NBA Finals 2014: How the Miami Heat became the Cleveland Cavaliers

The San Antonio Spurs lead the Miami Heat, 2-1, in the NBA Finals. For Heat fans, this is dire straits — losing a game at home to a hot-shooting Spurs’ team.

There is enough coverage on the Spurs’ victory, but not enough on how the Heat look like LeBron James‘ old team, the Cleveland Cavaliers. The comparison is screaming at us, but no one wants to point it out.

The formula that led to the Cavaliers’ best runs with James at the helm follow the Miami Heat’s team roster. A team without a true point guard, a lack of bench depth, and a rotating carousel of big men. In James’ last season as a Cavalier (2010), the roster represents the Heat’s team to a tee: Antawn Jamison as Chris Bosh, Mo Williams as Dwyane Wade, Shaquille O’Neal as Chris Anderson, and a combination of Daniel Gibson and Anthony Parker as Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis.

In the end, the message of both teams was the same: LeBron James needs to carry the team to a championship. This season, the Heat looked mortal. Bosh devolved his game into a “sharpshooting” power forward (Jamison), Wade was the scoring complement to James’ leadership (Williams), and Anderson was the necessary big man that could collect rebounds (O’Neal). The bench depth was laughable and sharpshooters like Allen and Lewis were needed to add more scoring bounce. The lack of a true point guard hurt as that position was essentially a flier.

While James’ only season with the Cavs in the NBA Finals looked nothing like the Heat, the formula of “rely on James” remained the same. With the exception of better rebounding, the 2006 Cavs had shooters, a second source of offense, and James at the helm.

The common denominator between every incarnation of failed Cavs’ teams was James at the helm. He was relied upon to do everything and unfortunately for the Heat, he needs to do the same again.


Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

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Timothy Lee

Timothy Lee is a sports and video game journalist born and raised in Southern California. He is great at finding the important detail in the mundane and ordinary. He has published articles for Riot Games,,,, and SBNation.


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