Will the Heat Boil Over or Just Simmer?

Courtesy of Associated Press

When LeBron James decided to take his talents to South Beach, he was considered one of the most hated athletes on the entire planet. However, his decision turned out to be the right call as the Miami Heat won the 2012 NBA Championship on June 21, defeating the Oklahoma City Thunder in a 4-1 series. James was finally crowned a champion after playing in the league for nearly nine years, along with Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade.

James was no doubt the best player in the world during the 2011-12 season and he fully deserved his ring and to be crowned the Finals M.V.P. In the finals, he averaged 28.6 points, 10.2 rebounds and 7.4 assists, arguably one of the greatest, if not top five, finals’ performances of all time. With all the hatred James had to suffer through, how can one say that this was not a terrific performance? By overcoming all the criticism and pressure, King James can confidently be called “The Chosen One” without hesitation.

James certainly played fabulously in the playoffs this year. However, if his teammates did not step up their game, James would be nowhere near the title. The great performances by Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh lifted a huge burden off James’ shoulders. Wade and Bosh were not only playing well on offense, but also playing tremendous defense.

When Bosh went down with an abdominal strain, Wade had to come up big, which he did against the Indiana Pacers and Boston Celtics. However, without Bosh the Heat went through many tough losses and it looked like they needed their big man on the court as soon as possible. As soon as Bosh came back from his injury, the Heat looked unstoppable. His inside presence stopped players from easily driving inside the lane, and opponents had to settle for difficult jump shots.

Not only were the “Big Three” in Miami playing extremely well, but the role players also played with a mentality to win. Shane Battier, Mario Chalmers, Udonis Haslem and Mike Miller all improved on the big stage, and they were key players that made Miami victorious.

After watching two talented young teams go at it in the finals, the common question has been, will the Heat and Thunder rule the league for the next five years? Both teams are very young, and it only seems that their talents will continue to grow.

Miami looks poised to make a trip back to the Finals and have a definite chance to win it all again  — an opportunity made even more possible with the recent acquisition of sharpshooter Ray Allen.

However, it is difficult to say that the Heat will rule the league in the future when there is too much competition in the Eastern Division. There are many teams in the East that are hungry for the championship, and they can be major threats and stumbling blocks for the Heat to make it to the finals again in the future.

Although the Big Three in Miami can arguably be the best trio to ever play the game of basketball, there are possibilities for other superstars to team up and become a better team than Miami’s trio.

Also, with three of the top superstars in the league on the same team sharing a spotlight, many things can go wrong. One huge argument can separate all three stars, just like the feud between Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant for the Lakers in 2003-04.

The bench in Miami stepped up their game on the big stage this year, but how long can they consistently play good basketball? In the 2012 season, they averaged 24 points per game, placing them 27th out of 30 teams. During the season and early playoffs, none of them played well, and their poor performances have hurt the team several times.

The Thunder will be top contenders in the future, but they most likely will not dominate the league. The Thunder are considered a small market team in the league, so it will be difficult keeping James Harden and Serge Ibaka once their contracts expire. If Harden and Ibaka are willing to take less money to play together with Durant and Russell Westbrook, then they can be considered one of the strongest teams in the West.

However, many teams in the Western Conference are improving, so it will be a tough run for Oklahoma City to make a trip back to the Finals. The competition in the West only gets tougher, and in order to win it all, the Thunder need all their players to come up huge in the future.

Nobody knows precisely if the Heat or the Thunder will become the NBA’s next great dynasties. The team that struggles the most can get a couple superstars and all of a sudden become the best team in the league. The Thunder and Heat are incredible teams, and they’ll be good for a long time. But, they will not be dominating forces in the future and they will not be playing in the Finals every year. Other teams in each conference have the talent and potential to play in the Finals and win it all. After all, this is the NBA, where anything can happen.