We're less then two months away from training camp, and hopefully now that football season is upon us the time will go by even quicker. Well, that's assuming you guys are as psychotically into football as I am...so if you aren't, my bad. PS- Go Dolphins.
Getting back to basketball, the biggest Heat news out there right now is from former NBA coach and current ESPN/ABC analyst Jeff Van Gundy. My best memory of Jeff is him on the floor hanging on to Alonzo Mourning's leg during one of the awesome playoff fights between the Heat and Knicks back in the 90's. That is one of the positives of the Knicks getting better, the renewal of a great but forgotten NBA rivalry.
It started out with comments he made to the Miami Herald, saying that the Heat had a "legit shot" to break the 72-win record set by the Chicago Bulls in 1995-96. Then yesterday he appeared on "The Waddle & Silvy Show" on ESPN 1000 in Chicago and elaborated on that claim.
"I would think that everybody would think they would have a great shot at it. I don't know if I said they will or they have a great chance, whatever I said, I just think if they're healthy, the discrepancy between their talent level and the next level is so great, that I just don't see how they lose games. I think they're that good."
The first question that pops in my mind is whether or not he's being more optimistic or realistic. Trying to be as un-bias as possible, it's very easy to believe that if the Heat stay healthy then they would win 70ish games. Maybe more. This is an amazing collection of talent that will be near impossible to stop on offense. And what about defense? Van Gundy addressed that too...
"Erik Spoelstra is a heck of a coach, so they're going to be motivated to play well defensively, which is about coaching, and offensively they're going to be an absolute nightmare to deal with. If LeBron James can win 66 games in the regular season with the guys he played with, who I think are better than people have given them credit for in Cleveland, then I think you add Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Mike Miller, it's not a stretch to say they can win six more."
The point he makes about LeBron in Cleveland is so true. And that is no knock on the Cavs players because they were pretty damn good, and have been good for several years. Mo Williams doesn't get the credit he deserves as one of the better point guards in the league, and I feel like Antawn Jamison and Anderson Varejao fly way under the radar considering how good they are.
However, their roster pales in comparison to the one the Heat now has. Pretty much every roster in the NBA comes up short to ours, and that is before guys like Mario Chalmers and Joel Anthony benefit off of the talent on the players around them. Unfortunately it's just going to be the norm that people are going to constantly be hating on the Heat. Just because it's a popular topic doesn't mean it should be bought in to, and JVG acknowledged that as well.
"I think people are trying to pick on Miami right now instead of opening their eyes to just how great they are. There are going to be no chemistry issues. Wade and James are unselfish players. That doesn't mean if they win a championship it's a great accomplishment either, because they're so much better than everybody. But to discount just how good they are, I think people are making a mistake."
While I like how he takes it to another level, saying the Heat are so good that winning a title isn't a great accomplishment. I think it's a pretty big deal, and I think that when the Bulls were winning their 6 titles in the 90's, each and every one was a big deal to them.
I realize that this is just one guy and Jeff Van Gundy is no NBA guru but it's nice to hear some positivity and (whether or not you want to admit it), realism coming from a very public basketball figure. Or maybe he's just trying to piss his brother off. Either way...considering all the b-s I've been reading lately, this was a pleasant little surprise.
FYI- The NBA will release full team schedules sometime today, so keep your eyes open for that because I'm sure there will be 'leaks' of schedules leading up to the official release. I'll leave you with this video, which is totally unrelated to the story you just read. Another random and funny thing sent to me from Snoop97Dawg...enjoy.