Now that we have a good portion of the season done with and with the Allstar break coming up I think we have enough information to form a comparison between the super team that is the Heat and the super team that was the Bulls. I chose to compare the Heat against the 91-92 Bulls because it was Jordan's 8th season in the NBA and we are now in the 8th season's of both Dwyane Wade and LeBron James. This is not an attempt to bash the Heat or the Bulls for that matter, but to look closely at the roster formula that both these teams use/used and see just how far away the Heat are from becoming a dynasty.
First we should look at the individual stats from the two key players on both teams and compare.
Jordan: 30.1 ppg, .519 FG%, .270 3P%, 6.1 apg, 6.4 rpg, .9 bpg, 2.3 spg, 2.5 tpg
Pippen: 21.0 ppg, .506 FG%, .200 3P%, 7.0 apg, 7.7 rpg, 1.1 bpg, 1.9 spg, 3.09 tpg
Combined Average: 25.5 ppg, .512 FG%, .235 3P%, 6.5 apg, 7.0 rpg, 1 bpg, 2.1 spg, 2.79 tpg
LeBron: 26.1 ppg, .485 FG%, .349 3P%, 7.3 apg, 7.3 rpg, .58 bpg, 1.58 spg, 3.69 tpg
Wade: 25.0 ppg, .495 FG%, .316 3P%, 4.4 apg, 6.8 rpg, 1.0 bpg, 1.32 spg, 3.2 tpg
Combined Average: 25.5 ppg, .490 FG%, .332 3P%, 5.8 apg, 7.0 rpg, .79 bpg, 1.45 spg, 3.44 tpg
A few things pop out when you look at the combined averages. Both of these super combos average the same amount point per game and rebounds per game which I thought was sort of cool. Both Wade and James are far better 3 point shooters at this stage in their careers then Scottie and MJ were back in 1991-92. Pippen and Jordan would go on to become pretty solid 3 point shooters, but they clearly were not very good at this point in time. Good thing they had B.J. armstrong and Craig Hodges sitting behind the arc to spred the defenses. Because Wade and LeBron shot better and more 3 pointers their field goal percentage average is lower then that of the Bulls' combo. What this means? Simply put, the LeBron/Wade combo are a better scoring combo in the light that they can do damage from more spots on the floor, while Jordan/Scottie shot a lot of 17 footers or simply scored in the paint as both were alltime greats at finishing at the rim. However, this does not mean that the Heat combo was better then the Bulls combo at scoring, because you have to factor in just how damn good MJ was at getting to the basket and finishing. I do not think that there has been a better player in NBA history at breaking down defenses and getting into the paint. Pippen was also no slouch at this either, and as good as LeBron and Wade are at getting to the rim, MJ and Scottie were better. The bottomline is that the Heat combo are more perimeter oriented while the Bulls combo looked to penetrate. I for one think both are good in there own ways, but in the end getting to the paint and drawing fouls creates more for the rest of the team and wins games in the playoffs, so I give the edge to the Bulls.
The Bulls combo also wins out in the other 4 catagories of Steals, Blocks, Assists, and Turnovers. Many Heat fans thought that the LeBron/Wade duo would certainly outshine that of the Jordan/Pippen duo but that does not seem to be the case. I am not poking fun or doing a "I told you so" thread, I am actually here to say that the Heat team as built is very close to that of a team that won 6 Championships. Now I may not like leBron as a person, but he is a great player and the best player in the game right now. I take issue with how he deals with the media and how he handles himself on the sidelines, but there have been worse players in NBA history in this regard. Let's move on shall we?
Lets look at the 3rd man on both of these teams. While many might want to call me out for saying that Horace Grant was close to as good as Chris Bosh, I will simply point to the proof.
Horace Grant: 14.2 ppg, .578 FG%, 0 3P%, 2.7 apg, 10.0 rpg, 1.6 bpg, 1.2 spg, 1.2 tpg
Chris Bosh: 18.4 ppg, .498 FG%, .316 3P%, 1.6 apg, 8.1 rpg, .71 bpg, .76 spg, 1.71 tpg
Okay, so what we have here is a case of a shooting power forward and a low post power forward. Bosh simply shys away from contact and loves to shoot jumpers which is not a bad thing, but when you have two superstars on the team that do the same thing you need to adjust your game. I do not think Bosh is the right fit to be honest. Infact a healthy Udonis Haslem might be better. The Heat need a banger in the paint that is not affraid of contact and enjoys defense. Horace Grant was a good defender and shot high percentage shots around the basket. He did not have a lot of range, but he was a perfect fit for the Bulls. Chris Bosh, to me is one of the most glaring mistakes the heat made. They would have been better off with a banger like Carlos Boozer or Amar'e Stoudemire, but they could have saved money and just added a decent defensive minded PF and they would have saved a ton of money. That money could have been spent on a decent Center that is younger then 40 and a starting level point guard. The league is full of talent at the PG position, yet the Heat have one of the worse starting PGs in the NBA.
The Bulls formula was better. Two superstars, and decent talent at every position. As it stands the Heat need help at the PG and C position and Bosh, while a nice talent, is not the right fit. Sure Bosh has big games from time to time and his scoring and range are nice, but he is not the right fit, period. The Bulls had Paxson and Armstrong at the PG and Cartwright at center, which was just enought to make the Bulls deadly.
When you compare the benches it is not close. The Heat have Mike Miller and that is about it, while the Bulls had Stacy King, Will Perdue, Craig Hodges, and Cliff Levingston. They had depth in the front court and that is an area that the Heat need to address.
So how far away are the Heat?
Not to far. what they really need to do, but I never see it happening, is to trade Chris Bosh for 2 or 3 good roleplayers. Maybe I will make another thread with trade ideas, or perhaps you guys can come up with some, but I bet the Heat can get 2 or 3 solid players for Bosh. They simply need a banger at the PF, a younger center that can play defense, and a sarting level PG. Look at what teams with good PGs and bigman have done to the Heat this season. Look at all of the Heat's losses this season and look at what players on the other teams had big games and what positions they played. The other issue is that as a team the Heat are WAY to perimeter oriented and they need to attack the rim with Wade and LeBron much much more. If you live and die by the three pointer, you are certainly going to die in the playoffs.
In conclusion, the Heat need to:
1. Move Bosh for 2-3 good roleplayers.
2. Attack the paint on offense.
3. Take care of the ball. Way to many turnovers from your stars.
The Bulls combined salaries for the 1991-92 season was 16.7 million dollars. LOL. That would buy you one star player in todays game. This is why the CBA is going to be ugly.