Tag: Heat Superfriends

Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade (L) and teammate LeBron James wait to leave the stadium after losing the NBA Championship to the Dallas Mavericks in Miami

Winderman: Wade says he, LeBron are similar, can play together


MIAMI — Yes, Dwyane Wade said Tuesday as the Heat emptied out their lockers at AmericanAirlines arena, he and LeBron James play similar styles.

And no, Wade said, they’re not changing.

Amid post-Finals debate about whether the duo possess complementary or redundant styles, an examination exacerbated by Jeff Van Gundy’s on-camera musing during the NBA Finals about a possible trade of one of the Heat’s perimeter stars, Wade said the dual dilemma for opposing defenses was the goal from the start.

“I’m 29 years of what I’ve been doing,” Wade said, somewhat incredulous that after winning an Eastern Conference championship and coming within two wins of an NBA title this suddenly has surfaced as an issue. “I mean, obviously you try to get better in areas, but you can’t just say, ‘OK, since you’re a driver, I’m just going to become a shooter.’ That’s not what the organization wants me to be, that’s not we want him to be and it’s not what our fans want.

“Being similar players, that makes us dynamic, that makes us a special team, because we have similar capabilities and put pressure on defenses certain ways. So we wouldn’t change that at all.”

What will change, Wade said, is learning how to best utilize the similar skills sets, avoiding situations such as when James often was reduced to spectator during the Finals against the Mavericks.

“I thought we did a good job of getting better as the season went on, obviously from the first game to the end, coming from being individually good players to being good teammates, and being able to play off each other,” he said. “And that’s only going to get better as we get more comfortable with each other, as our game continues to grow, and obviously for LeBron he’ll be more comfortable in his surroundings.”

To Wade, the Finals were a hiccup, with the Eastern Conference semifinals more of the goal, when he averaged 30.2 points over those five games against Boston, and James 28.

“I’m sure it wasn’t easy for him to just make that adjustment, getting in this new situation,” he said of James. “So he’ll be even more comfortable next year. Just with time, you get better with age, you get better with time. And I’m sure we will all just get more comfortable playing with each other, have a little bit more confidence coming into the season knowing we know each other and not trying to figure each other out.”

Ira Winderman writes regularly for NBCSports.com and covers the Heat and the NBA for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. You can follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/IraHeatBeat.

Stan Van Gundy: Heat roster better than any of Jordan's Bulls rosters


Thumbnail image for SVan_Gundy.jpgNo doubt the Heat are going to be good. Very good. But expectations some comparisons and expectations are getting a little ridiculous.

Stan Van Gundy is happy to feed the mania, as he did with Dan LeBatard on 790 the Ticket in Miami:

“If I look at what the Bulls did winning 72 games and I look at the Heat roster, I am going to tell you that the Heat roster is better than any roster that Michael Jordan played with the Bulls. I don’t think that people predicting them breaking the win total and being in the 70s and the whole thing, I don’t think those are expectations that are out of line based on their roster… Dwyane Wade is certainly, in my opinion anyway, as good as he was, is better than Scottie Pippen. Chris Bosh is better than Toni Kukoc. Mike Miller is every bit as good a shooter as (John) Paxson or (Steve) Kerr or anybody they put there. Plus, he’s 6′8″. If you start going down the list, I don’t think there is any question that the roster the Heat have is as talented a roster if not more so as any roster there has ever been in the NBA.”

Van Gundy is a pretty straight shooter, he says what he thinks.

But he also gets the game. The Heat are a top rival for Van Gundy’s Magic in the East and one way to knock them down a peg is to set the expectations for them so unrealistically high that even a very good season is perceived as a failure. Saying they will win 72 their first season together is way too high a bar (remember how long those Bulls had been together when they did it, and it was the second year after a diluting league expansion).

This is one way to start injecting some doubt into a team — have everyone around them saying they are not as good as they should be.

It may not work, but it’s a smart strategy for Van Gundy to try.