The NBA, it seems, more than any league, lends itself to psycho-babble explanations of why teams fail. They didn’t want it enough. They took the opponent lightly. The pressure of trying to create a legacy got to them. Yawn.
Sometimes, it’s about basketball. The Miami Heat failed because the roster had too many stars, which required a departure from conventional coaching, one that never came.
LeBron James played pretty much every position but the one he needs to play for the Heat. If he can turn himself into a center during the offseason, the Heat will win the 2012 NBA title. Period.
James needs to hire the best available big-man coach on the planet to tutor him daily on the nuances of posting up, efficient post footwork, defending the post, perfecting the outlet pass, etc.
James stands 6-foot-8 and weighs 250 pounds. To those who say he’s too short to defend centers, well, he was too tall to guard Derrick Rose, too, but he did it in the fourth quarter of the Eastern Conference finals and shut him down. An athletic freak, James is strong enough to guard centers and can give them fits by getting under them.
Offensively, the Heat have too many athletes who need the ball in their hands, so move the most athletically versatile guy, who also doesn’t tend to be the best decision-maker, inside. With Dwyane Wade at the point, flanked by sharp-shooters Mike Miller and Mario Chalmers, and James and Chris Bosh in the paint, the Heat not only would beat teams up and down the court, but could dominate the offensive boards. See LeBron score on post-ups, put-backs, dump-offs and lobs from Wade. Score, LeBron, score.
As it is, James does opposing defenses favors by spending way too much time on the perimeter, where he’s not as smart as Wade or Chalmers.
LeBron’s lack of wisdom surfaced again in the wake of defeat when he said what, without too much twisting, could be interpreted as, “I’m still really, really rich, and you’re still really, really miserable. So there!”
What he actually said: “All the people that was rooting on me to fail, at the end of the day, they gotta wake up tomorrow and have the same life that they had before they woke up today. You know, they got the same personal problems that they had today.”
(Don’t most people wake up at the beginning of the day, not the end?)
Anyway, this hate-hate relationship between James and sports fans is a win-win. Most fans are delighted because James and the Heat lost to Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Kidd. LeBron is ecstatic because sports fans are weighed down by chronic personal problems.
One lost series isn’t enough to declare a failure the experiment that started with a repulsive victory celebration well before the first practice.
It takes work, meshing so much talent. Larry Brown couldn’t figure out a way to juggle egos into a gold medal, and Mike Krzyzewski did. Short of prying Krzyzewski away from Duke, the job for which he was born, convincing LeBron to reinvent himself is the right title path. Now’s the time to approach him, while he’s in a euphoric state of schadenfreude, daydreaming about the personal problems of others.