Chemistry is a key component to success in any sports league, especially basketball and the NBA. It doesn’t matter how long the franchise has existed, how much money the owner has or how many fans follow the team. No one can expect five guys to play well with one another right off the get-go. Look at teams like the Brooklyn Nets or New York Knicks; they look great on paper, but all that star power and money can’t forge chemistry.
The Miami Heat are no different as Pat Riley, Erik Spoelstra and the “Big 3″ have worked hard to mesh together three superstars and surround them with suitable role players. After three years of agonizing scrutiny and over-analysis, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh have figured out how to make it work. However, it is a constant struggle to figure out the chemistry of the defending champs.
With three Finals appearances and two championships Miami continues to build and adjust chemistry, but this season has been more difficult. Wade has been in and out of the starting lineup as he continues to rehab and rest his pesky knees. The guard has missed four of 18 games this year, and Miami has struggled to make the correct adjustments when needed. In the midst of a five game winning streak, Wade returned after missing two games and the Heat nearly lost to the Orlando Magic, but held on 101-99.
Wade then put together a consistent four game streak where he averaged around 20 points per game. In that time, Miami increased their win streak to 10 games. “Flash” sat Tuesday night’s game and watched Miami fall to the Detroit Pistons, 107-97.
It is clear that there are some issues when it comes to Spoelstra’s approach to Wade. There’s no question that he needs rest here and there, but it is costing the team’s chemistry in return. It takes a game or two to adjust to the absence of a star player and it also takes to to adjust to their return. Miami had grown used to playing without Wade and then he returned. Once they had hit their stride with Wade he misses a game and the Heat lose.
I’m not much of a gambling man, but I would avoid placing any bets on Wade’s first game back or his first game out. Spoelstra will have to continue to tread lightly on this subject all season. The delicate balance of chemistry is tough for any coach or team to master, and with the constant changes to the lineup and rotation it is even harder for a team to mesh. Miami will have to find a plan that is best for both the team and Wade.