LeBron James is on a mission.
Through the Miami Heat‘s first nine games, James ranks number one in the NBA in scoring with an average of 30.1 points per game, second in field goal percentage making 60.1% of his attempts, fourth in steals with 2.0 per game, ninth in assists at 7.6 per game. He also averages 7.6 rebounds a game, which ranks 27th in the league.
Throw in the added support from a stellar Miami cast, which lost nothing in the offseason, and you have a recipe for a repeat visit to the NBA Finals. So why will the Heat take home the Larry O’Brien Trophy this time?
To best answer this question, one must consider the two biggest obstacles from last season:
– New head coach
Erik Spoelstra was not only in his first year as the Miami Heat head coach, but in his first year as a head coach in general.
At times, it was apparent that Spoelstra was searching for his groove and struggled with game-time decisions. Add in the fact that he had to gain the respect and trust of three all-star talents, while trying to find places for the role players and the Miami Heat’s run to the NBA Finals last season was phenomenal.
With a year now under his belt, Spoelstra will be able to rely on experience, which includes a hotly contested series in the Finals. How many coaches can claim that first year luxury?
– Team Chemistry
Last season was the first time LeBron, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh had played on the same NBA team. Many people argued whether or not the three could co-exist at all, and not just before the season tipped off. Talks of different line-ups and who the real leader of the team was were season long topics.
I believe the answer to this question is simple. LeBron is the leader. Wade and Bosh are both highly skilled second fiddles and that dynamic has been displayed early this year with great results.
The Miami Heat are 8-1 and, apart from a home loss Monday, January 3 to the Atlanta Hawks, have looked dominant against some good talent already.
If the Miami Heat can stay healthy, I don’t see another team in the NBA this season with the man power to stop them from achieving their immediate goal of winning the NBA championship title in 2012.