The Miami Heat have won the 2012 NBA Championship. I was rooting for the Oklahoma City Thunder--mostly because they play in the Western Conference and knocked my Dallas Mavericks out of the playoffs. I truly expected the Thunder to spank the Heat. Thunder showed their youth and the Heat won the day--along with the Championship. Here are six key players in the Miami win.
Kevin Durant averaged 28.5 points in the playoffs and 30.6 in the finals against the Heat. A three time scoring champ at 23 years old Durant is arguably the best player in the Western Conference. Durant had to fill the roll of team leader on a young team of great individual players. This is a problem. He shows the skill, talent and desire to be one of the best for a long time, but Durant is not a natural team leader. The Thunder needs a team leader so Durant can sit back and do his thing--which is score and play ball.
James Harden won the 2012 Sixth Man Award. At times he seemed unstoppable. Other times he made some bonehead plays. Throughout the season Harden made some great individual plays. The problem is he needs to make the team better when he plays rather than go for highlight shots.
Russell Westbrook is a shooting guard--or a point guard? Nobody knows. Not even Westbrook and certainly not coach Brooks. Superior talent and athletic ability in abundance. Westbrook uncorks great individual games, but does he make the team better when he plays? I don't think so. If he ever learns how to play with control as a team mate he'll be great. A team win should be far greater than any individual accolade. He says this--but does he mean it?
Chris Bosh is a good complement to Wade and James. Bosh has heart, skill, a will to win and is a great team player. He may need to lay off the three point shots though. Injuries during the playoffs aptly demonstrated that Bosh is an important part of the Heat team.
Dwyane Wade says he took a step back and encouraged Lebron James to rise to the top. Some people say Wade has lost a step. I prefer to think Wade's experience, maturity and basketball sense helped him understand that they needed a team rather than a group of talented individuals to win a championship.
Lebron James scored a triple-double in the final game and played hard and smart throughout the playoffs. James did in fact earn the MVP award. Has he earned my respect? After all, I am one of those guys who go to work every day at my low paying job while LBJ gets to be LBJ. Let's say that he earned my respect for this playoff run and a more open consideration for the future. Teams win championships. Lebron James was a team leader and player who carried the load.
So--it looks like a talented team won out over a group of talented individuals. Exactly the way it should be. If Miami has truly learned the secret of teamwork they will be a force for many years. My congratulations to the Miami Heat.
Gerald is an outdoor sportsman who has played and followed basketball for more than 50 years. No stranger to competitive sports he still competes in select marathon kayak and canoe events. In his spare time Gerald designs and builds wood composite kayaks, canoes and paddles.