For the most anticipated NBA season of the last 20 years you have probably already read or ignored a novel's worth of articles on LeBron and the Heat. I know I have. One thing I haven't noticed in the coverage though, is what it will actually mean if they win or lose the title. Let’s discuss.
For the group of pundits that pay attention to the “advanced stats” of basketball, this Miami Heat team should mean a lot to them. If Miami captures the title next year, all of their views, thoughts and opinions will be validated since LeBron and Wade are two of the most efficient players in the entire league. The same can be said for Chris Bosh at his position. Meanwhile, everyone knows that LeBron and Dwyane are already amongst the top five or ten players in the league based on ability alone. So talent would still be a very strong argument against the statistical revolution. But if the Heat were to lose, wouldn't it have to be considered a monumental disappointment from a statistical angle? The same would have to apply from the talent trumps all ideals subscribed to by so many traditionalists. You know, how can the Heat not win with that team?
What about the media? So many members of it have rushed to predict the futures of all parties involved with the new look Heat, mostly, with a negative view. Legacies have been tarnished and reputations have been ruined, that’s the theme of this team. The media and others that have chosen to pick against the Heat with a blind refusal to acknowledge the actual basketball side of the issues, might find themselves singing a vastly different tune come June. Instead of articles that discuss how the Heat ruined the NBA for years to come, there will be praise for their historical turnaround and sacrifices made for the sake of winning. If they lose, well, seeing the firestorm that LeBron created all by himself this offseason, it will be next to nothing if Miami falls short of a championship. Talk about a day of ruing and reckoning.
For fans it will be great. I know that sounds crazy but think about this. Front offices going forward from this point on will now have far more pressure on them to build contenders quickly if the Heat proves to be a successful model. The days of holding on to franchise players just because they can sell tickets and get the owners some extra playoff revenue will be shortened. General Managers will have so much more pressure on them to build contenders immediately as opposed to "rebuilding" every year. Owners will also be held more accountable to their employees; the players. They will actually have to prove to them that they are trying to win instead of just saying it. Coaching will improve because they will have better players to work with and have to be more creative strategically. Everyone is mad at LeBron right now but he has shed some light on the business practices of more than half the teams in the league. Lots of them sold their fans on the idea that they would have a shot at LeBron, so they practically gave away most, if not all of their assets in order to land one or two stars. Although it worked for Miami, it obviously didn’t for everyone else.
Finally what about the NBA? Many have complained that it isn’t good to have a monopoly on the leagues championships but, that’s how the league has always been. What this will do now is create an environment for players to have to work together in order to have a real shot at winning. After years and years of fans complaining about players being selfish and all about money, they will now be able to point towards the Heat as an example of the opposite, even if it is with reluctance. Teams will be able to do the same. For example, instead of having two star athletes and trading one or the other because they don’t get along or can’t play together for whatever reason, now the organization and players will have to make it work, if they actually want to win a championship.
Again though, this is all pertinent if Miami wins the Larry O’Brien trophy. If they don’t, then we can all go back to our regular NBA watching lives.
Well, at least for one more year.