Every year around this time I peer into my magic eightball and predict who will win the NBA championship. This year things are very hazy. I would like nothing more than to pick my favorite team, The Miami Heat, to win it all. But after watching nearly every game I am resigned to the fact that as long as Erik Spoelstra coaches the Heat they can not win a championship. Spoelstra’s stubborn refusal to pay attention to the ebb and flow of the game has cost the Heat countless victories over his four year tenure. He takes out players when they are hot and puts them back in once they are colder than a polar bear’s toenail.
The Heat have enough talent to clobber anyone, and if the games are not close then the coaching will not matter. But if the pressure goes up and a single decision can decide the outcome that is when you can be assured Coach Spoelstra’s game management blunders will sink the Heat.
Unfortunately with my faulty eightball I can not see a team that could obviously win the championship.
The teams with great coaches such as the Dallas Mavericks, Chicago Bulls, San Antonio Spurs, and Boston Celtics all have flawed rosters. Boston’s stars are five years too old. Dallas gutted their roster of many of their top players. Chicago can not score enough points. San Antonio does not have enough depth.
The two teams that have close to the talent that Miami possesses, the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Los Angeles Lakers are also coached by halfwits.
So by process of elimination am I really forced to pick the Memphis Grizzlies to win the championship? The Grizzlies are the one team that the Heat played against this season that from opening tip-off the Heat had no chance against. The Grizzlies roster is deep, young, and filled with hard working skilled athletes. They have low post threats in Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol, athletic scorers in OJ Mayo and Rudy Gay and a deep bench including Gilbert Arenas and Tony Allen. But still NBA tradition states that 95% of championship teams need a transcendent Hall of Fame Player to win the title.
Much like it was for last year’s surprise victor, The Dallas Mavericks, it will be up to happenstance of which team faces the Heat when Spoelstra makes his signature boneheaded decision that will win the title.
But I am still holding out hope that circumstances could arise which would lead to Spoelstra’s ouster.
Earlier this season LeBron James and Dwyane Wade organized the team to take the above photograph. The photograph was a symbolic protest against the lack of an arrest for the murder of Trayvon Martin, the African American kid who was killed by a neighborhood watchman named George Zimmerman.
In the spring’s other big political news in the state of Florida, much of Miami’s Cuban population protested Miami’s baseball team, The Marlins. Not because there was corruption in the financing of the Marlins’ new tax payer funded stadium, but because their manager Ozzie Guillen, made positive comments about Cuban dictator Fidel Castro.
And so if Wade and LeBron can get Spoelstra drunk and ask him to take part in their newest political photograph the Heat have a chance. If they can persuade Spoelstra to wear fatigues, a long beard, a cigar, and maybe a hat that says, “Viva Fidel!”, perhaps we can get the community uproar Spoelstra’s coaching deserves. Pat Riley could step in as emergency coach, The Heat can win that championship, and Spoelstra can retire to play dominoes in Havana.