Miami Heat formula goes wrong in LA
By Josh Martin, Sports Editor
What exactly makes a strong team, and how do you go about getting one? In the world of sports, the chemistry inside the locker room between the players is a complicated matter. Every player has to be on the same page, working together in order to achieve a common goal and win games. If there are too many hotheads that want to take charge then it throws the whole balance off kilter. It divides the team with players listening to one leader rather than the other.
Just take a look at the LA Lakers, who are a perfect example of what can go wrong when there are one too many all-stars on the team. This past off-season they acquired superstars Steve Nash and Dwight Howard to join Kobe Bryant in an attempt to throw all these shiny eggs in one basket and be a competitive team that can win championships. It was a similar move to what the Miami Heat did a couple of seasons ago with reeling in LeBron James and Chris Bosh to join Dwyane Wade down south. The move was an instant success with the Heat advancing to the NBA Finals that very year, losing, and then advancing to the NBA Finals once again in 2012 and taking home the championship—a feat that made General Manager Pat Riley look like a genius and take home the NBA Executive of the Year award in 2011.
However with a 25–29 record and a 0.463 winning percentage while sitting in tenth position in the Western Conference through 54 games this season, it’s safe to say that the Lakers haven’t had the same luck as the Heat. They had high hopes going into the season with expectations of being a championship contender this year, but instead find themselves in the bottom half of the Western Conference. Perhaps the Lakers’ success is hindered by the lack of chemistry between butting stars Howard and Bryant.
During an interview back in January, Howard told reporters, “[Chemistry] is something we have to do to get better. We have to play like we like each other. Even if we don’t want to be friends off the court, whatever that may be, when we step in-between the lines or we step in the locker room or the gym, we have to respect each other and what we bring to the table.”
When Howard was out with a shoulder injury, Bryant increased tensions when he publicly stated that the Lakers simply didn’t have time to wait for Howard’s shoulder to heal. With this negative comment publicly being said in a basketball-crazed city, it puts Howard in an awkward position with himself and his teammates. It just adds to the drama between the two egos which creates even more of a divide—something that the Miami Heat were lucky to not experience with their three stars. There have even been trade rumours that Howard will be leaving the Lakers to join the Boston Celtics in exchange for Rajon Rondo because of the level of success, or rather the lack of, that he has endeared in LA.
Looking at this situation, would it be possible for this to all work out if each player put away their pride? If the players played the game instead of letting their stardom and ego get in the way. Chemistry is what makes the team. Perhaps the Miami Heat just got lucky and the Lakers were on the other side of the looking glass. Regardless, it all comes down to the players, the level of their maturity, and how much passion they have for the game.