This is not what Pat Riley envisioned when he rushed to plug a gaping whole left by LeBron James during the offseason.
On paper it was a solid plan. They signed former All-Star Danny Granger, hoping he might be able to regain his past greatness, as well as Josh McRoberts, a versatile big man with amazing court vision to allow Miami to stay relevant in the East. Nevertheless, just when the machine started to run properly against the Phoenix Suns just a few short weeks ago injury befell both Chris Bosh and McRoberts.
Of course the Heat reacted as they always have when led by Dwyane Wade and played competitive basketball. Miami's most recent game against the Washington Wizards made me proud to be a Heat fan. The tenacity and resilience that they're known for was at full force and notwithstanding a late turnover by Wade they played a great game. However, after dropping an easy contest against Philadelphia last night and headed into their biggest game of they year thus far, it's time to face the fact that this current Miami team is mediocre at best.
Mediocrity isn't something to be upset about though, especially with Bosh's return looming. At this point in the season Miami's record stands at13-16, placing them three games under .500, but the fact of the matter is there's still time to turn it around. As much as I hate to do it, I have to compare this Heat team to the Brooklyn Nets team of last year -- a team filled with veteran talent and not much to show for it.
In December of last year, the Nets were shorthanded with the loss of All-Star center Brook Lopez and as a result scrambled to fill the void left by his injury and consequently struggled. Entering 2014 the Nets had a record of 10-21. Miami is already better than that and will improve with Bosh back.
There is still so much of the season left, and although the Heat are suffering terrible misfortune at the moment, they will be back to their winning ways soon. As I write this, there's still a chance Josh Smith joins the Heat, but even if he doesn't I have no doubt Miami's front office is up to something.
Tomorrow, a 6'-8" man dressed in burgundy will come into our house, and make many long for a simpler time where he helped lead us to greatness. Though, tomorrow's Christmas game was supposed to be the day Miami proved that they were more than capable of winning without LeBron, it's time to disregard our record and look to the future.
Coach Spoelstra will transition this roster into one who is more than capable of winning, he just needs the pieces available. Th frustration will of course continue especially because of the way we've been spoiled over the last few years, but Heat fans should be cheering louder than ever to support this team.
The Heat will make the playoffs this year, and we all know that once you get a foot in the building, you just have to climb the stairs to get to the top.