You can check out Part 1 here.
Now for the losers, the Miami Heat:
Dwyane Wade – Wasn’t the same after his hip injury, but was the main reason the Heat were so close to winning this series. He was the best player on the team for the first five games. Looked like Dwyane was getting pretty frustrated with LeBron and I don’t blame him, he took his game to an even higher level in the finals and sacrificed his body every game. That sacrifice may come back to haunt them as he turns the wrong side of 30 next season. GRADE – A+
Chris Bosh – The 2nd best player on the Heat in the finals. Yup, I can’t believe it either. Bosh stepped up his game and played with passion. He was on his way to a monster game 6 until the Heat inexplicably decided to not go to him for most of the 2nd half. GRADE – A
Mario Chalmers – This guy fears no one and isn’t afraid to step up when it counts. He thinks he should be taking the final shot. Gotta love the confidence but he also needs to know he’s playing with Wade. Hit some huge shots throughout the series and played some nice D. GRADE – A
LeBron James – What a frustrating player James is. The talent to be the best ever but the heart of a college kid. He reminds me of young Shaq. Plays well enough to have some great, even dominating games, but only brings it when he feels like it. He had a triple double in the finals but looked like he was debating what club to go to during the 4th quarter of that game. Why he wants to pass all 4th quarter of every game is inexplicable. He needs to get a post move too. Just one post move and the Heat are the champs. He couldn’t post Kidd or Barea and that’s just embarrassing. All that aside he played good enough to come within a few plays of winning the championship. If this grade was for the first 36 minutes he would absolutely get and A. Alas, the grade is for the entire 48 minutes. GRADE – B-
Udonis Haslem – Played some good D, hit a few shots. However, when this is your 5th best guy you’re not winning the finals. GRADE – B-
Joel Anthony – If I was grading for the 1st 3 rounds Anthony would get an A. He was completely ineffective in the finals resulting in the Heat having to resurrect Juwan Howard from the grave for the finals. GRADE – D
Juwan Howard – Was his job to dish out borderline flagrant fouls? Because he didn’t do much else. GRADE – D+
Eddie House – Doesn’t play pretty much the entire playoffs and gets 21 minutes in the deciding game? Yeah Miami was definitely in panic mode. GRADE – D-
Mike Miller – Between his two thumb splints and his shoulder guard he was starting to look like Robocop out there. You have to think next year will be better for him. He was useless in these finals. GRADE – D-
Mike Bibby – I forgot he was still playing half the time. Couldn’t guard Butler, who was in a suit and couldn’t hit a shot. How a guy hits shots the first 3 rounds and shoots approx. 7.5% for the finals is beyond me. GRADE – F
James Jones – Was he injured? He had a huge game in the Boston series and was never seen again. GRADE – ?
Outlook going forward: Assuming Dallas can resign Chandler they are in very good shape for next year. Remember, Butler, Haywood and Beaubois will all either be back next year or traded for new pieces. Since we have no idea lets assume they all stay. Haywood gives you more productive minutes than Mahimni, Butler starts and you have Marion coming off the bench and Peja can do what he did in game 6 and watch, and Beaubois can play the point, giving Kidd the opportunity to play less than 30 minutes a game. Everyone is fresh for the playoffs and they have another big scorer in Butler in crunchtime. Don’t sleep on these guys next year either. Long-term they have some big contracts coming off the books in Butler and Kidd after next season and can either give starting roles to Beaubois , Brewer and/or Barea or have the cap space to bring in new/younger talent.
Miami: Their front line of Ilgauskas, Dampier, Magloire and Howard all have to go. I can’t believe that was their plan this season. Maybe Pittman will be good, develop him this season and see what he’s got. Chalmers proved he’s a keeper and he’s only 25. IF Jones was injured for the finals and didn’t just decide to start sucking then keep him. Anthony played great D the first 3 rounds of the playoffs so I’d keep him too. Everyone else other than Wade, Bosh and James can go. There is talk about trading one of the “big three”. Stop it. They almost won the championship, no need to freak out and trade one of your best players. Giving James a heart transplant would be something to look into though. I think their future looks OK, but I’m worried about the miles on Wade and how healthy he can stay as he turns 30. I’m worried that James will never be fully focused and never learn a post move or improve his outside shot. They will be top 4 in the east for 2-3 years, but was this their best chance at winning it all?
For Dallas, Kidd, Marion and Dirk all greatly improved their legacies. I don’t like the argument that so and so isn’t that great because he never won. Barkley and Nash are amazing players, however leading your team to a championship is hard to argue with. Dirk is now arguably one of the 20 best players of all time, and Kidd is one of the best PG’s of all time. Marion was amazing his first 7 years in the league, but was so bad the last two everyone forgot. He got his mojo back this season. If he has one or two more good seasons I’d argue he’s a top 100 player.
It’s more complicated for Miami. I’d say Bosh made out the best this series. He was solid in the finals and showed a lot of heart. He was considered the red-headed step child of the big 3, but outplayed one of them. Wade doesn’t move up or down. He won a championship already and was the best player on his team this series. LeBron was the big loser in this series. The Jordan talks are officially over. For that I am thankful, was getting real sick of that anyway. Depending on what happens next season the Pippen talk might be over as well.
I also wanted to add that the Heat just don’t seem to understand why everyone hates them and wants them to lose. Well we can start right here:
They just don’t get it and I don’t think they will. Making fun of another player who had a legitimate ailment while you are flopping all over the place and being overly dramatic about your own mystery ailments, and talking about how great your life is instead of how you need to improve your game won’t get you much sympathy.
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