The Heat Is On

The first is experience. Other than Wade, who won the title in 2006 against Dallas, nobody else on the Heat has the experience to compete with the championship caliber players that litters the Los Angeles roster. Chris Bosh is certainly an All-Star player, and LeBron James is arguably the best player on the planet, but neither have been able to lead their team when it matters most. This is a trait that is learned through experience, and the Lakers have the upper-hand in this particular category.

Miami Heat's Dwayne Wade (L) and Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James shake hands following their NBA basketball game in Miami, Florida in this February 1, 2007 file photo. James said Thursday he is leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers to join forces with fellow All-Stars Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh at the Miami Heat next season in the hope of winning an elusive NBA championship.  REUTERS/Brian Snyder  (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)

The truly alarming thing in all of this, however, is that the Miami Heat roster isn’t even set in stone yet. They still have over half the roster to sign, meaning this task could get much more formidable as more players begin their pilgrimage to the newly appointed Mecca of basketball. Much like Gary Payton and Karl Malone in 2004, veteran players in search of the ring may flock to Miami in an attempt to ride along with the so-called ‘Miami Thrice.’

A positive note for the rest of the league, however, is that the Payton/Malone experiment in 2004 failed for Los Angeles.

So while the challenge of defeating the Heat is already sizable, it could very well get worse. It already has begun in some cases, as late last night free agent guard Mike Miller also threw in his lot with the Heat.

Miami isn’t the only team that still has a chance to sure up the supporting cast. The Lakers still have several open roster spots that have been linked through rumor and speculation with various free agents around the league. If Los Angeles is able to bring in reserve players such as Matt Barnes, Raja Bell, or Louis Amundson they could very well have enough talent to overtake the top-heavy Miami Heat.

Next: The Prodigal Fish and the Missing Puzzle Pieces…

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