Standing at 30-28 at the All-Star Break, this season summarizes the identity of the Miami Heat lately: a seven-game winning streak and a five-game losing streak, which paints a borderline playoff picture.
Adding up all the games in the post Big-3 era, the Heat have a combined record of 163 wins and 155 losses. Thus far, this season extends the middle-of-the-pack trend from the last few years into the foreseeable future.
Motivational speaker Zig Ziglar had a great quote about success.
“Don’t become a wandering generality. Be a meaningful specific.”
Wandering generalities include winning plays, positionless basketball, getting better, playing hard, finding an identity, the process, ad nauseum.
Examples of meaningful specifics are sinking 80 of 100 3-point baskets in practice, making 95 of 100 bunnies at the rim, holding opponents to under 85 points, forcing 4 24-second violations in a game.
Last season Miami had success with a starting five of Hassan Whiteside, Luke Babbitt, Rodney McGruder, Dion Waiters, Goran Dragic because each knew their exact role on the court. They weren’t generalities, but specifics.
When Chris Bosh was in Miami, he didn’t lead the Heat on fast break transitions, and defined the description of an All-Star stretch four. Today Wayne Ellington‘s meaningful niche role affects how teams game plan against Miami as a whole when he’s on the court.
If Josh Richardson replaces Waiters as the shooting guard, the Heat could trot out a starting qunintet of Whiteside, Babbitt, McGruder, Richardson, Dragic. In this scenario, Richardson’s meaningful specific duty would be to score a minimum of 27 points a game.
The really exciting part of the Heat squad is their depth, with Dwyane Wade, Kelly Olynyk, Ellington, James Johnson, Tyler Johnson, Bam Adebayo, Justise Winslow available as needed.
Oftentimes Olynyk, JJ, TJ, et al become mediocre generalities, resulting in an even number of close wins and loses for the team.
Two examples stand out among the recent best and worst plays this season.
BEST: Ellington’s last-second basket to win the game, 90-89, on a set run to perfection against a team with the best home record in the NBA, the Toronto Raptors.
WORST: The 89-88 loss to the NBA’s worst team, Sacramento Kings, on a basket by “De’Aaron Fox as both Bam Adebayo and James Johnson stood flat footed at the rim watching the ball.”
In the first case the coaches assigned each player a meaningful specific duty on the court, while in second instance the players wandered, or stood, around without any goal or direction.
With only 24 games left let the generalities wander out the door, while the in-synch players make some noise by the season’s finish for Miami Heat fans.