With the NBA season over, and only a meager 58,000 baseball games left to tide sports fans over until the fall, it’s important to take a look back and see what exactly we’ve learned from this season. Today, we focus on the Miami Heat.
Lesson 1: When Mario Chalmers is the hardest working player on your team, you’re screwed
Mario Chalmers isn’t exactly a household name. I’m pretty sure the Heat forgot he was on the team when they announced their 2010-2011 roster.
For those of you unfamiliar with Chalmers, he made it into professional basketball by hitting one shot in college against a team that technically doesn’t exist anymore:
Since then, he has missed every three-pointer he’s attempted.
In Game 6 of the NBA Finals, Chalmers was the consistently hardest working player on the Miami Heat (it’s important to add that word “consistently” and I’ll explain why later). This is huge, because the Heat are made up of 2 really amazing players, some sort of human/bird hybrid that hits medium range shots and does nothing else, and then about 10 homeless guys they found before the season started.
They say basketball is a team game, “they” being people who love cliches and hate people with talent. However, it doesn’t make a difference how good your team is when the best players forget there’s a game.
Lesson 2: Lebron James is the single worst human being alive
Lebron James is the most talented basketball player in the world. He is a six-foot eight-inch monster who can do whatever he wants on the court at any time. Also, nobody loves him.
People who don’t follow basketball at least know that they are supposed to hate Lebron James. In the minds of the American public, last year James piped bombed the city of Cleveland and escaped unpunished to go sell crack in South Beach. While that’s not entirely true (or true at all), it’s how he has been treated. So naturally, he responded as any mature adult taking responsibility for his actions would.
He took to Twitter and told his haters that he was taking mental notes. Then he went on a huge party binge in Vegas.
But really, what should ACTUALLY matter is how Lebron handled things ON the court. And in the fourth quarters of the series, he apparently left the game to return to Vegas. At one point, ABC showed his 4th quarter stats as being 2.2 points per game on 25% shooting, going 0-7 from 3-point range. He did a few things to help his average at the end of the game, but by then, it was clear they would lose, so it didn’t matter.
That’s right, Lebron’s best fourth quarter performance came when all the pressure was gone. James, with all the potential in the world, is un-clutch. It’s like he is afraid of failing, so he’d rather not even try. At one point, JJ Barea, who I’m pretty sure is a legal midget, was covering James. He passed it away once, and then pushed the little guy down next time he had the ball, committing a stupid foul.
Clutchitude is huge in basketball. It can make or break careers. Currently, it is absolutely destroying James’ (If you have the time, read this fantastic breakdown from Bill Simmons).
Lesson 3: Dwyane Wade will always be king of Miami
Any time Dwyane Wade did anything, it would illicit cries of “MVP!” from the Miami crowd. He walks out of the tunnel to warm up? MVP! He shakes hands with the opposing team’s captain? MVP! He bricks another long range shot, even though he shoots less than 30% from deep for his career? MVP! He dribbles off of his own foot in a pivitol moment in Game 6? MVP!
But there’s a good reason they chanted that: Wade was fighting harder than anyone else out there during the series. He was doing everything he possibly could to win a championship. Last summer, when he convinced his good friend Lebron James and the lab-born Chris Bosh to join him in Miami, he expected them to actually help him win a title, not stand around and watch him.
But while it was fun during the regular season to run around, passing the ball around to each other and watching everyone jump really high, when it really mattered, everyone just turned to Dwyane and said “So, you’ve done this before, right? You just take it from here.”
And you could actually see it affecting him. Once, during Game 5, Lebron had started up a game of keep away, except he was trying to keep the ball out of his own hands. Wade actually berated him. On the court. For nearly ten seconds. It was actually a little sad to see it reach that new low.
It also reached a point during Game 6 where Dwyane Wade just ended up standing around, like he knew it was useless to fight. And that’s the ultimate lesson we learned from this Miami team. We could see it in the fact that even Wade stopped, leaving only Mario Chalmers actually trying to play the game. We could see it in the post-game press conferences. We could see it in the fact that Miami let several thousand Dallas fans buy tickets from them, and even left early, despite it being the NBA Finals.
Yes, it may have been fun to pull against the Heat, for whatever reasons we chose to. But in the end, it was just a little depressing to watch.