Major Roster Upheaval Nothing New for the Miami Heat
The Heat can attest to the difficulties of trying to mesh players in a short amount of time under the spotlight. Before facing the new-look New York Knicks on Sunday, the team encountered a Washington Wizards team that has been in constant change each time they've played against them with Gilbert Arenas, Rashard Lewis, Mike Bibby, Kirk Hinrich and others shuffled in and out of the roster.
"These are the challenges in this league," said Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, who's had to face plenty of criticism this season while trying to manage a new team with big personalities as one of the youngest coaches in the NBA. "We have ultimate respect for every opponent. Even the Wizards coming in here, they've been through a lot of injuries and a lot of change but now you can see what they're building around. They have a lot of interesting young talent."
For the Knicks, the goal of adding superstar talent after disciplining themselves to refrain from wildly spending has paid off in surprisingly quick fashion after losing out to LeBron James, their No. 1 target last summer, to the Heat. Nevertheless, the acquisition of Carmelo Anthony came at a huge cost and the glacial pace in which trade talks progressed so late into the season has robbed the team of precious time to jell together. With two All-Stars who must now learn to share the spotlight in New York, Dwyane Wade had the benefit of already having gone through the experience after Shaquille O'Neal was brought in early into his career. Even still, growing pains are still evident as he continues to get accustomed to playing with LeBron James and Chris Bosh.
"They're going to face some ups and downs throughout this year," Wade said. "They have to get used to playing with each other. At the same time, you have to keep both of them happy and get them in their comfort zones. That's going to be the toughest part for coach (Mike) D'Antoni. Melo is going to shoot his shots. No one's going to stop Melo from shooting his shots. But (D'Antoni) is one of the best offensive minds that we have in this game."
Spoelstra also gave his peer a vote of confidence that the Knicks can sort themselves out in quick fashion, especially on the offensive side of the court.
"If any coach can handle that, he's proven that he's done it before," he said. "In Phoenix they had multiple scorers and were able to find enough balance. It was never an issue really and they scored a lot of points. I anticipate they'll do the same. When you're on the other side of it, you see the talent they have and the ability they have to score and put pressure on the defense."
Perhaps no player has endured as much as criticism, right or wrong, as Bosh has after leaving the Toronto Raptors as their leader in virtually every major statistical category. With the Heat struggling against the top teams in the league, Bosh's words serve as a reminder that his own team still has a lot of questions about themselves that remain unresolved to this day.
"Things are going to be a little different," he said. "I'm sure (the Knicks) are going to have some chemistry kinks to work out. They're still a dangerous team and they have a lot of talent.
"But you never know a team's true potential until they're put in different situations or if they go on a streak or if it's going to work at all. They have their work cut out for them."
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