Today TheLongTalk read an article about the Miami Heat and there chances of surpassing the 95-96 Bulls. It was a fine article that made valid points about the low probability of Miami Thrice exceeding 72 wins.
The article focused on; Expectations (external pressure), Chemistry (on court compatibility), Leadership (from within), and Luck (in regards to injuries), comparing and contrasting the two teams in each category. It covered all of that ground remarkable well, but TLT felt it was missing one little thing… Motivation.
Do the Miami Heat want to win 72 games? Is that a goal they’ve set for themselves, because if it isn’t, then your record is safe Bulls fans.
Now TheLongTalk will admit the Heat have a remarkably talented team, the sort of team that might be able to sniff 72 if they make it a priority, but they are not even close to talented enough to achieve it without trying.
Compare the Two Teams with an Eye on 72…
– Ron Harper is a better PG then either Chalmers or Arroyo
– Michael Jordan is light years better then Wade (Does that even need to be said?)
– Scottie is a better Robin then LeBron
Explain: It’s important for a sidekick to know he’s a sidekick… and Scottie Pippin knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that he was Robin. He played second fiddle better then anyone in the league. LeBron has never played second fiddle in his life… ever.
– Rodman is a better fit for a team that wants 72 wins then Bosh
Explain: Rodman took what he could get and that was rebounds… nearly 15 of them a game. He shut down the opponents low post scorer, he did the dirty work, and he loved it. TLT doesn’t think Bosh is made that way.
– Luc Longley could play circles around any Center the Heat have on their roster.
– TheLongTalk won’t go into the bench situation except to say; Kerr/House, Kukoc/Miller.
But none of the above comparisons matter unless the Motivation is there. Does TheLongTalk think that the 95-96 Bulls set out to win 72 games… no. TheLongTalk thinks the 95-96 Bulls set out to win 82 games.
TheLongTalk suspects that sometimes… late at night… Michael Jordan thinks about the 6 point lose to Orlando early in the season or the 1 point lose to Indiana right before it ended… about how close he was to 74… to 75 if they hadn’t dropped a stinker at The Garden… to 76 if they’d been able to get 2 more against the Hornets.
That Motivation to win every night was there for the Bulls, they had it… TheLongTalk doesn’t think the Heat do.
Sports culture has changed and now days winning it all is all there is. Which strangely enough means more losing.
What NBA team hasn’t given away a game or 6 at the end of a long season? What MLB team hasn’t phoned in a few once they’d locked up that 4th seed? For goodness sakes the 2009 Colts walked away from the possibly of perfection in exchange for a couple of extra minutes rest… that makes TheLongTalk sick.
Sure not every team will have a chance at greatness and sure it’s not always necessary to leave every drop on the court. It does make sense to plan for the playoffs… but when perfection or a new level of success or an ancient record is within reach YOU GO FOR IT!
That’s why TheLongTalk loves the 2007 Patriots. They went for it and even thought they came up a Hail Mary Pass and Holy Crap Catch Short, no one can say they didn’t try.
Will the Heat try for 73? Will they push the injury prone Wade to his limits for a regular season win against the Bucks in late March? Will Bosh want to rack up the minutes needed to make 74 happen? Will The King think it’s worth it to go after 75?
Do the Miami Heat have the Motivation it requires to win 72? We’ll find out.
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