Posts Tagged ‘heat’

The Miami Heat Are Quickly Becoming the Bizarro NBA Team

July 17th, 2010

When ESPN columnist Bill Simmons wrote The Book of Basketball  he referenced the idea of the Secret, a team first mentality that helped players succeed. Few players have fully grasped the concept of the Secret, but all indications point towards a successful understanding of the concept by the new members of the Miami Heat.

This league that so many people have come to know and love has been traveling down the path towards selfishness for a long time.

Players are obsessed with being the focal point of a team, a me-first attitude that goes directly against every fiber of the Secret’s being.

Players want to make as much money as possible, deserting better teams, friends, and fans alike in the elusive pursuit of what was once called the “root of all evil.”

Lastly, players have turned the game into an offensive showcase of sorts; most players throw the word defense out of the dictionary. Defense isn’t as glamorous and self-serving as offense and thus defensive stoppers like Ron Artest have become few and far between.

While most of the league is relentlessly hurtling down that road to a me-first, money-first, offense-only destination, the Miami Heat are somehow using their bright red jerseys to become a traffic light in that road.

You could say that they have become the Bizarro NBA team. 

Let’s take a look at some things that have happened so far this offseason pertaining to NBA fans’ newest favorite team to hate.

Dwyane Wade actively recruited players to his team and those players weren’t just role players: they were fellow All Stars, one of whom won the MVP award last season.

Those two players, Chris Bosh and LeBron James, suppressed their egos and signed with the Heat, putting aside their need to be alone in the spotlight for a chance to win multiple championships.

All three of the aforementioned players took significantly less money. Therefore their new—or in Wade’s case, old—team would be able to sign better players than originally expected.

Next, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Mike Miller, and Udonis Haslem all signed with the Heat for less money than most expected to make room for even more players.

Everyone on the team is grasping the Secret.

Finally, with the offensive firepower on the court, James, Bosh, and Wade alike won’t have to expend quite as much energy. Previously on that side of the court they were carrying their teams on their backs with their scoring prowess. They can actually use some of that extra energy to be defensive stoppers.

We haven’t seen a team like this in quite some time. When the Celtics put together their Big Three, the egos all clashed at first. Up through the 2010 Playoffs, the Big Three still seemed resentful of the newest great player, Rajon Rondo.

It hasn’t been like that in South Beach yet.

Isn’t it great?

Chicago Jazz? Bulls Add Three Former Utah Jazz Players This Offseason

July 17th, 2010

Heading into the offseason, the Bulls, along with multiple other NBA teams, were looking to add at least one top-tier free agent. LeBron, Wade, or Bosh were the ones in mind. Those three, of course, decided to go play with each other in Miami.

The Heat signed Wade and Bosh first. Right when they did that, the Bulls knew they needed to go after one of the other big free agents right away. Not long after the Heat signed Wade and Bosh, Carlos Boozer signed a contract with the Bulls.

The Bulls have searched for a couple of years for an inside scorer. They have finally landed one in Boozer, who averaged 19.5 points on 56.2 percent shooting to go with 11.2 rebounds for Utah last season. Boozer spent the past six seasons with the Jazz.
This is a major pick-up for the Bulls. It makes them so much more of a threat this season, and for seasons to come.
After LeBron decided to play with the Heat, the Bulls, along with other teams, needed to add some of the mid-level free agents.
The Bulls went after and signed guard/forward Kyle Korver. Last season, the Bulls ranked 28th in three-point percentage (33.0) and 29th in three-pointers made (352). Korver helps address both of those issues: He's a career 41 percent shooter from long range, and about half of his career field goals are threes.
He made an outstanding 59 of 110 (53.6 percent) from distance in 52 games with the Jazz last season. Korver was the second Utah Jazz player signed by the Bulls this offseason.
But there was more to come.
The Bulls also signed J.J. Redick to an offer sheet, which the Magic matched. The Bulls, once again, needed to go after another free agent. They quickly signed guard Ronnie Brewer, another former Utah Jazz player, the third they have signed already this offseason.
Brewer, a strong defender in the backcourt, will help replace some of what the Bulls lost when they traded Kirk Hinrich to Washington in a pre-draft salary dump.
I just thought it was funny that the Bulls signed almost one quarter of the Utah Jazz team from last season. Hopefully, you find the same humor in this that I do.

Four Teams That Will Challenge The Heat For The Eastern Conference Title

July 17th, 2010
The Miami Heat shocked the world by acquiring the three prized free agents of this highly anticipated free agent class. By acquiring LeBron James and Chris Bosh, and resigning Dwyane Wade, the Heat become the immediate favorites to win the title. While the Heat have a very good chance at winning the NBA title, it’s not going to be easy as they have teams in the west such as the Lakers and Thunder. They can only worry about the teams in the west if they make it out of the east, and the teams that will be featured on this slideshow will make the Heat getting to the finals an extremely tough task.

Begin Slideshow

NBA Summer League: Battle of the Titans in Miami

July 17th, 2010

The Miami Heat organization has made more headlines than any other team this offseason. Apparently, their summer league squad is trying to add its own two cents.

Of the many ongoing battles for training camp invites, none is bigger and more apparent than the one between two rookie 300-pound titans.

Apparently, second-round draft selection Dexter Pittman isn't a lock at securing a roster position after all. He's being pushed by Garret Siler, another rookie hopeful.


Dexter Pittman

The Miami Heat selected Dexter Pittman at No. 32 in the NBA draft. Most Miami Heat fans and sports analysts thought they had a steal of a pick. A few mock drafts had Pittman as a late first-round talent—so did I.

In Pittman, the Heat acquired a 6'10" and 303 lb mammoth of a man who was credited with having the biggest hands in the draft (10.5 inches.) He also has a 7'6" wing span.

Many regarded Pittman as a prospect with soft hands, shocking speed and quickness, and a solid player with back-to-the-basket post ability. He was billed as being a mature player that would be ready to contribute to a Miami Heat roster in need of size and bulk.

Well, they got the size and athletic ability to show up.

However, the effort and statistics haven't materialized to justify the pick. He has struggled to do the things that were supposed to be his strengths. Suddenly, his prospects for making the Heat roster are looking dim.

Some have attributed his struggles to the recent death of his 15-year-old brother, who was killed by a gun shot on May 15 in Houston.

Nevertheless, things aren't looking so well for Pittman. He hasn't rebounded well (seven in two games) or finished his looks around the basket (2-for-10 in two games). The only aspect of his game that has been impressive is his shot-blocking ability. He has four blocks in two games played.

Complete stats from summer league


Garret Siler

Garret Siler is a 23-year-old that went undrafted in last summers' NBA draft. Back then, he was a 7'0", 303 lb unknown from Augusta State University, a Division II school.

When he entered the draft, it was thought that Siler was nothing more than a massive body with a lot of raw potential. He showed a soft touch in workouts and an ability to draw fouls. But NBA teams took notice of his extremely high field goal percentage (72%) in his junior season. He also lead his club to back-to-back 20-win seasons.

Siler participated in last years' summer league with the Indiana Pacers but eventually didn't make the club's final roster. His failure to make the roster were largely because of his limited athleticism and being overweight.

Siler would be drafted by the Utah Flash in the August 2009 Developmental League draft. However, after only two games with the team, Siler would pack up to take his show on the road.

His destination was China.

Siler landed a roster spot on the Shanghai Sharks, a team credited with the development of Houston Rockets' center Yao Ming. Yao Ming should be credited for much of Siler's development, working with him on getting in shape and teaching him different aspects of the game.  

While working with Yao, Siler would shed 27 lbs off his 303 lb frame. After dropping down to 276 lbs in a period of four months, the NBA once again came calling. After leading the Sharks to the semi-finals, the Atlanta Hawks extended an offer to him to come work out.

Atlanta eventually passed on him but New Jersey offered him a roster spot. Siler would play four games for their summer league club and shoot a whopping 83% from the field. Safe to say, the Heat took notice as they've given him a chance to try out. 


Think Different

Garret Siler wasn't on the radars of any Heat fans the last I checked—he sure wasn't on mine. I was good as sold on Pittman being the future for the Heat at the center position.

Siler's past two summer league games for the Heat have made me think differently.

It's clear that Silers' year overseas has matured him as a player. The guy has made play after play when given the chance to play consistent minutes. In three games, he's shooting 77% from the field and averaging five rebounds and eight points.

He's slow but gets up the court quicker than one would think. He's shown some explosiveness in getting off his feet and he's rebounded well on both ends of the floor and has been a pleasant surprise in the individual and help defense department.

It'll be interesting to see what he does tonight after putting up 15 points and seven rebounds in his last outing.

Complete Summer League stats

I doubt the Heat are ready to give up on Dexter Pittman this early in the summer. Being a second-round draft pick, they can hold on to his rights and simply ship him overseas for a year of development. That might not be what Heat fans want to hear but it's shaping up to be the most likely outcome.

What will be more interesting than the Pittman situation is what the Miami Heat decide to do in regards to Garret Siler. He's clearly earned a invitation to the team's training camp. The question remains as to whether they extend an offer. 

Heat fans should hope so.


Red Diesel: Could Shaquille O’Neal Be a Chicago Bull?

July 17th, 2010

One thing is certain about future Hall of Famer Shaquille O'Neal: he won't be a Cleveland Cavalier next season. The question then becomes what team he will play for next season, since we know he won't retire.

The Celtics, Hawks, Heat, and several other teams have been thrown about as possible destinations. However, there is one that has not been brought up that I think could be a decent fit: the Chicago Bulls.

There are three criteria that seem to fit into Shaq becoming part of a team, for better or worse.

First, the young, short leader; whether Shaq is the star or the sidekick does not matter. On the Magic, he had Penny Hardaway; the Lakers, Kobe; the Heat, D-Wade; the Suns, Steve Nash; and the Cavs, LeBron; though the last one doesn't fit in as well. Chicago has Derrick Rose, so this fits.

Second, he needs to play with a more offensive-based big men so he can focus on being a big body. On the Heat, he was working alongside Alonzo Mourning, the Suns had Amare Stoudamire, and the Cavs had Zydrunas Ilgauskas. The Bulls have Joakim Noah, who is coming into his own as a reliable player.

Third, they have to be a one or two pieces away from a title, preferably that piece being Shaq. It worked in Los Angeles, in Miami, and I'm sure he'd want to end his career with a 50 percent success rate at least. With the addition of Carlos Boozer and Ronnie Brewer, the addition of Shaq can propel the Bulls into the top tier of teams.

Sure, the Celtics and Magic are still great teams, not to mention the Heat, but with Shaq, the Bulls can compete with any of those three. Plus, beating the Heat and Lakers to get to that title? If he was able to make it happen, it would make for an amazing story.

There is the risk of the game being slowed down for the Bulls, but with Ben Gordon leaving last season, they were already a bit slower and more powerful to begin with. Still, Shaq is that one piece they could use.

The Bulls have the play-maker (Rose), the double-double big man (Boozer), the perimeter shooter (Korver), the offensive small forward (Deng), and the other role players. The lock-down defender in the middle is the missing piece, a piece which nearly all title winners have. Noah is not yet that center, but Shaq certainly is.

Plus, Shaq would look good in a Bulls uniform.

This would depend, of course, on the re-signing of Brad Miller, but I don't know if I can see that happening. With the type of team they're creating this season, Miller doesn't seem to fit in it.

Shaq may be old, but Shaq on the court for the Bulls 20 minutes a game could definitely be the difference maker for the Bulls as they make their playoff run this year.

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