Bleacher Report

Posted: April 30, 2017 in Basketball, NBA, News, Opinion, Sports
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Miami’s Vice: LeBron James and the Heat Must Overcome Their Weaknesses

Kirk Jackson January 18, 2017

MIAMI, FL - JUNE 12:  LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat looks on as Dwyane Wade stands in the background against the Dallas Mavericks in Game Six of the 2011 NBA Finals at American Airlines Arena on June 12, 2011 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

He was what they wanted. One of the most sought-out free agents in NBA history, LeBron James was the answer to all of the questions.

Serving as one of the game’s most dynamic players, he was the key piece to the puzzle.

But like a vice, it can be something you desire, but ultimately wrong for you.

Closing out.

A major issue following James’ career is the inability to finish teams off, consistently rise to the occasion and be a clutch player in the fourth quarter.

Kryptonite to Superman.

Throughout the regular season, the Miami Heat struggled beating the upper-echelon teams and particularly had a hard time closing teams out as well.

Critics placed the blame in many areas, and for the last 12 months, this team has been dissected over and over by NBA analysts and casual fans alike.

Yes, they lack a formidable center. They do not have an effective point guard, and they lack overall depth and bench production.

Even with those flaws, they still have two top ten players with James and Dwyane Wade, and they have a top 15 player in Chris Bosh.

They have a bright, young head coach in Erik Spoelstra, who preaches defense first.

The Heat organization is run by Pat Riley, who by the way put this entire show together. Riley has reached success as a player, coach and general manager.

So honestly, it should be only a matter of time before things fall into place. It’s not guaranteed, but the future may bring many accolades and championships for the Heat organization in the coming years.

But we are in the present.

This may be an overstated point, but the main issue of the Miami Heat is LeBron James.

As good as he is, there are some flaws from the supposed “Chosen One.”

James is one of the most talented players in the NBA today, especially at his position of small forward, possessing the passing ability and speed of a guard, with the strength of a power forward.

Over the years, James has worked on his craft, developing more of a consistent jump shot and becoming a better defender.

Even with the steady improvements of his overall game, James still has a long way to go if he wants to be a complete player mentally and even physically.

From a physical standpoint, James can learn to develop a post game a la Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant.

The post game was beneficial to Jordan and Bryant, especially during the twilight years of their respective careers, as Bryant is still writing the final chapters to his illustrious story.

The post game allowed them to remain effective from the scoring aspect of the game despite losing some speed and athleticism, which happens to fade as you get older.

Remember, athleticism fades, but fundamentals remain.

Although James lacks the dexterity and footwork of Jordan and Bryant, he can still learn some moves and can become a dangerous threat in the post.

James is stronger than most wing players, and if the opposing teams decides to place a power forward or center on James, he is quick enough to take advantage and blow by the mismatch.

Often referred to as the lost art of basketball, an effective mid-range game can work wonders for James.

It would be beneficial for James if he also learned how to play without the ball.

Deemed by many as a “point forward,” James is accustomed to dominating the ball.

The problem is the Heat have another perimeter player with Wade, who is also accustomed to having the ball in his hands.

It’s a problem that has plagued the Heat all year long, as they searched to find some form of chemistry on the offensive end.

They did quite well their first year to reach the NBA Finals, and if they can figure out that problem, there will obviously be more fluidity with the team offense, and in turn a more efficient team.

Learning a mid-range game, learning how to be effective without dominating the ball and developing a post game will go along way for LeBron.

The most crucial aspect is the pending maturity of James. He cannot allow pride to get in the way of working on his weaknesses.

The Miami Heat team displayed arrogance and immaturity throughout the course of this season.

Excessive celebrations, idiotic comments, mocking other players, a lack of accountability, all issues for the Heat this year.

It’s no secret James did not perform well in the Finals. Especially late down the stretch of games, James faded, reminiscent of his performances the last couple years in Cleveland.

Everyone fails at some point in life. In some way or another, we have all faced failure, even at a professional level. But the biggest thing for LeBron is he hasn’t learned to accept responsibility for his failures.

James is not responsible for everything, but he has played a part in his failures of the past, and certainly contributed to his recent failure of falling short in the NBA Finals. It happens, he just needs to take responsibility and be accountable.

He wrongfully used his teammates in Cleveland as scapegoats, and it was the main reason “The Decision” came to fruition.

But playing with two all-stars, it’s hard to make the same argument he made in Cleveland.

Maybe in time, James will mature more as a person, which will in turn help him as a player. I would love to see the transformation, and it will definitely benefit him down the road.

To be fair, other players of similar stature had to go through the same maturation process in order to realize their full potential. Hopefully, that is the case with James, until that happens, it will just be a vice.


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