Thunder losing Harden is huge and why it matters to the Heat

Rick Osentoski-US PRESSWIRE

The Miami Heat are on top of the world, right? Pretty much. Still though, it's inhumane not to glance in the rear view and see who's trailing close behind. One week ago, that rear view displayed the Oklahoma City Thunder. But with James Harden now on the Houston Rockets, we must be reminded that images in the rear view may appear closer than they really are.

The Beard is Free

I'm not going to get into the specifics of the trade nor dissect the disadvantages and advantages for both teams because every writer, columnist, analyst and teenager with an ESPN account has already beaten that drum to death. What I will do however, is point to the fact that Miami Heat fans should be celebrating Harden's departure. Before the trade, the Thunder were LOADED, but most importantly, suffered the painful experience of losing in the NBA finals just like LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh did in 2011. Throw in a gold medal for USA, add a tightly knit brotherhood and what do you get? A DYNASTY.

Once the trade was final and word had spread, it wasn't long before LeBron James expressed his thoughts via twitter. Pay attention to the undertone and translucent sense of happiness from LeBron's tweet:

And if you think I'm reaching a bit with the tweet (which I could be), just ask yourself this; If you were LeBron James and just spent almost two months practicing/playing with Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant and James Harden for team USA, while knowing that they're the most notable thing standing between you and your 2nd championship, would you be happy or sad that this trio got broken up?

Can Kevin Martin and Jeremy Lamb make up for Harden?

No they can't! I'm one of those people that passionately disagrees with those claiming Martin and Lamb will pick up the pieces. I'm prepared to eat my words if they do, but I'm also prepared to continuously remind people if I'm right. Harden did so much for the Thunder and to simply state that Martin can replicate his scoring load is an insult to what the beards contribution and overall value was.

Jeremy Lamb and the future draft picks could fill the void Harden left, that I can't argue. But for this season, I can't envision how a team could quickly cobble together the amount of chemistry, enjoyment, understanding and cohesive energy that those three built over the years. Oh, and by the way, Harden did pretty well in his debut as a Rocket:

And just for pure shock value and shot in the dark humor; I wouldn't be surprised if James Harden's stats are better than Kevin Martin's and Jeremy Lamb's combined this year. Seriously?

The Heat dominated the Thunder last year

No, they absolutely did not! I've been hearing a lot of this nonsense too and frankly, it really baffles me how short peoples memories are. This is how life wokrs; If I barely pass the first 3 exams but then get a 95 on my final, people will look back and say "man you aced that class".

It's the Recency Effect. Miami squeaked by games 2 through 4 and then blew out the Thunder in game 5 and people naturally forgot about how grueling a series it was. Fact is, three of the four victories for the Heat, were by 6 points or less. Were the Heat the better team? Of course! But that was an extremely close 5 game series.

It's very simple. The Thunder were the Heat's biggest challenge and competitor, coming into this season. The Thunder have lost one of their most important pieces. Thus, the Heat can breath a little easier now.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Hot Hot Hoops

You must be a member of Hot Hot Hoops to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Hot Hot Hoops. You should read them.

Join Hot Hot Hoops

You must be a member of Hot Hot Hoops to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Hot Hot Hoops. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9347_tracker