The Miami Heat's loss to the Dallas Mavericks during last seasons NBA Finals was absolutely devastating, to be sure. But as with most things in life, negative things and events usually leave the door open to things and events just as positive, but they can sometimes just be extremely difficult to recognize.
The immediate impact from the results of the Finals that first comes to mind is 2011 Draft selection Norris Cole. If the Heat had beaten Dallas then maybe the Mavs would have made the move that Miami did and acquired Cole, especially considering the departure of J.J. Barea in the soon-to-be offseason.
Of course, those are all hypothetical situations. I want to look at the exact way that the Miami Heat have been playing this season, and why their success may be attributed to an NBA Finals loss. Following the heartbreaking series against the Mavericks, Miami players were feeling pain that they didn't realize had previously existed.
It was the kind of experience that drove the Heat players even harder during their off-season training. LeBron James didn't leave his home for weeks, and when he did, it was immediately back to work. James was well aware that one thing that hurt him during the NBA Finals was his inability to be effective in the low post areas.
That being the case, LeBron decided to take a few classes from one of the greatest low-post players to ever play in the NBA. Former Houston Rocket, NBA Champion and member of the NBA Hall of Fame, the one and only Hakeem Olajuwon. With the thoughts and lessons LeBron learned from one of the all-time greats, James has added even more dimension to his already vast offensive repertoire.
Looking beyond James, Miami's offense has been something very special for Heat and NBA fans alike to enjoy and gawk at all season. It all starts on the defensive end, where Erik Spoelstra has his team playing at an extremely high level of defense. That leads to turnovers and fast breaks, which then lead to points in most extraordinary ways.
Sometimes it feels like we cant even get though a quarter of a game without having Dwyane Wade lob a toss up into the vacant air, just to have LeBron James fly through the atmosphere, grab the ball and slam it home, many times with just the use of one of his hands.
Wade has also ‘trimmed the fat' off of his game as well. He no longer puts up an excess of three-pointers, instead taking much higher percentage shots and making better decisions with the ball. Even with all the time he's missed due to injury this season, Wade already has had three separate games with double figure assists.
It also helps when your team has the depth that the Miami Heat does. Being able to bring guys like Udonis Haslem, Shane Battier and Mike Miller off the bench makes a huge difference. Those are all guys who could be starting on any number of teams throughout the NBA. Haslem and Miller both missed the majority of their time with the Heat last season due to injury, but with the off-season addition of Battier combined with a clean bill of health for both Haslem and Miller, the Miami Heat are not only the most dangerous team in the league, they are also the most dangerously deep.
I haven't even mentioned the extremely impressive and consistent play of Chris Bosh, the maturing game of Mario Chalmers, the surprising play from rookie Norris Cole, or the defensive superiority of Joel Anthony. From top to bottom, the Heat's roster is one of the deepest, most talented in the NBA. They say that things happen for a reason, so if this season is the beginning of a string of championship years for the Heat, losing in the NBA Finals could end up being a blessing in disguise.