Published early April 2012.
If the Miami Heat don't win the title this year, blame Chris Bosh. He is the weakest link of the trio of stars playing full-time in South Beach. In fact, he is so much of a weak link, that he will be traded for sure by the middle of next season.
The Miami Heat are built to win now. As great as LeBron is and has been, even the King will wear down over time.
Dwayne Wade has already shown the propensity for wearing down, with occasional stints on the DL or little injuries that cause burnout.
These two guys are the greatest two athletes on any NBA team, or were they? OKC has something to say about it.
Durant and Westbrook look like a shoe-in to play the Heat in the Finals. They might be the best pair of athletes and basketball players to grace the NBA this year over Wade and James.
And, their surrounding crew is more impressive than the Heat's. They have all the details needed for a championship run.
They have perennial 6th Man of the Year candidate, James Harden, an enforcer in Kendrick Perkins, the leading shot-blocker in Serge Ibaka and a bench with all sorts of role players, including a tall, wiry white-guy willing to do his best Kurt Rambis imitation, Nick Collison.
The Thunder are dialed in and wired for a horse race to the finish line. They've covered all the basics and don't appear to have any obvious weaknesses. They even lead the league in free-throw percentage.
The threat of the Capital city to thwart Miami in the Finals is a likely possibility, unless Bosh can learn to play like he used to when he had dreads.
He doesn't have time enough to get the free-flowing braids back for the playoffs though, so Miami's chances don't look too good.
Bosh has not worked out in the Heat's favor like they thought he would. Maybe he has nice numbers; he's averaging 18 and 8. But, for 16 million a year, it seems like something's missing besides the hair.
Could Dwight Howard end up in a Miami Heat uniform next year, with Bosh and others (maybe Chalmers) going to Orlando?
As next season pushes through towards the trade deadline, this scenario could become more likely.
Howard and James need their hardware and Wade understands that they are the best out there at their positions, so, of course, he's all-in with them.
All of this pressure is simmering up just because some GM in tornado alley figured out how to assemble a great professional team around all-Pro Kevin Durant.
Some players would refuse to play in low-profile cities, like LeBron in Cleveland, Chris Paul in New Orleans or how Howard treats Orlando.
Durant is putting OKC on the map like David Robinson did with San Antonio and Karl Malone did with Utah.