MIAMI, FL - JUNE 21: in Game Five of the 2012 NBA Finals on June 21, 2012 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Can the Heat repeat in 2013? Only if they execute our 10-step plan properly.
The Miami Heat just won the 2012 NBA Championship. But this club wasn't built to win one championship -- LeBron James told us that himself. It was built to win multiple championships. So how can Miami repeat as the victors next season? We have a simple 10-step plan.
1. Get Dwyane Wade on the first flight to Germany. If you had to pick one 30-or-under NBA player who most desperately needs Kobe's doctor to work some odd Frankenstein procedure on his knee, you'd pick Greg Oden. If you had to pick two, you'd pick Greg Oden and Dwyane Wade. Wade was great enough to matter, but bad enough at some points in the Indiana and Boston series to look like a major anchor. He needs to be healed.
2. Keep LeBron playing like this. King James was absolutely unstoppable from Game 6 of the East finals on. Unlike Dirk Nowitzki in 2011, LeBron is young enough that repeat performances seem reachable. The rest of the league should fear that above all else.
3. Acquire a big man who can guard seven-footers. Roy Hibbert almost felled Miami well before they got to the Finals. Indiana had its problems setting up Big Roy in the closing games of that series, but Hibbert was clearly something Miami was not equipped to deal with. Adding players to the Miami core will be extremely difficult, but the priority should be someone who can passably defend Hibbert, Joakim Noah, Brook Lopez and Dwight Howard.
4. Lock up Erik Spoelstra. The man can coach. Let there be no questions about the man's ability to design adjustments and manage an effective rotation.
5. Get lucky. The real key to every success.
6. Value home court advantage. The Heat haven't lost a series without home court advantage the last two seasons -- Miami had it in the 2011 Finals. But the team is (like most teams) so clearly better at home that it's going to mean something one of these days. The Heat should legitimately push to topple Chicago for the No. 1 seed in the East next year; it could make a big difference if they meet in the East finals.
7. Value rest. That said, seeing how tired Wade and especially LeBron were at points throughout the Finals. The Celtics have for a few seasons now focused on shorter minutes for their stars during the regular season. The Heat might be wise to do the same. Of course, the best way to get rest is to blow teams out, something Miami did plenty of this season.
8. Find a great passer. The Heat have only one great passer (LeBron) and one very good passer (Wade). Both Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole are primarily spot scorers (Chalmers a shooter, Cole a slasher) and defenders. Adding a point guard who can help LeBron deliver the ball to the right spots on the floor could still pay dividends. You don't have to spend the mini-MLE on Steve Nash, but be on the look-out for cheap distributors. (The Heat do have a late first-round pick.)
9. Convince Coach K to bring LeBron off the bench in the Olympics. There's no question that Dirk suffered this season due to his German team commitment in the summer and the weird lockout calendar. Nowitzki even had to take games off to get into playing shape. The lockout hurdle is removed, but the next month would normally be used for recovery for players who go all the way to the Finals. LeBron is due in USA Basketball camp in a couple weeks. The Olympics begin in a month, with a full warm-up schedule on deck before then. Let's hope that Coach K uses his deep roster of small forwards (including Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony) to give LeBron a break.
10. Perform experiments on Mike Miller. Figure out exactly how he was able to do what he did in Game 5. Bottle it. Create an army of Mike Millers. Rule the world.