Kerr.

As active and energetic as Marion is, his contract was what Miami was after. The Matrix makes the most of his talents. Considering he can't create his own shot, he's averaged a tidy 18ppg for his career. Most of those points came from hussle on the offensive glass through tip-ins, alley-oops & fast-breaks, with a few, wide-open 3's thrown in.

But Miami need someone who can take the er, heat of star Dwayne Wade. They need a guy who can score and give D-Wade support at the offensive end.

They drafted Kansas St big-man Michael Beasley 2nd overall last June. Riley wasn't sold on Beasley, but neither could he pass him up. Beasley should be solid this year, but he can't be expected in his rookie season to be consistent or to instantly become a consistent scoring threat.

The Heat also took PG Mario Chalmers. Again, he should produce solid numbers in a few years time, but this year he'll struggle for the consistency that all rookies do.

If that wasn't enough, Miami then signed journeyman C Jamaal Magloire. Magloire's career has come to a halt. From being an All-Star in 2004, Magloire was just hoping any team signed him. He got his wish with the Heat. He'll have no significant impact this year or ever again in the NBA.

To top it all off, Pat Riley has handed over the coaching reigns to former fitness trainer - Erik Spoelstra. Who ? I say again - Erik Spoelstra. Even Larry Brown or Isiah Thomas would have been a better option for the Heat.

A lot of talk is about the 2010 year of free agency when LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Wade are all eligible to sign elsewhere. Riley has no doubt got his eye on trying to grab James or Bosh then but he might be forgetting that Wade might have had enough of losing by then and decide to bolt somewhere else himself.

Whatever happens in two years time, the Heat are going to struggle again this year. Wade showed during the Olympics that he looks healthy, but his body is fragile and it won't last long if he has to carry Miami all season.

Wade does get a free ride from the refs, but he'll need his team mates to help him if Miami is to get back to the playoffs, but it won't happen this season.

As much fun as it must be to play in a city like Miami, losing still sucks and Miami is going to do plenty of that this year.

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