LeBron James asked, “Why not us?” in regards to the Miami Heat becoming the first team in 32 tries to overcome a 3-1 NBA Finals deficit. The easy answer is that there was no “us” and there was no “we.” Not because the team did not try to win, but because they tried to do too many things.
Ray Allen found himself trying to put the ball on the floor and carry the team, Dwyane Wade refused to accept that he was no longer a qualified second fiddle, and Erik Spoelstra found himself so caught up in the genius role, that he didn’t even think to play a scorer when the ex-champs couldn’t score. And that’s not counting the rest of the roster that seemed to forget their roles — or just couldn’t fit into them.
In that case, Pat Riley’s offseason was as big of a failure as the Heat’s postseason, which in essence is what James said from the loser’s side of the podium:
“Obviously, we would need to get better from every facet, every position. It’s just how the league works.”
In other words, the Chosen One is in need of more help and by opting out, he has the leverage to force the organization into whatever direction he wants them to go in — with the contribution of Chris Bosh and Wade, of course.
If all works out, Riley and the South Beach Heat will retool and get better, turning the embarrassment of Game 3, Game 4 and Game 5 into a hunger for rings, just like they did after their 2011 Finals loss.
I know that it is weird to think of a letdown as a blessing in disguise, but at this point, forcing change can only be positive — unless that includes James.