Dare we dream? The Heat missing the playoffs?

Discussion in 'Pistons and NBA' started by Dumars4Ever, Nov 24, 2006.

  1. Dumars4Ever

    Dumars4Ever Bench Warmer

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    ESPN's John Hollinger thinks they're in bigger trouble than almost anyone else does:

    That's the beginning of the article--the full thing is only available to ESPN Insiders. I'll quote a bit more from it below. Also note that the Heat are 4-7 at the time I'm posting this; they've been blown out on the road by the Hornets and the Spurs since Hollinger's article was posted.

    Hollinger points out that the Heat have already been blown out three times at home, "including a 24-point pounding by the Knicks that will provide about 75 percent of the material for New York's postseason highlight video." They're last in the league both in scoring and in point differential. Hollinger slams Riles for not making any moves in the off-season:

    All that plus Shaq's fat-a*$ quite possibly getting even fatter while he sits out with his injury. Hollinger also talks about how Riles doesn't have any other options besides what he's doing, which is "going ugly," slowing the pace down, packing the lane, and hoping that the other team misses enough of their jumpers to allow the Heat to steal their wins late. He points out that they won in Atlanta last week only because the Hawks went 3-24 on threes, with most of them being wide-open. He ends the article by saying:

    It's hard for me to reach that extreme a conclusion. Their roster does seem to be terrible all of a sudden, but can they really go from winning it all one season to missing the playoffs (in a weak conference, no less) with the exact same bunch of guys? And while Shaq's absence is obviously a big concern for them, he missed 23 games last season as well, but they still finished second in the East at 52-30.

    Looking over the history of league champions and their performance in the next season, there have been only two instances when the defending champ actually missed the playoffs the next year: the '99 Bulls and the '70 Celtics. We all remember what had happened with that Bulls roster, and the Celtics that year were in the first season of the post-Bill Russell era. So for a defending champ to bring everyone back and miss the playoffs is literally unprecedented. That's largely why I don't think it's going to happen. But, Hollinger makes a good case for why it might. Let's hope his crystal ball is accurate!

    For the contrary view, acknowledging some of the same numbers but still concluding that the Heat are the favorites in the East, see this from Ian Thomsen of CNNSI.
  2. Darth Tater

    Darth Tater All-Star Forum Donor 6x Fantasy Champion

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    Dare we dream? LOL. We've got our own troubles bro. The last thing I care about is whether or not the Heat make the playoffs. If we aren't there or if we lose in the first round it won't matter anyhow, will it?
  3. Dumars4Ever

    Dumars4Ever Bench Warmer

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    Yeah, but the Pistons have looked a lot better in the last week or so. Obviously there are still issues, but it's night and day from the shellackings they took at home against the Bucks and on the road against the Warriors. It's very early in the season to be drawing any long-term conclusions, but objectively speaking, the Heat really do look a lot worse right now than we do.
  4. Dlev59

    Dlev59 Bench Warmer Moderator

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    That would be wonderful not seeing D Wade in the playoffs this year. It would almost guarantee retirement for Shaq, and Riley would perhaps give the coaching duties back to Van Gundy.

    I don`t see it happening. Remember this is the EC. You can hover around 500, even dip below and still make the playoffs. The Heat will at least be a 500 team.

    Moreover, Stern would change the rules to ensure Wade would play at least one series in the post season.

    As great as it sounds, the Heat will make the playoffs but another Ship. no way..........
  5. TWOTIMESRALPHI

    TWOTIMESRALPHI Starter 3x Fantasy Champion Forum Donor

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    From the Thomsen (correction by Dumars4ever) article:
    This is more than questionable- Wade should be Walker's Paul Pierce who draws attention when taking it to the hoop- and still, Walker plays the worst basketball ever. He doesn't make his shots, doesn't rebound well and even doesn't his his free throws. He has turned into a very mediocre player. Maybe because he was relying on Wade and Shaq to keep things going and get him a ring. He's absolutely inconsistent and unable to take responsibility during a game. I remember, last year, I thought "damn, the heat have a nice roster"- but this season they're the perfect example of how weak your roster can become if you let all your opponents become better while you remain stagnant.
    A similar thing happened to us (except that we even didn't keep the roster intact but became weaker!).
  6. Dumars4Ever

    Dumars4Ever Bench Warmer

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    Ralphi, that bit you quoted is from the Thomsen article, where he argues that the Heat are still the favorites in the East. Hollinger would presumably agree with your negative outlook on Employee #8.

    Maybe Thomsen should take another look at his argument, since it does rely in part on assuming that Toine will successfully take on a leadership role! :laugh:
  7. aurora

    aurora Bench Warmer

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    Wait, is this new? Pat Riley ugly ball beat Flip Saunders jumpshooting ball last time around didn't it? I wouldn't bet against Pat Riley. Either as GM or head coach. I think championship hangover + aging veteran role players and a Pat Riley who may be eager to get back to GMing and rebuilding now that he got them their championship. Besides, he can still make some moves during the season to get some role player support for Wade and Shaq/Zo.

    Don't get me wrong. I hate this team. I didn't think I could see anything less aesthetically pleasing basketballwise than the 2004 Laker team and then there was this one. At least that Laker team had Kobe being Kobe. Hollinger acts like "going ugly" is a new concept for this team. I was nauseated that they won the championship against Dallas. However ugly they were, they played some defense that worked against their opponents. And the Pistons certainly were not able to get important stops on them.

    Flip Saunders strategy this year:"Shoot better, you guys. If you guys would just listen to me and shoot better, we could beat Miami this year."

    I'd still put my money on Riles, if he can get over HIS championship hangover.
  8. Dumars4Ever

    Dumars4Ever Bench Warmer

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    You're right to some extent, but the Heat's pace this year is way below what it was last year. Their points per game so far is about 10 below their average from last season.

    Hollinger got pretty specific about this in his article:

  9. linwood

    linwood All-Star

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    I think when it counts the Heat will be right back in it. Between a healthy, rested Shaq and Wade's amazing free throw shooting ability, I expect they will start putting it together in the second half of the season. Riley knows what he's doing, and the Heat only have to win their division, not the East. I also don't expect that Orlando will end up first in the East either.
  10. MotownPride

    MotownPride Starter 2x Fantasy Champion

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    No chance Miami misses the playoffs.

    Wade is an elite player. He will make the players around him better. He did it prior to Shaq his rookie season and he will do it again.

    Besides, life for the Pistons would never be that easy. :)
  11. Dumars4Ever

    Dumars4Ever Bench Warmer

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    I saw bits and pieces of Miami's loss to Orlando last night, flipping over occasionally during the Pistons game. Dorrell Wright and Jason Kapono both started and had very productive games for the Heat. J-Will is still out, but if last night is an indication, it appears that Riles has benched Fatoine and The Geriatric Glove, moved Wade over to PG, and started Kapono at the 2. Wright for Antoine might be a more long-term switch in the line-up as well. Those two young guys combined for 27 points, with Wade dishing out 15 assists. The Heat still lost, but from what I could tell, they looked sort of mediocre, not horrible. Perhaps the youth infusion will give them a jump-start until Shaq returns.
  12. webz

    webz All-Star Administrator 2x Fantasy Champion Forum Donor

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    Miami should still make the playoffs. Only 4 teams in the east are currently over .500. Whatever happened to the East becoming the more dominant conference?? Sad state of affairs...

    Maybe Stern won't care as much about Wade's team sucking if LeBron's are winning. He only needs 1 of those guys to win the championship.

    Interesting stat:
    Combined games under .500
    West - 10 games (Memphis 6, Seattle 2, Minnesota 1, Portland 1)
    East - 42 games (Too many to list)
  13. jzchen

    jzchen Bench Warmer Forum Donor

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    Is there any team in history that misses the playoffs following the year winning it all???
  14. webz

    webz All-Star Administrator 2x Fantasy Champion Forum Donor

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    98-99 Bulls were the most recent I can think of in that shortened season.
  15. Dumars4Ever

    Dumars4Ever Bench Warmer

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    As I said in my first post of this thread:

    Looking over the history of league champions and their performance in the next season, there have been only two instances when the defending champ actually missed the playoffs the next year: the '99 Bulls and the '70 Celtics. We all remember what had happened with that Bulls roster, and the Celtics that year were in the first season of the post-Bill Russell era. So for a defending champ to bring everyone back and miss the playoffs is literally unprecedented.
  16. jzchen

    jzchen Bench Warmer Forum Donor

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    Let's hope HISTORY is in the makin'....:pound:
  17. Dumars4Ever

    Dumars4Ever Bench Warmer

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    I thought it made sense to resurrect this thread, with Riley's indefinite leave-of-absence for knee surgery being discussed in the general NBA season thread. As things stand when I post this, the Heat are 13-18, and they're starting a 6-game road trip out West tomorrow night at Phoenix. I'm not sure what the status of Wade's wrist injury is, though I think he's been listed as day-to-day, so I'm guessing he'll be back before the road trip ends. There are also some reports that Shaq might return during this road trip as well.

    So, can the Heat actually miss the playoffs? In the underwhelming Eastern conference, the only way that seems possible is if the current playoff picture continues to hold through the end of the season. Namely, the Heat would have to finish behind:
    • The entire Central division (5 teams, with Milwaukee in last place, currently at .500)
    • In their own division, the Magic and the Wizards
    That would be enough to keep Miami out of the playoffs, even if they finish with a better record than everyone in the pathetic Titanic division, because division winners automatically make the playoffs regardless of record. If the Heat manage to pass either the Magic, the Wiz, or any team in the Central, they would surely be in the playoffs...unless TWO teams from the Titanic finish ahead of them, which seems wildly unlikely in that case.

    As Marc Stein points out here, the Heat finish with 36 out of their last 45 games against the East, once they finish their West Coast trip. If they lose ALL of their games on this trip, they'd be stuck in a big hole at 13-24. But if they went 28-17 the rest of the way after that, they'd still finish the season at .500. Plus, if Wade and/or Shaq returns during this road trip, they probably won't lose all 6 of those games.

    Stein's conclusion seems like the right thing to point out as of now:

    Still, there are only so many holes a contending team can dig itself into without doing serious damage to its championship prospects. Missing the playoffs still seems highly unlikely for these guys, but they're going to have a steep hill to climb up in order to be in top form once the playoffs start. Stein mentions how much they coasted through last year's regular season before turning it on in the playoffs, but they still ended up with 50 wins last year and had the second seed in the playoffs. This year, they might have to start playing the better teams in the conference right out of the gate in the post-season.
  18. crumbs

    crumbs First Round Draft Pick

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  19. Slippy

    Slippy All-Star Administrator Forum Donor

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    Something must really be wrong over there if stuff like that is happening.

    Jason Kapono leading the team in scoring?? Props to my fellow HAAAAAwaiian! Hopefully they struggle all year.
  20. lazyberbs

    lazyberbs First Round Draft Pick

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    I have been thinking a lot about the Pistons meeting the Magic in the ECS, so I wrote to my old buddy, Herr Stern. He said he would change
    some more rules to make that happen :gun1: -------- :stirthepot: !!

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