If you are not sure what to leave with from the NBA Finals, let me make it very clear:
It takes a team, not a group of individuals, to be a champion.
Public Enemy #1 since last July, Miami was the perfect punching bag, err, team, for the Mavericks to face in route to their first-ever title. LeBron James and Chris Bosh viewed Dwayne Wade and his Miami Heat as an advance-to-go monopoly card; the best and quickest way to a championship.
While we watched one of the better NBA Finals in recent history, we saw a group unified stand tall against a threesome with little to no supporting cast. Wade put on the Superman cape and did his best, but couldn’t do it alone as even sporting a Robin costume was too much for Baby Bron Bron, who scored an impressive 18 points in six fourth quarters this series (That attack mode James spoke of, glad he teased us and kept it in the cage).
This isn’t about Miami anyways, even if Bron Bron gives us plenty to mock and ridicule (mocking Dirk with the flu, another time for that discussion). The moment belongs to Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavericks.
Nowitzki had been receiving ample criticism for having yet won a championship coming into his 13<sup>th</sup> season. A free agent as well last summer (Bron Bron in fact, wasn’t the only one), Nowitzki resigned with Dallas, remaining confident that the right pieces were in place to win a championship. You know what they say, if you build it, the title will come. Nowitzki and James were both without a title coming into this series, and now who is the one still waiting?
It’s not the guy who kept his talents in Dallas.
Dallas may have been out-starred in this series, with only one all star compared to three, but we saw a team that is eight, nine deep run down a team that is a bit top-heavy.
Nowitzki led the way and without him a championship is not in the discussion. However, he had two defensive stoppers around the hoop in Tyson Chandler and Brendan Haywood. He had a veteran leader in Jason Kidd, whose skills may have declined, but the man can shoot with the best of them and can make the smart play. Jason Terry is instant offense off the bench while Shawn Marion was admirable in being a pest in James’ side while providing offense as well, averaging 13.7 points per game. DeShawn Stevenson and Brian Cardinal too were valuable in spurts.
And there lies the anatomy of a championship team; players with particular skills, making contributions within their respective roles. Take a look at the team Dallas took down.
Might you say a smidge different?
Three all-star players can certainly make up for many shortcomings. That is, if they are all playing out of their minds. Wade was, Bosh served his purpose, and James’ contributions are debatable. His numbers may seem solid, but it seemed clear that the guy hid behind Wade once the fourth quarter came around, which is what he wanted when he left Cleveland, but everyone will still be expecting greatness. Heck, I’m not sure if you can say James was good in these Finals post-third quarter.
But that’s it.
Mario Chalmers provided some space on the floor with his outside shooting, averaging 10 points a game. The other five Heat players who saw the floor averaged a combined 17.1 points per game.
That supporting cast will not win any awards under any circumstances.
These NBA Finals gave us more than we could’ve asked for. We saw Nowitzki, the greatest international player in NBA history, lock up his legacy with a championship, the only thing left to accomplish along with another future Hall of Famer in Kidd win his first title. We saw a series which was epic for almost its entirety with the exception of Game 1. Dallas’ championship prevented the Heat from validating the circus act that was last summer, a victory for all outside of South Beach. Lastly, and most importantly, we were reminded what it takes to win a championship.
A team, not a group of individuals.
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