Tag: Miami Heat Superteam

Report: Erick Dampier to the Miami Heat deal "imminent"


Thumbnail image for dampier_layup.jpgToday Erick Dampier had meetings and a workout with the Miami Heat, but it may be more than that.

Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel (and of this site) sent out these tweets:

Erick Dampier believed to have an afternoon workout scheduled with Heat, possibly as precursor to a potential signing.

Erick Dampier actually has gone through meet-and-greet process, and it now appears as if his signing is imminent, if not already done.

If true, the Heat have just made themselves a lot better.

Dampier is really a good fit for that team. First off, he can defend the rim well and is a big body to put on the Dwight Howards of the world. The Heat’s best rim defender now is 6’9″ Joel Anthony, who plays hard but is not a true five. Also on the defensive end, Dampier is a good rebounder.

Second, Dampier does not require a lot of offensive touches, but the ones he does get he uses efficiently. You don’t want to run your offense through the guy (especially with the Heat’s firepower) but if he has a mismatch and you drop the ball into him he will be smart about it.

Last season Dampier had a usage rate of just 11.4 (or about 1 in 10 of his team’s shots when he was on the floor) but he shot 62.4 percent on those. He has shot better than 60 percent for four straight years.

Pat Riley convinced another good player to come and play for the minimum. He is a witch.

Phil Jackson: Miami has talent, but will they have teamwork?


Thumbnail image for pjackson_finals.jpgPhil Jackson knows a little something about winning titles.

He knows there are two parts to getting a ring. First is having enough talent on the roster. Second is what Jackson has specialized in — molding that talent into a cohesive team.

Jackson told ESPN 1000 in Chicago that Miami now has half of the equation, but the other half remains to be seen.

“They got great talent,” Jackson said in an interview with ESPN 1000 in Chicago. “There’s no question about their talent they have. But, talent doesn’t always win. The team that shows the best teamwork will win it. We think that [the Lakers] have established something. But, if [the Heat] can unite — and build quickly — they might be able to do it…”

“I always refer to when Wilt Chamberlain was traded from Philadelphia to Los Angeles and that put [Elgin] Baylor, [Jerry] West and Chamberlain together — three of the top scorers in NBA history — and they never won a championship together the four years they were together,” Jackson said.

“It’s not always scorers and talent that wins it. But it’s teamwork that does it.”

The Lakers and the Celtics (and even the Magic) have proven they are teams, with talented players willing to sacrifice toward a common goal. How fast Miami learns to do that — and do it in the pressure cooker of the playoffs — will determine how quickly they win an NBA title.

LeBron's Q-Rating, image didn't really take a hit among blacks


Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for LeBron_Heat.jpgYou know how America hates LeBron James now after “The Decision?”

That’s not exactly true. We should say white America hates LeBron, because the numbers say black Americans do not.

In a fascinating post at ESPN, Vincent Thomas has the numbers:

According to The Q Scores Co., for non-blacks, LeBron’s positive Q rating went from 18 percent in January to 10 percent in September and, more telling, his negative Q rating went from 24 percent to 44. Nearly half of the non-blacks in this country don’t like the dude. Meanwhile, LeBron’s positive Q rating among blacks went from 52 percent in January to 39 — a noticeable drop — but his negative Q rating barely budged, going from 14 percent to 15. Among African-Americans, says The Q Scores Co. executive vice president Henry Schafer, the shift in opinion was mostly to neutral.

We’ve seen this divide before, the OJ Simpson trial had a lot of it. Thomas uses the term “black protectionism” and explains it this way.

The more America shuns LeBron, the more Black America retreats to his corner. In fact, as America hates LeBron more and more, Black America’s collective hug embraces LeBron tighter and tighter. It’s called black protectionism.

Athletes have always been inspirational figures within the black community and — as far back as Jack Johnson, Jesse Owens and Jackie Robinson — often have taken the public racial hit for the team. So, naturally, through the years, they’ve engendered an almost automatic protectionism response whenever America — whether justifiably or not — decides it wants to hate them. You saw it with Hank Aaron. You saw it with Barry Bonds. You saw it with Allen Iverson. You saw it with Michael Vick. You’re seeing it now with LeBron James.

Thomas makes this comment about how we view athletes, and the perspective of hating LeBron.

And for what? Why? Because “The Decision” was annoying and self-indulgent? I’m sorry, but Brett Favre was nowhere to be found on The Q Scores Co.’s top 10 most disliked list. And, dig this: America dislikes LeBron more than it dislikes Ben Roethlisberger. That’s just not deserved. So, you know what? Enter the ride-or-die black community.

Henry Abbott makes an interesting point at TrueHoop: Maybe what LeBron did was step out of the normal role as player to craft his own destiny, and that upsets the order of things. And with that, upsets some people. It wasn’t just free agency, but the plotting through free agency to manipulate and create a “superteam.” Of course, Pat Riley frankly had a lot to do with that, more than LeBron. But it is LeBron that bears the brunt of the hatred.

Go read the whole posts. I’m not going to pretend to understand all the cultural influences at play here, but the debate is interesting and says a lot about divides that still exist in America.

Spoelstra to the Heat haters: Jealous much?

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Thumbnail image for spoelstra.jpgThere has been plenty of backlash after the Miami Heat’s summer moves — LeBron’s Q score fell, guys from Magic Johnson to Stan Van Gundy took shots, while other teams throughout the league have grit their teeth when talking about the franchise.

It’s fashionable to hate the Heat.

Coach Erik Spoelstra couldn’t care less. Other teams didn’t have the cojones to pull off what the Bulls did, that’s basically what he told the Associated Press.

“Every single franchise in this league, if they had the opportunity to sign three players the way we were able to, they would have without any hesitation,” Spoelstra said Friday in an interview with The Associated Press. “So everything else that everybody is saying, at first it was hard for us to understand. But that’s how this team is going to be viewed.”

Spoelstra also is not going to escalate the war of words.

“I’m not going to comment on other teams,” Spoelstra said. “And other teams have enough issues of their own to get ready for the season, without worrying about what we did or what we’re doing, to keep them busy.”

Or to phrase it another way: Shouldn’t other teams be figuring out how to beat us?

Spoelstra says some Heat starting positions still open. Small forward is not one of them.


Thumbnail image for spoelstra.jpgDon’t assume Erik Spoelstra knows how all this is going to fit together.

He’s spent all summer thinking about what the Miami Heat will look like next season — and as head coach he has some say in the matter — but he told Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel he wants to let the action on the court tell him what to do.

That starts with the starting lineup.

“I don’t have those positions inked right now,” he said. “I have a pretty good idea of three of my starters. And from there, a lot of it will depend on chemistry, dynamic and how the team comes together…”

“One of the things going into camp is it’s not going to be conventional all of the time,” he said. “And when I’ve talked to the players this year, I don’t want to box the players into a quote, unquote position. We have players here that can play multiple positions, that are versatile.”

This goes back to the idea of LeBron and Wade playing some point, for example. Or Bosh at the five and LeBron at the four in a speed lineup. He’s got a 400-page playbook of ideas. Literally. Spoelstra has options, and he’s spent the summer thinking about them.

He’s got options on defense, too.

He again plans to work a zone into his defensive approach and even met this summer with Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim, a leading proponent of the alignment. “He talked about how zones work that much better when you have more talented players, with more IQ, more of a feel for the game, more ability to cover ground, that it’s even more dangerous then,” Spoelstra said.

How the Heat come together is going to be an interesting basketball experiment.