NBA 2010-2011 Predictions: Miami Heat

The new age has dawned in Miami and the heat is definitely on as Dwayne Wade, LeBron James, and Chris Bosh have come together to lead the Miami Heat to a world championship. Vegas has given them 5/7 odds of winning the Eastern Conference and 17/10 to win the NBA Championship, making them the prohibitive favorite.

Let’s start with James. His much ballyhooed “decision” caused a firestorm of criticism in Cleveland and stops all around the country, but in Miami there was wild celebration. In his first two games as a member of the Heat, James has scored 23.5 points, six below his average last season, as the team started 1-1. Shooting guard Dwayne Wade persuaded James and Bosh to come south to win a championship together and this is his team. Unlike his younger superstar teammates, Wade has won a crown already and he will be act as the glue to pull this collection together. Bosh, a power forward, is the third piece of the puzzle and has averaged more than 22 points in five consecutive years for the Toronto Raptors. He also is a strong rebounder.

Pat Riley has also assembled a great supporting cast with point guards Carlos Arroyo and Mario Chalmers, shooting guard Eddie House, forwards Udonis Haslam and Juwan Howard, and centers Zydrunas Ilgauskas, and Jamaal Magloire. Haslam has spent his entire career in Miami and will play strong minutes with Joel Anthony at center.

The bottom line: The Heat need to win the Eastern Conference championship, at a minimum, if the 2010-2011 season is going to have any meeting. Anything less, well, the decision would have made a bad one for James and his legion of fans.

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