Thursday, March 31, 2011

MLB 2011: Philadelphia Phillies road to World Series Favorites

Don't let last night's snow fall in the Northeast fool you. Today is opening day for the 2011 MLB baseball season. This is the moment when 30 teams get a fresh start which means high hopes for up-and-comer's and high expectations for contenders. This is the day when singing "Take me out to the ball game" is refreshing rather than a tedious formality.

The Philadelphia Phillies are the favorites to come out of the National League and for good reason. Even with injuries to second baseman Chase Utley and closer Brad Lidge, one of the greatest pitching staff's ever assembled should be able to weather the storm until these key players return to the lineup.

Looking back over the past few seasons, it's hard not to marvel at how the Phillies have gotten to this place, the land of consistent contenders, of favorites and front runners. The Phillies look to make their third World Series appearance in four years tomorrow when they face the Houston Astros. It's strange enough to say, let alone write that the Phillies are picked to go back to the World Series. A place foreign to most clubs have become a second home for the Phils, a familiar destination where landing anywhere else would seem like they jumped on the wrong flight.

But, I remember a time when the Phillies weren't the talk of ESPN or a top every analyst's power rankings. After the 1993 World Series heart breaker to the Toronto Blue Jays, the seasons that followed were ones to forget. Fans suffered through the seven consecutive years of finishing under 80 wins and 13 straight seasons without a post-season appearance. We had our franchise player Scott Rolen say we weren't committed to winning (he eats crow now every day), and fiery manager Larry Bowa who got us close, but not over the hump.

We experienced Ex-General Manager Ed Wade, although loathed by fans, drafting All Star second baseman Chase Utley, MVP first baseman Ryan Howard and World Series MVP Cole Hamels. He also hired manager Charlie Manuel. He set in motion the new positive direction for the Phillies which Pat Gillick continued and Ruben Amaro Jr carries out today.

A Winter to Remember

Winter baseball talk was dominated by superstar free-agent potential destinations, but none bigger than playoff powerhouse pitcher, Cliff Lee. He had just carried the Texas Rangers to the World Series, a feat he did with the Phillies the year prior, pitching close to perfect in both post-seasons. Lee had become not only a great pitcher, but a clutch one, throwing with a cool and calm demeanor as if playing catch in a friend's back yard.

When the Phillies traded him to Seattle, all Philly fans thought they had seen the last of the prolific left-handed flame thrower. Lee never wanted to leave, that was obvious. His family loved the community, fans treated him with respect, and his son got superb treatment at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia for acute myelitis leukemia. However, after their championship run, Lee was shipped off so the Phillies would be able to afford another ace, Roy Halladay.

So, Lee had to pack up his family and he quickly became a nomadic ball-player. When Lee heard the news you could see the heartbreak in his face. Leaving the Phillies was much more than just leaving a great team, but it meant departing from a winning culture. The Phillies went on, acquiring the two Roys in Halladay and Oswalt eventually meeting the San Francisco Giants in the National League championship series, falling 4 games to 2.

In the off season, every baseball expert from New York to Los Angeles thought Lee would go to either the Yankees or stay in Texas. The Yankees offered more money and years while the Rangers pitching legend turned front-office executive Nolan Ryan attempted to sell their World Series appearance and helicopter distance away from Arlington to Lee's Arkansas hometown.   
But, to everyone's surprise he returned to the team that shipped him off a year earlier.

After the dust settled, Lee was holding a press conference at Citizens Bank Park with a Phillies number #33 jersey in hand. He picked Philadelphia for the chance to be on a contender, but more than that, he felt like he was home. Philadelphia has become the place that marquis players who want to win want to go. They are willing to sacrifice money and years on their contract to have a chance at a World Series ring.

Perception is not Reality

Philadelphia fans are always portrayed as ignorant and disrespectful, while teetering on the edge of impatience, but the fan's culture has changed with the organizations. A mirror-image, the organization and fans have evolved and grown up to become the gold standard of the league.

Now, joining the Phillies has become comparable to winning a Caribbean cruise or chomping on a juicy cheese steak from Pat's or Gino's, (wiz wit for me please). 

The Phillies strategic maneuver of bringing Cliff Lee back has joined a long list of tactical moves the front office has made to make the club a perennial contender. GM Ruben Amaro Jr knows like any good cocktail, you need the right ratio of alcohol to fruit juice. The organization's ability to keep their farm system growing strong while bringing in the right high character free agents is down to a science.

As I wrote last week in my 10 bold predictions article, second baseman Luis Castillo wouldn't fit into the culture of the club house and would be cut in a week. Yesterday, six days with the team and he is gone. These are the small decisions that make a big difference between the team's that go to the World Series and the one's who watch it from their living rooms.

Charlie Manuel deserves enormous credit because athletes want to play for a good manager, a manager who will have his player's backs without having to be best friends. Manuel is the man who will get ejected for something his player did wrong on the field and discuss it covertly in house after the game.

There are a handful of teams in the league this year that have the talent to go deep in the playoffs, but what gives the Phillies the edge is their mental fortitude. It was never more apparent then last year when injuries to star players like Utley, Howard, and Rollins plagued the club for the first half of the season. They ended up with baseball's best record.

The free agents that come to Philadelphia now are a microcosm of the people in it; gritty, lunch-pale, hard-hat, fall and get back uppers, and grinders. If a player can't handle that, Philly fans can do without them. The Phillies are not a bunch of prima donnas', but are dedicated to the one goal that really matters: winning another World Championship.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Tiger Woods: End of an Era

The blazing Florida sun rose on the renowned Bay Hill golf course at 7:22 this morning with Tiger Woods coming off a vintage performance in the second round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational shooting a 68. Spectators lined the course like dominoes on the third day of play, holding their collective breaths, bewildered in wonderment if the old Tiger had risen up out of the ashes to be reborn. As the humid Florida day turned into a cold windy night and the green blades of grass turned black, Woods finished shooting a 74, two over par, with four bogeys and one double-bogey. How quickly a story can change. But, this has been the saga of the new Tiger Woods since he returned from a tumultuous and unraveling social cyclone last November.

It was this Bay Hill tournament last year that he dodged, attempting to avoid media's inquiries into his personal life. Tiger's first tournament back from his one man soap opera was the 2010 Masters, picking this event for it's prestige and the strict media requirements where press could only inquire about his game, not infidelity. Tiger's performance in last year's Masters played out similarly to the drama filled life he had been leading the previous six months. Finishing a strong fourth after the atomic social bomb that exploded on his life seemed like a bigger victory than putting on a fifth green jacket. However, the top ten finishes didn't last. From then on began the Era of the new Tiger Woods; the golfer who is ranked 5th in the world, not 1st, the one who gives us a glimpse of former dominance, but is unable to sustain it for an entire four-round tournament.

Tiger has become mummified in his past achievements, dominance only reverberated in the past tense. His last major victory came at the 2008 U.S. open where he won on a sudden death hole, playing on an ailing knee that would later require surgery. The flair for the dramatic on the golf course made him a fan favorite, a reason for the casual golfer to turn on the tournament.

The new Tiger who is playing the last round of the Invitational today is wearing his signature red shirt, representing aggression and dominance over his opponents. The clothes are the same, but the man is clearly not. Red might as well represent the frustration on Tiger's face as each tournament loss and slide down the world rankings is another harsh reality check that we may never see the old Tiger again.

His opponents used to openly cower to the media about what Tiger being in the field meant to their games. Now other golfers play on, unfazed, unintimated, and playing without the fear of the shadow Tiger used to cast upon them. What once was Tiger's strength has become his ultimate weakness; his ability for absolute concentration and conviction that no matter how many strokes he was down on day 3, he could win on day 4 is no more. Any positive rounds are early and not often, with his mental game deteriorating with every progressing hole. The once most zoned in athlete in the world now seems to have less focus than a Jack Russell who has to pose for a Christmas picture on Santa's lap.

Tiger Woods being great is good for the sport. I miss Tiger Woods. Not the adulterer, liar, or fake forgiver, but the best golfer in the world. Tiger was the first golfer to be a crossover athlete, the Michael Jordan of the sport. The old Tiger played golf like a linebacker breathing fire, knuckles digging into the dirt ready to blaze through the line to attack the quarterback.

The name Tiger Woods used be synonymous with the sultan of swing and a perfectionist with the putter, who made a 60 foot putt to win the Masters look more effortless than a leisurely stroll around the block. 

The fist pumps after a victory are gone. The old Tiger appears to have vanished for good. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Duke Blue Devils: Coach K has his team Marching again

The man looks 35, he's 64. The man coaches basketball, but teaches life. On Sunday, this man got his 900th win, two shy of all-time leader and mentor Coach Bobby Knight. With his 900th victory, Coach Mike Krzyzewski has his Dukies back in the sweet sixteen looking to win back to back titles for the first time since 1992.

Since becoming Duke's head coach in 1980, Coach K has led his Blue Devils to four NCAA Championships, 11 Final Fours, 12 ACC regular season titles, and 13 ACC championships.

He has received every accolade a coach can, but seems to never take his foot off the gas pedal. All he does is push harder. The ability to coach and win at any level is what makes Coach K so rare. From Army, to Duke, to the Olympics, and World Championships, he brings his calm demeanor, a stabilizing persona, and winning attitude. There have been a plethora of extremely successful college coaches who were unable to translate their success to another level. Rick Pitino is a prime example. One of the best college coaches in the country couldn't last with the Knicks or Celtics, but had a niche with college basketball. It can't be an easy task from teaching young boys to coaching grown men. To survive coaching in the professional ranks, you need to be the top alpha dog among the other alpha dog personalities in a locker room. Coaching USA basketball, Coach Krzyzewski was able to take the best individual players in the world and have them play as one unit with limited practice time.

From Kobe and Lebron to Carmelo and Bosh, playing for the USA team got more enticing the moment they knew Coach K would be leading them. He was never overwhelmed or intimidated by their multi-million dollar Nike deals or McDonald’s commercials, but taught the game of basketball to these 25 and 30-year-old men the same way as his 19 year-old boys at Duke. Since taking over in 2005, Coach Krzyzewski has won gold medals at the 2007 FIBA Americas Championship, the 2010 FIBA World Championship, and 2008 Summer Olympics.

The aura around Coach K and the Duke program make athletes who could go to the NBA after one year, stick around for two and three and sometimes even four. These athletes are sacrificing private jets for team buses and Ritz-Carlton's for Howard Johnson's to be part of the program. Shane Battier played at Duke for four years and Carlos Boozer for three. Boozer was recruited by many top-tier collegiate basketball programs, including UCLA and St. John's, but he wanted to play for Mike Krzyzewski.

Coach Krzyzewski's allure lies in his desire for team success over personal achievement. He seamlessly intertwines the on the court demeanor of Bill Belichick with off the court personality and charisma of Dick Vitale. Ever since Duke became a dominate power in the ACC, rival fans from Tarheel nation to Boston College have hated their success, surmising their failure. But, a fan of the team or not, you have to be a fan of what Duke stands for: Academic and Athletic excellence.

In an Era where the higher paycheck has become more seductive than the job, Mike Krzyzewski has stood his ground. Over his 30 years at Duke, he has had four serious offers to coach in the NBA. Two of the jobs were with the two most notable franchises, the Celtics and the Lakers. Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak, reportedly offered him five years, $40 million and part ownership. The latest offer came in 2010 from the New Jersey Nets and Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov. The offer was reportedly 15 million a year, which would have made him the highest paid coach in the NBA without coaching a single game.

Coach K's strong principles seem to stem from his humble upbringings in Chicago and summer visits to Kiesterville, Pa where his maternal grandparents emigrated from Poland. His discipline and perseverance started when he enrolled in West Point Academy training to become an officer in the army. When scandal in college sports has run rampant like the black plague, it's comforting to know that the most identifiable program in college basketball has a seemingly incorruptible leader.

It's not a coincidence that many former Duke player's have gone on to fruitful and successful careers after basketball. Jay Bilas was a four year starter from 1983-1986. Now Bilas is a lawyer and one of the nation's most trusted basketball analysts for ESPN and CBS Sports. Billy King, who served as a captain of Duke's 1988 Final Four team, is the general manager of the New Jersey Nets, and former general manager and team president of the Philadelphia 76ers. Mike Krzyzewski prepares his player's for life after basketball while he is teaching it.

Reading this article, you might wonder where my fascination with Coach Krzyzewski and the Duke program comes from. I have no affiliation or geographical proximity to the school. This was all prompted from watching my Pitt Panthers fall to Butler in the round of 32 this past weekend. Pitt finished first in the Big East; the most dominate conference in college basketball all year, only to fall short of the final four once again. Pittsburgh's coach Jamie Dixon is a really good one which made me think about how great Coach K must be. His team's blossom in the regular season and continue to flourish in the NCAA tournament almost every year.

Mike Krzyzewski has the chance to pass Bobby Knight this tournament season for the most wins ever. But, you better believe he cares infinitely more about championship number 5 than win number 903.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

 Mess with the Bulls and you get the Thorns 

Who knew the term under the radar was synonymous with "best team in the eastern conference". That's just what the Chicago Bulls are. With 16 games left in the NBA regular season, the Bulls are sitting second in the east with the same record (48-18) as the Boston Celtics and riding a seven game win streak.

Derrick Rose at 22 has set up a pretty good case to become the youngest MVP in NBA history. His on the court sophistication and off the floor maturity are both beyond his years. We forget he's only been in the league for three, a testament to how outstanding he has been playing. Few players three years in have dealt with the kind of adversity Rose has had to overcome. From going the distance in a seven game thriller with the Celtics in 2008, to a (4-1) series shellacking at the hands of Lebron and the Cavaliers in 2009, to now leading a true championship contender, Rose has grown exponentially each season.

Chicago has had some help when it comes their covert rise, benefiting from the summer's Lebron sweepstakes and months of Melo-Drama, flying under the radar to land as one of the league's premier teams .

They don't have the star power of the Heat, the Hall-of-Famers of Boston, or the flash of the Knicks. The Bulls are just thirteen guys who play as one. And, they have the best point guard in the NBA. I know its blasphemy to proclaim anyone other than Rajon Rondo, Chris Paul, or Deron Williams as the league's best point guard, but I just did. So call me Benedict Arnold and I will wear the name proudly.

The Bulls are a cohesive unit, one band with one sound. (Isn't that from the movie Drumline?)

The best way to describe the Chicago Bulls is by comparing them to the NFL. They are like the Ravens on defense, ferocious and menacing, while on offense like Peyton Manning, who trusts a fifth string receiver to catch a game winning touchdown pass as much as he does Reggie Wayne. If the Bulls are a band, then Rose is the conductor syncing up his teammates to the collective beat.

Adversity reared its ugly head for the Bulls before the season even started. They acquired all-star forward Carlos Boozer only to lose him to injury until December. Boozer also missed three games in January due to a sprained ankle. The Bulls have been able to lean on past experiences and follow the approach of "the next man in line" to remain successful in his absence. It's not easy to matriculate a star player in an offense.

Exhibit A: The Miami Heat.

Not just a star, but perhaps Transcendent.

Naysayers believe Rose is nothing more than a scoring point guard who will go to a dozen All-Star games but never win a ring. However, he has two qualities that distinguish himself from an Allen Iverson or Tracy McGrady. Rose has humility and work-ethic. He's not putting out rap albums or getting arrested. He's the first one in the gym and the last to leave.

Rose has two goals: To get better everyday and to lead the Bulls to an NBA championship. He has already taken strides to become a better player. This season he has increased his scoring average, rebounds, and assists, while improving his three point shooting.

Complacent, Rose is not. Content, not a chance. It's the 20th anniversary of the Bulls first championship. Derrick Rose is ready to carry the torch.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

NFL LOCKOUT: Middle Class gets the shaft

At midnight the NFL player's union decertified thus creating the first work stoppage since 1987.
We've heard for months that the NFL's lockout is a fight between millionaires and billionaires. The 24 hour news cycle covering the story has focused primarily on how both the player's and the owners could stand to lose millions of dollars if no football is played in 2011. Just as the middle class fall through the cracks in politics, the same can be said about this lockout. The middle-class warriors, the forgotten many who allow us as fans to enjoy football are all being held out to dry.


This is the number of working people employed by the 32 stadiums across the country. If the NFL can't find a way to divide the 9 billion dollar profit they make every year, thousands will stand to lose their jobs. The concession worker, parking lot attendant, and painter of yard-lines. These hard-working people will have a very difficult time keeping their head above water when they miss one week's paycheck, let alone six months. It's true that players will have to sacrifice, like not buying a chocolate mink coat from burberry and having to settle on a black peacock from Nordstrom's. The owner's might have to cut back as well only sailing their "small" Yacht across the Pacific for one week instead of two. But, the stadium worker has bigger problems. A missed paycheck to them could mean a missed doctors appointment, a missed car payment, or even in certain cases a missed meal.

Many stadium employees have been working there for years; this is all they know. Some do this work over another profession for the pure enjoyment of being able to be close to their favorite team every Sunday. I know from personal experience that when my Uncle hit retirement age and still needed to make a living, he took to being an usher for the Philadelphia Phillies. It's not just a job to him. The three hours at the ball park is an outlet, a chance to breathe in the nostalgia and experience the pure gratification of being three rows away from his favorite team. If he was an usher for the Philadelphia Eagles, he wouldn't be getting that feeling come the fall.

It's not just the workers inside of the stadiums that will suffer from a lockout, but the thousands more whose businesses rely on football games every weekend. Small suburban towns like Green Bay count on Packer home games to make a majority of their week's profit. Still recovering from the largest economic collapse since the great depression, the NFL lockout will prevent local communities from taking necessary steps to fix their individual economies. Big metropolises like New York and Chicago, while heartbroken over no football, will be able to find other things to occupy their time and money, but cities like Green Bay will not. The Nashville's, Buffalo's, and Green Bay's of the world whom make their livings from NFL sundays will be unable to make up for the losses of patrons spending money on local bars, restaurants, and merchandise shops.

The Stadium Bar and Grille in Green Bay, which sits across the street from the Lambeau field employ 100 part-time workers every home game. Losing the NFL, would mean losing 1/3 of their revenue for the year equaling $750,000 dollars. How are small businesses like this one supposed to make up for this kind of loss? Imagine Wanderland, a famous costume shop in Philadelphia. It's like telling them they can sell costumes every day of the year except for Halloween. They would be losing out on 25% of their yearly revenue with no way to recuperate from the missed opportunity.

And the factories that employ thousands to make NFL footballs?

What about the dry cleaners that all have deals with their cities team to wash the players uniforms after every game?

How about the churches and schools that have concession stands at the game in order to raise money for books, trips, and extracurricular activities?

Hotels like The Holiday Inn one block from Reliant Stadium in Houston will suffer. Their food and drink tab is $2,000 on a normal weekend. But, when the Texans are playing at home, they make six times that amount. Like other hotels across the country, they will lose occupancy. Fans that normally travel with their favorite teams, will all be grounded on their couches at home.

In the wake of the most devastating tsunami to hit Japan in over a century, fighting two wars, and an economy still shaking from the wall street meltdown, the NFL and the player's should be able to find some common ground when it comes to the game of football. Because, at the end of the day it's just a game. A very profitable, money making machine, but a game. A ball, a field, a goal post.  When most companies have been downsizing, cutting, and losing, the NFL has been paying, making, and winning.

There will always be disagreements, but a lockout help's no one, while negatively affecting almost everyone.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


Can you feel it? The tingle down your spine. Can you hear it? The sound of an F-18 overhead. Can you taste it? Winning. I'm not talking about how Charlie Sheen spends his weekends, but rather March Madness is upon us. Duh! All across the country, from office buildings to school campuses and beyond, we are getting ready to fill out our brackets.

The theme of this college basketball season has undoubtedly been parody. From underdog upsets to perennial powers unable to hold the number one ranking, the college pool has dried up faster than a pimple in a tanning bed. Last March, fans got to watch John Wall, Demarcus Cousins, and Derrick Favors blast onto the court and make havoc in the NCAA tournament, just to wave goodbye to them in June as all three set sail for the NBA after one college season.

Since the 2006 draft, the "one year out of high school" rule has been in place. This college basketball season we are feeling the residual affects of this "decision" more than ever before. Lindsay Lohan stayed out of court longer than a team was ranked #1 in the nation this season. College programs like Memphis and Kentucky have benefited from the top high school players coming to their program for only one season in recent years, but it's fools gold.

In 2008, Coach John Calipari led Memphis with freshman phenom Derek Rose to the National Championship game. All seemed well in Tiger land. Then, Rose left for the NBA, and then Calipari left for Kentucky, and now Memphis isn't ranked. Coach Calipari has since moved on to Kentucky where last season he coached another freshman superstar, John Wall. Wall with help from freshman big-man Demarcus Cousins led the Wildcats to a 35-3 regular season record, an SEC championship, along with an elite 8 appearance. After one season, Wall and Cousins left the Wildcats faster than you can do the "Dougie". This year they are 22-8 and have many question marks going into the tournament regarding their lack of experience.

More troubling than the one-year rule's impact on individual teams, is the repercussions it poses on the schools themselves. The "rent-a-player" mentality let's player's believe that academia is just a bump in the road to the NBA. We can't really blame this thought process however. Remember Senior year of high school. Once we found out that we got into the College of our choice, we put the car on cruise control and coasted to the finish line. It's the same with the one-year college athlete. Once school starts in late August, the internal clock of the athlete begins. They end up preparing more for the NBA draft in June then for the sociology exam in December. The rule has become an affront to the institution that provides room and board to these athletes.

Better alternatives are available.

A player can go straight from high school to the NBA or has to spend at least two years in college.

Did Kevin Durant and Derek Rose really need those six months playing college basketball to be successful in the NBA? And, the idea that a year in college makes you more mature than someone right out of high school is erroneous and unfounded. Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant, and Lebron James all came to the NBA straight from high school and are three of the most driven basketball players on the planet. If a Senior in high school thinks he's ready for the NBA, it should be his decision. If he fails, as anything in life, he is responsible for those choices. Even players who haven't lived up to their hype like Kwame Brown live better than 90% of us.

The other option, "the two-year rule", would allow players who need more time to develop to actually get time to...develop. The first year they will be able to focus entirely on academics and basketball. The second year, players can deal with preparing for the NBA draft and the hoopla that goes along with it. Imagine the product we would see consistently every year if star college players stayed in school for two years instead of one. It would also give the programs a chance to prepare for their departure and reload for the future. 

Being able to declare for the NBA draft right from high school or staying in college for at least two years seems the best of both worlds. If the rule doesn't change, fans of March Madness are likely to see more famine rather than feast in college basketball for years to come.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Heat Check: Miami's Struggles Part 2

Sunday night, regardless of the time zone, you were seeing stars. The city of Los Angeles played host to the Oscars, while 3,000 miles east, the Knicks were battling the Miami Heat at Madison Square Garden. It was only the third game that the Knicks new "big three" were playing together, but they had more chemistry than the Heat's Lebron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh leading to a 91-86 victory. The Heat may be sitting comfortably as the second seed in the eastern conference behind the Boston Celtics at 43-17, but their success is as much an optical illusion as the city they call home. A Miami vacationer sees the 80 degree weather, the white sandy beaches, and neon-signed night clubs that line the streets.


A resident knows that the 80 degree ocean water brings hurricanes, homeless huddle under the boardwalk beaches, and crime is three times the national average. The Miami Heat, like the city, is just an illusion. They had a stretch where they went 20-1 and have moments where Lebron and Wade play like MVP candidates. Pulling up statistics from or watching Sportscenters top-10 can easily make us believe that the Heat are one of the best team's in basketball. But, a closer look with the proverbial magnifying glass tells us a entirely different story. They have 43 wins, but who have they beaten. Better yet, who haven't they beaten?

The Heat are 0-3 against Boston and 0-2 against Chicago, teams they will likely face in the playoffs. More disheartening is the manner in how they lost. With two of the three best closers in the league, they have been unable to close out ball games. The five losses to the Celtics and Chicago were all by eight points or fewer. For the season, Miami is 5-11 against teams that today would be in the playoffs.

Is Miami's problem that they have no legitimate big man as some suggest?

The answer to that is a resounding NO.

The era of a team needing a 7-foot center is over. To win in today's game, you need strong guard play and sharp shooting players on the perimeter. The Knicks are a perfect example of what the league has become. Chauncey Billups is the leader, Carmelo is a flat out scorer, and Amare is versatile who plays more like a forward than a center. The defending eastern conference champions also proved this week how little a big center is valued. They traded away their "best" one, Kendrick Perkins to Oklahoma City for faster, play-making 6'9 Jeff Green who shoots jumpers.
Since Lebron has brought his talents to South Beach he has delivered, but Wade has been suspect at times. At first glance, his 25 points a game SCREAM MVP, but his performance in games against good teams have been sub-par. In the three games against Boston, Wade is averaging 12 points and six turnovers.

The problem for the Heat going forward is that Lebron and Wade are essentially the same player. Instead of both being involved in a late game play, it's only one of them isolated at the top of the key while the other stands in Cozumel sipping on a Pina Colada. Only when Lebron and Wade's roles are defined will they be able to beat the premier teams of the league consistently. With no set roles, there's no chemistry. Right now the Heat's chemistry resembles James Franco and Anne Hathaway co-hosting the Oscars. Individually, they are two of the most talented and respected actors in the business, but together their comedic timing fell flatter than Donald Trumps hair in a Miami rainstorm.

In the playoffs, it's likely that Miami and Boston will meet in the conference finals. The only way the Heat can beat the Celtics in a seven game series is for Wade to become the Robin to Lebron's Batman. The best piece of advice for Miami is summed up by (pre-tooth fairy) Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson's signature quote, "Know Your Role". If Miami is going to deliver on their promise of eight championships, they need to smell what The Rock is cooking.