After losing the finals in 2011-2012 to the Dallas Mavericks, the Heat decided to change some things up. The 2011-2012 Miami Heat are the greatest basketball team in the history of the NBA because of three key factors: their superstar power, bench players knowing their roles, and their determination after losing the 2010-2011 NBA Championship.
In 2010 three of the most sought after free agents in the history of sport decided to band together to form what came to be known as “The Big Three.” Those three free agents LeBron James, Chris Bosh, and Dwayne Wade all had six-year career averages of over twenty points, six rebounds, and two assists. The first seed planted within the heads of the three superstars was completes by Dwayne Wade, already a member of the Miami Heat, at the 2008 Summer Olympic games. Most of the sports worlds’ summer of 2010 was spent trying to figure out where these three franchise players would land. As the summer continued on, reports of collusion between the three were reported and owners cried foul, revealing the players in 2008 discussing the possibility of playing together broke collusion rules in the NBA handbook. Commissioner David Stern ruled against the NBA owners, expressing as long as no members of the Heat front office took place in talks with Chris Bosh and LeBron James that no rules had been broken.
The three players wanted to play with each other so badly, with the hope of winning multiple NBA championships that they took reduced contracts less than the league maximum they would have made with any other team they could have chosen. The consensus by the 2010 season in the NBA was that three stars were needed to form a winning team. The early 2000‘s Los Angeles Lakers teams had Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal, and Robert Horry who own three championships. The same goes for the Chicago Bulls of the 1990’s who won six championships. The three superstars realized that to solidify their place as three of the best players ever to play the game they had to win championships. They knew to do this they had to come together. They had to sacrifice money, fame, and shots to accomplish their goals. They did the first by taking less than the league max in their contracts. Fame turned out to not be a problem because immediately after signing their contracts they were mobbed by press. Dubbed “The Big Three” commercials depicting them, as The Three Musketeers were plastered over the world’s largest sports network, ESPN. The last problem everyone knew would be a problem. Before coming together in Miami, all three individually had been team superstars and had dominated the ball for their teams. How would these players be able to go from shooting twenty fives times a game to maybe fifteen? Coach Eric Spolestra changed it up by first taking Chris Bosh out of his previous position and placing him under the basket to become a rebounder and cleanup man more than the perimeter scorer he had been. He took LeBron James, arguably the best player to ever play in the NBA, and put him in the middle of the court. Coach Spolestra used his incredible dribbling and passing skills to best utilize him. Lastly, Coach put Dwayne Wade on the baseline and wings, allowing him to use his impressive long range shooting skills on the perimeter and allowing him to cut into the middle for easy baskets. These three key cogs in the Miami Heat are what will allow them to be dominant team now and in the future.
The biggest problem that could have arisen for the Heat in the 2010-2011 seasons would have been the players surrounding The Big Three. The coaching staff had to surround these players with players who were willing to take a back seat to the superstars and work hard on the defensive side of the ball. The three main examples of type of players the Heat needed were their center and rebounder Joel Anthony, their defensive stopper Shane Battier, and their spot up shooter Mike Miller. Joel Anthony was asked to do it all. He was put in charge of guarding the biggest and hardest opponent and expected to grab ten to fifteen defensive rebounds. Next up is having Shane Battier. Shane Battier was an older NBA veteran who had more motivation than anyone, knowing his time in the NBA was dwindling and he needed a championship to cement his place in NBA history. He was given the daunting task of night in and night out guarding the best players in the NBA and then taking a back seat on offense after being a career ten plus point a game scorer. The last key role by a bench player was Mike Miller. The one thing the Heat lacked was outside scoring outside of The Big Three. They needed teams defenses to be spread out, allowing players like LeBron and Dwayne Wade to be able to drive to the basket. Mike Miller and his deadly three point shot were able to draw defenses away from the hoop and open up the Miami offense. The Miami role players’ ability to play within their roles was a key factor in the Heat’s success in 2010-2011.
The last key factor that helped lead the Miami Heat to an NBA championship in 2011 was their motivation. In The Big Three’s first year together they lost in the NBA Finals to the Dallas Mavericks. All during the off-season, all the Heat heard was how they couldn’t win the big one and how they should break up their Big Three. This constant media bashing pushed the Heat, with arguably more talent than any NBA team, to work even harder. In the 2010-2011 season they came out with a vengeance looking to end the doubt from all their critics. They knew the criticism wouldn’t stop unless they won an NBA championship, so that’s what they did. From their motivation, their star power and their role players, the Heat proved to be the best team in the NBA.