How is it that a team deprived of a superstar or even an All-Star for that matter currently finds themselves in the 4th seed in the NBA’s Eastern Conference? Nearly two full years since Dwyane Wade, who undoubtedly has had the most decorated career in franchise history, left for free agency, the Miami Heat find themselves just one seed back from the team that Wade currently plays for in the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Heat bolsters a roster compiled of players either in their first few years in the league such as Josh Richardson, Justice Winslow, Bam Adebayo and Tyler Johnson or players that may be getting their second or third stint on an NBA roster like Dion Waiters , Kelly Olynyk and James Johnson.
The Heat are a team that believes in hard work and doesn’t allow half heartedness and mediocre effort and have been on record of having game like intensity during practice and a training staff that requires all their players to be in tip-top shape; which is evident in players such as Wayne Ellington who is in the best shape of his career. This season the Heat have established and embraced an identity of a team that works hard and grinds out games for a full 48 minutes.
Miami doesn’t deal with players concerned with individual numbers or accolades, they just do whatever it takes to win and most importantly under no circumstances do they give up, as shown recently in their miraculous win in charlotte over the Hornets on January 20th.
What is yet to be seen is how far this team can go when its time for the post season. History hasn’t fared well for teams with Championship hopes that are without a superstar of some sort. In actuality the last time a team with no superstar won a NBA championship were the Detroit Pistons in 2004 and even that team had multiple All-Stars and the Heat have none currently. Miami has found a niche as to what works for them whether it means leaving their top players such as Goran Dragic and Hassan Whiteside on the bench in the final minutes of a close game with coach Erik Spoelstra trusting the players that are in at the time. That type of trust and pedigree has given Miami a culture and respect that leads to success and enjoyment from the fans.
It will be interesting to see if the heat can keep up their strong play after the All-Star break especially since losing Dion Waiters who just had season ending surgery to repair instability in his left ankle. Despite that the South Beach Bad Boys remain the hardest working, best conditioned, most professional, unselfish, toughest, meanest, nastiest team in the NBA.