The Miami Heat has had to deal with tough losses after LeBron James left for Cleveland, and Dwyane Wade to Chicago. But looking back, Pat Riley believes Shaq, who played for the team through 2004-2008 was even bigger than the big three, which included Chris Bosh.
Erik Spoelstra has finally spoken about losing Dwyane Wade, and is all about accepting change and keeping up a positive outlook regardless of the players they have in their roster. The Heat is in a transition period where youth will be a key, injecting more energy and maximizing on the defensive end.
Chris Bosh medical status is still unknown, and the Heat basically remains a faceless team moving forward.
However, to Riley, one couldn’t help but acknowledge the huge difference each player has on a team. Game strategies, outlooks aside, some players are just better than others, and he feels when the team acquired Shaq it turned around the franchise’s future for the better.
According to a report by the Sun Sentinel Pat Riley said, “Shaq’s acquisition was bigger than any acquisition that we ever made, including the Big Three (LeBron James, Dwyane Wade & Chris Bosh)…getting Shaquille changed everything for our franchise.” This outpour of praise came despite having only won one championship run with their former big man.
Will this spark a new rivalry in the future? For now, in spite of Erik Spoelstra’s best intentions of reviving his team with a handful of young players, the Heat is far from being a threat to LeBron James and the defending champion Cavaliers.
Interestingly enough, a report by Fan Sided points out that the Heat is better off without Dwyane Wade, supporting its conjecture with On/Off stats and a bunch of numbers.
Although the numbers do seem to support the idea that with Dwyane Wade on the court the Heat was outscoring opposition less, versus his absence with Goran Dragic and Whiteside running their game, it’s still hard to believe that the team is better off without Wade.
A lot of things could be said in defense of Wade, such as his game not matching well with the rest of the core group, his pairing with Goran Dragic whose skillset didn’t complement his in style.
If this tells us anything, it’s something we already know- that greatness can’t be measured.
Photo Courtesy: Keith Allison/ Flickr