Question of the Day: How successful will the Miami Heat be this season?
Barry Stavro, Los Angeles Times
The glitzy Miami Heat, with LeBron James-Dwyane Wade-Chris Bosh, will resemble the speedy Phoenix Suns of a few years back. You remember Mike D’Antoni’s edict: shoot in seven seconds or less, and never mind defense, we’ll just outscore them all. And the Suns almost did.
The Heat will be hard to stop when they have the ball, but none of their "Big Three" is known for defense or rebounding, and the Heat’s frontcourt is undersized, at least compared with the Lakers or Celtics.
The Celtics got bigger during the off season by adding Jermaine O’Neal and Shaquille O’Neal, but they also got older. So the Heat should be able to reach the Finals, but the Lakers are still bigger and have a deeper roster than Miami. Advantage, L.A.
K.C. Johnson, Chicago Tribune
The Miami Heat will be like a car accident this season: Whether you love or hate them, you won't be able to take your eyes off them. And that's because their wild success won't be accidental but spectacular. There's simply no way a team with two top-five players and a third All-Star can't have a wildly successful regular season. Though the Lakers will still win another championship, the Heat has enough firepower---and smart role-player signings---to win the Eastern Conference. Somewhat lost in the controversial fashion with which LeBron James left the Cavaliers is that he is an gifted, able and willing passer. He and Dwyane Wade will create frightening matchup problems for any defense. The only reason the Heat won't win it all is because of a lack of size and some question marks defensively. But they certainly will be successful and entertaining along the way.
Brian Schmitz, Orlando Sentinel
Seriously, does it matter how the Heat do this season?
They'll eventually win titles, maybe right out of the box if the stars, ankles and egos remain aligned.
At worse, the Heat of LeBron James and Dwyane Wade might only have to wait for Kobe Bryant to lose a step before they can talk dynasty.
No, here's the thing: The Heat will be one of the most captivating topics in modern sports history, beginning with Tuesday's camp opening and running through, oh, the year 2020.
We've never seen anything quite like this: Young superstars joining forces in the most monstrous media age, an adjunct Dream Team leaving us all a-Twitter.
I'm telling you right now: The Heat are bigger than Justin Beiber.
Ethan J. Skolnick, South Florida Sun Sentinel
How can this not succeed, from the start?
Egos? Chris Bosh and LeBron James knew what this entailed, when they signed. It meant they had to salary space, and the ball. All of their games are complementary. James loves to pass. Dwyane Wade is an elite finisher.
Depth? The Heat doesn't have stars beyond the "Big Three," but it has functional--and in some cases, versatile--parts.
Motivation? Please. As Pat Riley said this week, sometimes it's better for opponents to keep quiet. But they can't help themselves. That chatter, and the playoff atmosphere in every building, will push the Heat to play hard throughout the 82.
So there's no question the Heat will be good enough to cruise to at least 60 wins, and to take out the likes of Boston and Orlando and Chicago in the East's playoff bracket.
The Lakers in the Finals? That's no given. But a loss to Los Angeles, in a competitive series, wouldn't signal a failure. It would just lead to greater motivation for the second season, after Riley spends the offseason (and the mid-level exception) searching for more support.
Caption: LeBron James (left) and Dwyane Wade at the Heat's Fan Fest in July. James and fellow All-Star Chris Bosh joined the team in the offseason, making the Heat the early favorites in the Eastern Conference. Credit: J. Pat Carter / Associated Press