- AP Photo/Alan DiazWill Pat Riley be smiling at the end of the 2010-2011 NBA season? Jeff Van Gundy thinks so.
One of my fellow ESPN colleagues recently came out with some interesting statements about the Miami Heat. Jeff Van Gundy basically said that the trio of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh could lead the Heat to a record-breaking season. Van Gundy has an amazing amount of knowledge on the NBA, so I respect his opinion, but I don't think you can just hand the trophy over during the off-season, baby!
I think he made those comments for a number of reasons. By making that statement, Jeff Van Gundy is putting pressure on Miami and Pat Riley. Don't forget, the Hall of Famer stepped in for Stan Van Gundy down in Miami a few years back. Now, Stan is the head coach of Eastern conference rival Orlando.
I think Jeff does a great job with us and I love his personality. So I wonder if he is putting his own heat on Mr. Riley. What does Jeff Van Gundy lose by making those statements? It means pressure, pressure, pressure on Erik Spoelstra too. And if things don't go right, maybe Mr. Riley returns to the sidelines and takes his team to the promised land.
The "big three" can create shots and mismatches. They have this versatility that makes them tough to defend. I was also impressed with the supporting cast Miami put together. Someone like Mike Miller could play a big role down the road. That guy can flat-out shoot on the perimeter! Leave him open and he is a lethal weapon shooting the trifecta.
The Magic and the Celtics will make some noise in the Eastern Conference. I think Shaq will help the Celtics, giving them size and strength in a role that should be around 15 minutes a night. Jermaine O'Neal is there as well. If Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce can stay healthy, combined with Rajon Rondo continuing his rise to stardom, watch out! It should also be noted that Chicago and Milwaukee have improved during the offseason. It is not easy to win night in and night out on the road in the pros.
Personally, I think Miami will fall short of the record 72-win season. I project that they'll win 65 games, maybe even 70, but that doesn't equate to winning a championship.
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