The 2017 NBA Preseason Report: The New Look Miami Heat [Suicide] Squad

breaking-news-animated

Normally, here at Nothing But dot Net we are fully committed to attempted entertainment and the hope that you guffaw out loud once or maybe exhale sharply out of your nose, but I’m being told we have a special breaking news report from [REDACTED] concerning an audio tape of Pat Riley and Chris Bosh. Now, on this tape, the full transcripts of which we will release below, you can hear… hang on, I’m being told my attorney is on the phone.

nevermind

Sometimes in the middle of a large collaborative project like an NBA franchise or a multi-million dollar movie franchise or a free blog post, things go sideways. Lawyers might threaten with unsubstantiated claims that you are a fraud and a troll who does no research and makes up frivolous and possibly libelous facts, or executives might read the critical reviews of Batman vs Superman and then mess with the script to your movie, or your franchise superstar might walk away even if you offer him the max available in your coffers. These challenges can alter the contents of your team, your comic book movie or the very post you are currently reading everything is fine.

suicide-squad-movie-poster
Worst. Comic Book. Movie. Ever.

Suicide Squad is a movie. Of that I am certain. What the movie is about or how good it is, that’s all debatable, but the one thing we should agree on is that Will Smith’s Deadshot and Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn were the only positive things to come out of its production. It is a mess of ideas; an amalgamation of trying to be dark and gritty while simultaneously attempting to bring the laughs. A weirdly built and poorly paced story full of useless characters that we won’t remember in less than a year. Suicide Squad is a train wreck of fun with the footprint of executive over management.

Sound familiar?

The 2016-17 Miami Heat are an NBA team. Of that I am certain. What this team is or how good it can be, that remains to be seen, but the one thing we should agree on is that they are going to be way more entertaining than the final cut of Suicide Squad (Why were they fighting giant, mutated raisin people?). This team is a mess of ideas that spawned from unfortunate circumstances nobody but the most pessimistic Heat fan could have ever seen coming. A weirdly built, high paced combination of useless characters that we won’t even remember in less than a year and the promise of youth. The 2016-17 Miami Heat are a train wreck of fun with Pat Riley managing.

Buckle in, because this year might get a little insane.

joker-the-killing-joke

So a mediocre movie and a re-imagined NBA professional basketball team walk into a bar…

NOTHING BUT dot NET PRESENTS:

SUICIDE SQUAD FEATURING THE NEW LOOK MIAMI HEAT*

*WARNING: This post contains spoilers for Suicide Squad, if you don’t want to be disappointed before watching it, stop here.

In 2016, a crack NBA unit was sent to the lottery by a former player for a crime they didn’t commit. These men promptly escaped from 4-8 seed hell to the NBA underground. Today, still wanted by their former superstar they survive as soldiers of fortune. If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them….maybe you can hire The Suicide Squad. *cool guitar solo*

Imagine, if you will, the entire interesting members of the cast of Suicide Squad played by your 2016-17 Miami Heat. Or read this instead:

harley_quinn

Character: Harley Quinn – Harleen Quinzel was a former psychiatrist who worked to rehab the worst criminals in Arkham Asylum. In the opening scenes of the movie, we find her captured, crazy and without  a doubt the one thing on the screen that your eye always follows.

Throughout Suicide Squad, Harley Quinn’s character is constantly caught between what she wants and what she thinks she wants: To matter or her puddin’? She possesses no real powers, but somehow comes across as the most dangerous of the group. She is an enigma, entertaining and, in the end, a little off.

Tyler Johnson signed a massive, and questionable, contract extension in the offseason to be the Heat’s main backup point guard. TJ possesses something similar to the Margot Robbie portrayal. It is entirely possible that he will become an X factor type player that changes the outcomes of games regularly. But, he could as easily be playing overseas in China sooner than we’d all expect. He is an enigma, entertaining and, in the end, possibly a little bit more. 

Whereas Harley is amoral, homicidal and a huge Joker mark. Bumpy is aerial, suicidal and a huge question mark.

tylerjohnsonharleyquinn
image by @Houtz

slipnot

Character: Slipnot – The Slipnot character is next to useless, but perfect in Suicide Squad. His character does one thing and does it well as an homage to the original comic. He dies pointlessly.

Who better to play the forgettable Slipnot than the Heat bench mob? Because most of them probably won’t be memorable or around very long either.

#16 James Johnson
luke-babbitt-head
#5 Luke Babbitt
#22 Derrick Williohhhhno
#22 Derrick Williohhhhno
Mcbob aka McInjured
#4 Josh McRoberts
Heh
#2 Wayne Ellington

 

rick-flag

Character: Rick Flag – Leader. Soldier. Mercenary. A man out of time and options fighting for the one thing he loves.

The only Heat player that could run this squad of misfits, maintain focus in a year already building towards turmoil and grow his own legacy is Goran “Deuces” Dragic.

Last season, Goran admittedly entered the season out of shape. It showed in his early season production and conditioning. As the season flagged and dragged (pardon that), Dragic was one of the few Miami players to elevate his game and spread his wings heading into the postseason.

Those photoshop skills, baby
#7 Goran Dragic

There are trade rumors swirling around the Heat’s veteran point guard, but if Dragic can regain his shooting stroke and build on last year’s first visit to the postseason, The Dragon could be awoken earlier this year than any other.

amanda-waller

Character: Amanda Waller – Waller is a ruthless, high-ranking government official who uses the Suicide Squad to achieve her aims, often in the name of national security. Like Lex Luthor, Waller possesses no super abilities other than her own genius and cunning.

Erik Spoelstra is bright, imaginative and underappreciated. A coach with a current record of 399-241, a .623 win/loss percentage and 70 playoff wins all accomplished before turning 50.

This season will be a true test for the twice crowned coach, as he attempts to ruthlessly use Andy Elisburg to achieve his aims. Spoelstra possesses no super abilities other than his hilarious facial features and reactions during games, but if anyone could talk a group of high-powered, cocky superheroes into giving up their egos to win, my money would be on Coach Spo.

image by @cch1125
new-big-3
The New Big 3?

diabloCharacter: Diablo – In full disclosure, I only read an eight comic special that involved the Suicide Squad when I was younger, and I don’t remember anything about Diablo. But that matters very little, because in the movie, this guy is essentially DC’s Jean Grey without the looks. He melts everything once he gets over the fact that he’s a dangerous mutant who killed everyone close to him or something. To be honest, by the time the squad led by Deadshot got his sads all sorted out, I had stopped paying attention.

Josh Richardson is currently nursing his way back from partially tearing his MCL on September 9th. His importance to the team can not be overstated. This Heat squad is dangerously low on true wing defenders, and Josh Richardson, affectionately known as JRich to Heat Twitter, is an underrated defender both coming from behind and playing head on. His length and athleticism can cause the other side’s guards trouble.

jrich-dunk
#0 Josh Richardson

The four year Volunteer averaged a touch under 7 points a game on 45% shooting as a bench contributor last season, but the rookie averaged 10.2 points on 50% shooting after the All-Star game. Add that to the 2.8 rebounds and 1.9 assists and his league leading 53.3% behind the arc from the break on and you can see why the Heat felt comfortable with their backup shooting guard position.

Most rookies fall off due to fatigue when hitting the rookie wall or the Atlanta strip club scene, but Josh seemed to get better as the season progressed and his minutes climbed. If JRich can catch fire, accept his weaknesses and embrace his strengths, the Heat may have their very own flame-throwing Devil.

Richardson will need to get healthy and then reclaim his role as the primary combo guard for the team to reach an upward trajectory, but the most important player (in my estimation) on the court for the Heat will be last year’s lottery pick Justise Winslow.

deadshot

Character: Deadshot – An antihero, who is the most important, most redeemable member of the squad.

Dwyane Wade is wearing Chicago Bulls red (hold on) *vomits all over the office* (gah, okay), Chris Bosh is in a tailored suit on the bench, and that other guy is sporting a dark wine colored uniform with a lilted rapier on it. As such, Coach Spoelstra will be looking to Justise Winslow to play his own brand of high-IQ, bruising, composed basketball and carry the Heat, especially on defense, this year.

There are those that think Hassan Whiteside is the main cog in the machinations that will work towards a successful campaign. I would posit that Justise Winslow, a former Duke player who is the most important, most improvable member of this squad, is the actual key. As a smaller small forward, Winslow has a combination of poise and explosiveness as well as that annoying Dukie trait of being a perfect pest on defense and getting in position to take charges.  If he can shoot a decent percentage from three, the spacing on the team will immediately change for the better and open up for Whiteside to operate down low. If he can learn to build on a stellar rookie defensive campaign and avoid cheap foul trouble, the lack of true wing defenders in the absence of Luol Deng may be survivable.

Eurosteppinwolf
#20 Justise Winslow

In an SI article, when asked about expectations for the season and the different climate of the team from the veteran loaded roster of his first year, Justise replied with a Pat Riley impression: “… we got a lot of competitors, a lot of dogs.”

The biggest dog on the team this year will be named Justise and much of the league is about to feel his hot, vicious, angry breath on their necks. And if Winslow can somehow become a live-action Deadshot, a younger version of Kawhi Leonard may already be loose in the league.

joker-suicide-squad

Character: The Joker – The Clown Prince of Crime. A character with more variations of his origin and current chapters altering his present iteration has yet to have been written. Jared Leto’s adaptation, an albino rap mogul who is also a prison tattoo and purple leather fetishist, is the latest.

joker-rap-mogul
80s coke dealer Joker

Despite this weird portrayal, it works because the Joker is really the caper-loving cartoon buffoon from the 1960s, the deeply believable psychotic Jack Nicholson of the 1990s, the dark and unhealthy Heath Ledger from a handful of years ago, as well as this present extremely toothy, meth head Paul Hogan version that one can only assume was a direct result of David Ayer’s fever dreams, all wrapped up in one big bag of crazy.

And who better to play the villain with the complicated origin story who once said “Sometimes I remember it one way, sometimes another … if I’m going to have a past, I prefer it to be multiple choice!” than the Heat’s own newly signed, seven-foot puzzle who walked his own twisting path: Hassan Whiteside?

hassanwhiteside
#21 Hassan Whiteside

The freshly minted $98 million dollar big man hopes to do better than Miami’s other most recent unproven $90 million dollar athlete (You know who I’m talking about) and position himself as one of the dominant and elite centers in the NBA. He’ll be following in the footsteps of other Hall of Fame seven-footers such as Alonzo Mourning and the peerless actor Shaquille O’Neal, while hoping not to mimic Leto’s following of an Oscar worthy work with the equivalent of a 90s MTV skit performance.

The Joker’s role in Suicide Squad was introduced to generate interest and provide a secondary conflict for the heroes and government operatives trying to control them. It was not pivotal or substantive. Instead he proves a pointless distraction as well as a constant interruption to the pacing of the film and offers nearly zero incentive to watch. In order to be the opposite for the Heat, Whiteside must prove to be more than a gimmick in the action on offense. We know what he can provide on defense, but to become an effective Jester of Genocide, Harlequin of Hate, or Ace of Knaves for the Heat this year, Hassan Whiteside can’t be a distraction off the court nor a detriment to the flow, pace and space of the offense on it.

And there are reasons to believe he will be an outstanding title character in this role. For example, through four preseason games, Whiteside ranked first in the league in blocks, second in rebounds while putting up over 17 points per game. In the 2nd half of last season, the big man averaged 17.5 points, 13.3 rebounds and 3.4 blocks while only playing a little over 30 minutes a night. Needless to say, his per-36 numbers look less like a box office flop and more like a $98 million dollar success.

I wanted to write a catchy ending to this article, but that wouldn’t really fit in with the motif of meh that was this film. At the conclusion of Suicide Squad, the group of villains acting as individuals finally execute as a team and win the day against an immortal, magical, teleporting witch who makes the tactical decision to stop using her powers and instead fight hand to hand. As one does.

Here’s hoping this Miami Heat season is less frustrating than this subpar movie.

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The 29th season of Miami Heat NBA basketball kicks off Wednesday, October 26th at 7:00 pm EST.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

EXTRA news:

Thanks to @cch1125 and @houtz for their photoshop skills and freetime.

A special congratulations and very hearty good luck to the new Coach of the Memphis Grizzlies, David Fizdale. Hope you have a great rookie season, Coach Fiz.

And finally, it should be acknowledged that the only Heat captain this season is the last man standing from the 2006 championship squad: Udonis Haslem. Mr. 305. The bad dude enforcers call to enforce stuff.

Thanks for always having the guts, UD.

udoniskillspsychot

 

Dwyane Wade: man, myth, Miami legend – A non-numerical look at the greatest player in Miami Heat history.

Wade

“There are no goodbyes for us. Wherever you are, you will always be in my heart.”

-Mahatma Gandhi

We can talk numbers. We can tally up the awards, banners and rings. We can talk about the 13 years of professionalism since he was drafted #5 out of Marquette. But instead, I can simply write three lines as an opening to this article and give the reader such obvious static information, then move on.

Dwyane Wade may have been born and raised in Robbins, Illinois, but for many of us he became a man in the South Florida heat, the 2006 playoffs down 0-2 to Dallas with .6 seconds to go. He would grow his myth while playing for Stan Van Gundy and Pat Riley under intense scrutiny after winning the big one in only his third season in the league.

Being elevated to mythic levels, especially in title starved South Florida, only seemed to drive Wade to greater heights and feats. The steal and game winner against Chicago in Miami, a play that culminated in Wade leaping onto the announcer’s table and declaring “This is my house!”, seems like an eerie foreshadowing. The bright, happy moments before George R.R. Martin writes the inevitable tragedy into the book, probably chuckling as he does. Now we can only look back on the greatness and smile and nod and maybe feel a twinge of regret that we didn’t appreciate it a little harder.

2003 to 2016 were 13 of the best, craziest sports years a fan base will ever get to experience, and we got to ride the whole way with Flash. Mr. 305. DWade. 3. Miami Legend.

Part of that legend has been watered down in recent years by agent tweets and attempts at leverage, but the truth is that Dwyane Wade never failed to sacrifice. For his friends, his team, and for winning. Money, career accolades, stats, and exposure were never above making the Miami Heat the absolute best they could be while he was here.

Miami and South Florida will always ride with #3. We’ll cheer him when he comes back to the AAA. We’ll be there when the Heat organization raises his jersey into the rafters. We’ll raise a fist in pride when the Arisons put up the statue of him yamming on Anderson Varejao. Heat fans will be the ones clamoring the loudest when Dwyane finally goes into the Hall of Fame.

Thank you, Dwyane. For being a good man, a great teammate and an amazing player. For every alley-oop you’ve tossed, every big man you’ve blocked, every bankshot you’ve hit, every ovah-dey-head you did, every And-1, every ring, every win.

-Love Always,

Miami

 

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The 2015-16 Miami Heat: A Eulogy from the Poetry Multiverse

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THE 2015-16 NBA season is drawing to a close. The Miami Heat, an amalgamation of pieces that started out as a veteran heavy, slow-paced, defensive stalwart was forced by chance and choice to evolve into an unexpected, rookie playing, up tempo, scary group that with a little more luck and a lot less injuries, could have gone even further than their exit to the Toronto Raptors in Game 7 of the 2nd round.

So let us celebrate our city, our basketball town, our team, with the most robust and epic poetry slam possible.

LIMERICK

There once was a team called the Heat
A team that no one could beat
Except for Steph
And the NBA refs
But who cares, this season was sweet.

 

HAIKU

From the Three Oh Five

Best sports franchise in history

Bosh, please get well soon

 

Ballad of the Dragon

From Slovenia with love, a warrior of

reptilian versatility.

Couple of firsts to the Suns, to South Florida he comes

how much more dangerous could he be?

A tragic beginning, then his fat began thinning

and teeth, not all, less three.

figuring things out and Mike Ryan would doubt

every three from the top of the key.

Preseason was bad, mid-season was sad

the Dragon was waking slowly.

3rd seed in the rear-view, 1st round gave a preview

of what a fire-breathing Goran could be.

Reigning supreme, like a hero in a dream

the Dragon hath awoken fully.

 

The Sonnet of Rook One and Rook Two

DRAFTED tenth and pick forty

J-Rich and the college hero

Justise Winslow and Agent Zero

both better than rookies, day one;

A defender supreme and a jumpshooting fiend

Our Rook 1 and Rook 2

in the clutch they came through

Eventually becoming key parts of the team;

Rook 1 the Defender, Rook 2 the Flamethrower

Rook 1 gets the stop

Rook 2 makes the shot

Best draft class? Yeah, this one is over;

Justise League of the Triple A Arena

Rook 1 is a rock

Put the ballhandler on lock

Hard work, sweat and rebound cleaner;

J-Rich picked up nearly free

this Rook 2 he’s a sniper

Barely out of his diapers

Also, post-break the best shooter in the league;

Justise and J-Rich, Rook 1 and Rook 2

The future looks bright

These two yutes are alright

And I love those two dudes more than you.

 

Free Verse

We started the year off like a child

Our hearts all full of hope run wild

As we fought to believe again

The team was grasping for relevance

Though the odds were stacked against us

Along the way we lost some men

Chris Bosh fell once more

Rookies forced out on the floor

But still they refuse to give in

Rio and Birdman no more

3rd seed after adding Joe

Pace and space, offensive flow

Back in the playoffs again

Heat twitter went on the rage

A Dragon freed from his cage

and Charlotte made to bend

Wade was emphatic

Hassan’s injury was tragic

Game 7s became a trend

Relying on Dragic

Luol was pure magic

The team fought and clawed

The Raptors were flawed

But our heroes were slain in the end

Though our team was done

No sadness would come

No tears were shed

No tantrums, no bile

No anger or rants

Just a Pat Riley smile

And a promise to sit down with Durant.

 

Ode To Dwyane Wade

Three, Flash, D-Wade

More reliable than an Escalade

Moves smooth as butter and sweet as marmalade

Blowing up defensive schemes like live hand grenades.

I call him champ and Mr. Dwyane

We call him chef when he catches flame

Split your defense and break your brain

Don’t shoot that 3! Oh, he made it rain.

Dwyane Wade is the Rickest Rick

Kicked a Sessions in the prick

Jump kicked Garnett with a flick

Elbows Lance, he don’t give a sh-.

Six foot four but blocks like Dikembe

Bankshot making, ankle breaker

Every guard you send his way

becomes a victim of chef’s flambé.

Three is number 1 in Wade County’s heart

The greatest in the end

There’s no mystery if you forget his name

He’ll make you respect his place in history

again

 

Best of #HeatTwitter:

Special thanks go out to some fine folks on twitter for their contributions to this article and to making this season as fun as possible:

@CrabSmutPeddler@IDB1127@_NBA_Thoughts@Ryan_DiPentima@lebanese_heat@NickCastillo@Sucks@SliceMiami@brassjazz, and @agrawalk1991

And finally, congratulations to new Memphis Grizzlies head coach David Fizdale!

Thanks for the fun times and reading this nonsense. Looking forward to Ring #4 next season!

Ciao.

crying jordan snoopy

The Heat at the Half: Part 1 of at least 2

Wade gamewinner

“Being crazy isn’t enough.”
– Dr. Seuss

Note to the reader – First, a confession. I’m lazy. The good kind of lazy that finds faster, more efficient ways to complete things which generally leads to innovation and invention, but lazy all the same. I began this piece during the peaks and valleys W/L runs following the Dwyane Wade game winner against the Memphis Grizzlies (pictured above). Now the trade deadline (yawn) has come and gone and I’m still not sure what to make of this Miami Heat team and I have no idea what to say about the current roster construction, season altering injuries and the effects of the trade deadline. Thus, I put away the work I’d done up to that point and reduced it back to the original outline of ideas, which you will now get to experience raw.  (FYI: Part 2 of this piece is a fun collage of Chris Bosh’s Miami Heat highlights and career moments. Look for it in late 2018!)

Note to the author – You are out of milk.

Note to the editor – Pam, this is not a message board.

Ahem.

When I decide to write something, my process is probably not much different from actual skilled people of the written word. My recipe is three steps. First off, jot down the most clever musings you can come up with while inside one of those money grab wind tunnel machines. Add a bit of virgin blood (there is plenty on twitter, check my mentions), some papaya and the finger bone of a former ESPN talking head (the more obscure the better). Using mortar and pestle, mix the ingredients together until you have a lumpy paste. Finally, on a 13×9 cookie sheet create lumps of thoughts that look like this: 💩. Makes approximately all the hot takes.

In truth, I actually keep a running notepad++ file of nothing but witty thoughts because of my grandfather. The two of us always loved hoarding one liners or dirty limericks to unleash on each other whenever the chance arose. My Pops won every time, but only because he deployed a weapon of mass destruction in the perfect Lou Costello impression.

Spo2
Coach, out of 5, how many stars would you give this article?

So here are some lazy, random, insightful, and poorly thought out observations from my sleeping mind on the subject of the 2015-16 Miami Heat season at the halfway point OR feel free to avoid this train wreck and watch something actually entertaining from BriTANick:

  • Erik Spoelstra quietly has the greatest facial expression game in the NBA after Pop.
  • The Miami Heat promotional department is second to none. These two fantastic, short clips inspired by 90s TV will make your soul happy (found HERE and HERE ).
  • Josh McRoberts put 0 points in his injury attribute.
  • Luol Deng shoots his jumper as if Tom Thibodeau were still holding him around the ankles.
  • Brian Roberts’ jersey should be retired to the rafters. The number it adorns could represent Mickey Arison’s tax savings for the season.
  • Twitter has fired Erik Spoelstra and Pat Riley numerous times this season. Twitter is stupid.
  • I have never seen a team miss more lay-ups and bunnies in my life.
  • I have never seen a team miss more wide open three pointers in my life.
  • Luol Deng’s all around game is criminally underrated. Also, how crazy is it that BoB and Tila Tequila believe the Earth is as flat as Deng’s jump shot trajectory?
  • I wonder how many of us shrugged off the Rio trade and now miss him like the ex that got away. I miss you Jacquelyn, come home please.
  • When the Heat have been getting destroyed this season, I find myself watching the bench interactions more than the basketball. I highly recommend this. Justise Winslow has some amazing animated reactions. Before the trade, you could catch Udonis and Bird with hilarious expressions. And Spo is always high comedy.
  • Because out of timeout plays are so much more effective for the Heat, I start to question during offensive droughts whether it is possible for them to somehow run every possession out of a timeout.
  • I like ‘the idea’ of Hassan Whiteside. I also like the idea of bacon condoms.
  • This Miami Heat team often plays like a group of dinosaurs who got together for a pickup game that ended up trapped in a tar pit.
  • Gerald Green leaps like a Jedi but shoots like a stormtrooper.
  • If McBob learned to unleash a hair whip attack as he drove the lane, he would be unstoppable. [immediately following McRobert’s haircut] NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!
  • I’m going to miss Udonis Haslem so much.
  • The most amusing people I follow on twitter are the Heat fans that think Michael Beasley and Steve Novak are actual NBA basketball players.
  • Speaking of ancient basketball players, the way Dwight Howard and Carmelo Anthony were deemed possible saviors during the trade deadline was disappointing, twitter.
  • I am a fan of Justise Winslow. Quietly, his shot has improved and his minutes have increased, specifically in crunch time.
  • Something Justise Winslow should open up a camp and teach other NBA players is when to contest a shot and when to attempt to block a shot. Winslow rarely fouls a jump shooter or gives up a three-point play chance because of his footwork and discipline.
  • The Heat offense without Chris Bosh is fairly easy to defend. Collapse the paint, maintain contact with Wade. That’s about all you need to do. Strangely, without both Bosh and Wade, the Heat are more difficult to key on because there is no focal point outside of Goran.
  • Beno Udrih is fun.
  • Post All-Star weekend, the Heat are running out a lineup of Dragic, Deng, Winslow and McBob that does nothing but play like they were all snorting rocket fuel in the huddle. Transition offense, pace, and shot attempts are all way up. A cool part of the scheme change is that all 4 guys are running the instant they get a rebound, attacking before the defense has a chance to reset.
  • The Miami Heat won a game this season while not hitting a 3 point shot. They also put up over 114 points making only two 3 pointers (credit to Tom Haberstroh). This team may shoot like Carlton from long distance, but they score exceptionally in the paint. Spoelstra is a genius.
  • I haven’t been to a Heat game since the banner raising in 2013. I think it is time to rectify that.
  • After watching the remnants of this Heat squad rattle off two very impressive wins, maybe being crazy is enough. RELEASE THE BEASLEY (nah).
  • And my final thought on the mid-season is simple and straight-forward: Get well soon, Chris Bosh, we miss you.
ChrisBosh3
#1 on our team and #1 in our hearts

*Of course, I wouldn’t be half as funny or interesting if I didn’t steal at least two-thirds of my material from my followers, so I’m going to challenge everyone to post a comment with your observation for the year. If I like it, I’ll add it to a second list and update this post as I see fit.
**By the way, if you readers don’t comment, I’ll tell you exactly what is going to end up happening. I’m eventually going to get bored, create fake accounts and write my own amazingly inaccurate comments and then attribute them to my followers randomly. So win-win, really.

The Quarter Season Heat Report: Advanced Delusionary Schizophrenia with Involuntary Narcissistic Rage

The Ego, the Idiot and Hank.

The affliction that makes Jim Carrey’s Charlie Baileygates/Hank Evans such a memorable character in the Farrelly brothers’ comedy Me, Myself & Irene is the same that frames the 2015 iteration of the Miami Heat as fun and frustrating, exhilarating and horrifying, frenetic and sluggish. Sometimes exhibiting the demeanor of sensitive good guy Charlie, other times bullying like bad boy Hank and, on rare occasion, listless like the portrayal of Renée Zellweger’s Irene; this basketball team definitely suffers from advanced delusionary schizophrenia with involuntary narcissistic rage.

The Heat are currently (16-10) and 3rd in the Eastern Conference. Play of late has been uneven and inconsistent. The team goes through stretches, mainly in the early 1st and 3rd quarters, where the starting five look like they’ve never even met each other before. At times, the offense looks like a five man pick up scrimmage at the local Y rather than an organized  scheme. The defense has a very 2013 Miami Heat switch flipping quality to it, but this version is neither as athletic nor as able to take advantage of fast breaks as the Flying Death Machine days of yore.

Yet, when things click and the trio of Wade, Bosh and Dragic begin humming in the pick and roll game and Deng and rookie Justise Winslow’s defense are on lockdown and Whiteside starts swatting and flexing, the Heat look like contenders. At least in the Eastern Conference.

In short, this team is nuts. So the Charlie/Hank/Irene dynamic fits into how I’ve been watching Heat games lately. me, myself and ireneIf you were to consider the characters in the movie as the three segments of the human psyche (id, ego, superego), for instance, Charlie would be the part of the ego that convinces you to stay home Saturday night because your cat might get lonely.

Thus, there is very little Charlie in one Mr. Dwyane Wade. It only really exudes in the manner in which advanced stats tell the story of his season. Wade is undergoing a mild renaissance in terms of playing time as he’s only missed a single game this season. He’s currently averaging 18.5 ppg (8th*), and is in the top 10 of NBA shooting guards in a variety of categories.  You’d also notice that while he is 3rd among qualified shooting guards in assists per game at 4.5, he is also bottom 5 in turnovers per game with 2.5.  Split personality much? Furthermore, Wade ranks top 10 in blocks and when he is active the number of blocks the Heat generate increases significantly, but the numbers show us that when he is not on the court the team’s overall defense improves. What is this madness?

Let’s move on. To me, the Irene character is the uneven, unsure, waffling voice that is innate in all of us. When Wade gets in his Irene, he tends to play with an attitude of slovenly expectation, questioning the reliability of his teammates and going full hero mode. Let’s be honest with each other, okay? Witnessing the soon to be 34 year old shooting guard cross over defenders and get to the rim is a phenomenally enjoyable experience. Watching him miss a layup because he expects the foul to be called and then the ensuing argument with the referee instead of getting back on defense makes me wish I was this cow:

cow

The cow pictured above is also a metaphor for Dwyane Wade’s desire to take ill-advised, long jumpers in the 4th quarter of close games. And the homicidal state trooper is a metaphor for the process I wish Erik Spoelstra would use to explain how efficiency works.

“Oh yeah? Well, this is just a fist. But when I start throwing it around, it can leave one hell of a mess.” -Hank Evans

And thus, we come to the fun part of the article. My favorite character in Me, Myself & Irene is Hank Evans. I think he won me over when he said, “Yes, I tricked you. It was deceitful, it was disgusting and despicable. But just for once, see it from my side.” Hank Evans is a cocky, foul-mouthed, don’t give a flip** archetype who exists as an unstoppable confidence machine that hands out one-liners and challenges like Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers are handing out Ls. Did I mention that Dwyane Wade is Hank Evans on a basketball court?

hankevans
What are you looking at, trucker**?

The range and sheer number of brilliant plays made night to night that keep your head shaking and faith strong in the Hall of Famer continue a career of excellence. This version of Wade emerges when the shooting guard puts the team on his back and says “I got this.” And don’t be fooled, this team desperately needs him to turn this on from time to time. There are moments when the Heat offense crumbles into Gerald Green chuck and pray shots, and it is in these moments that Wade’s veteran savvy, will and guile are needed.

Whewade-bosh1n Wade responds, it is usually with the same kind of emphatic resonance that Hank would appreciate. In the Heat’s 100-97 home win against the Grizzlies, Wade made several key plays on both sides of the ball to secure an end to the team’s three game losing streak culminating in this jumpshot with 21.9 seconds left followed by a Hank-esque string of obscenities, some incredible defensive focus and then the win.

It has been said that most of the time the crazy creeps up on you.

“Listen, Pocahontas, unless you put your ear to the ground, you’ll never hear the buffalo comin’!” -Hank Evans

And sometimes the crazy was there all along.

Hassan Whiteside is an NBA anomaly. His stats, attitude, play style, physical and mental aptitudes and a myriad of other effects and mutant factoids make up the cartoon character that plays center for the Miami Heat. The brash, talented big man with a penchant for dunking, posing, sulking and settling exhibits a multiple personality that is part DJ Khaled, part Ben Wallace, and part 13 year old PantsFreeZone when he asked for a baseball themed birthday party and was given a Cowboys and Indians one instead. (You were right, mom. The cap guns made me the most popular kid in school for a week.)

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Just because I rock doesn’t mean I’m made of stone.

The guy who pierced the world’s heart saying “I’m just trying to get my NBA2K rating up.” after blocking 12 shots against the Bulls could be none other than good, old Charlie. Bringing youthful exuberance and mirth with a tiny amount of smug and a massive amount of ego into everything he touches, this season Whiteside is ranked top 10 in rebounds, field goal percentage and double doubles. Oh, and he’s pretty good at blocking the basketball.

Blocks. Hmmm. How to explain how dominant in this category Hassan Whiteside has been….

 

RK PLAYER TEAM GP MPG BLK PF BLKPG BLKP48M BLK/PF
1 Hassan Whiteside, C MIA 26 28.2 104 61 4.00 6.81 1.70
2 DeAndre Jordan, C LAC 28 32.6 69 89 2.46 3.63 0.78

There we go. Do I need to point out how ridiculously lopsided those numbers are between #1 and #2 in the league? Allow me to sum it up like this: Hassan Whiteside is doing to blocks what Steph Curry is doing to 3 point shooting.

Whiteside’s emotional and mental state are where you’ll find his inner Irene. You’ll see it when teams go to Hack-A-Hassan and he misses a few free throws in a row. It rears up when he finds himself sitting on the bench in the 4th quarter. Social media is his muse and will probably one day lead to him being arrested by the Rhode Island State Police.

But boy oh boy, Hank Whiteside is fun. Always ready to rock, bringing thunderous putbacks, monster dunks off of perfectly executed and placed Dwyane Wade alley oops, blocks into fast breaks, blocks into the stands, blocks into orbit. Hassan Whiteside giving a poo** is one of the few legitimate times you have a chance to see an athlete do something extraordinary. It is electric; like I assume doing meth and pop rocks would feel.

“He may have advanced delusionary schizophrenia with involuntary narcissistic rage. But he is a very gentle person!” -Jamaal

Perhaps no other member of the Miami Heat personifies advanced delusionary schizophrenia with involuntary narcissistic rage better than Goran Dragic. On any given night, you might have witnessed all three versions of Dragic playing in the same game. It has been a very weird and strange first quarter of the season for the Slovenian Slasher.

Goran Dragic’s superego and Dwyane Wade’s id have been doing battle all year leading to drops in every category across the board for the point guard except assists, which has probably been generated due to an early reluctance to shoot while in the middle of a career worst shooting slump. Scoring 5 points less per game, down .7% points in FG% and shooting just 26% from three (which includes an insanely terrible corner three percentage), nice guy Charlie was on display in the early part of the season as I seriously contemplated suggesting we change his well known moniker to “Toothless” of How To Train Your Dragon fame.

The only time Dragic exemplifies Irene is when he plays off while Wade dominates the ball. Amid his shooting woes, he was a reluctant spacer and rarely made the types of cuts that allowed Wade to operate at peak efficiency. Thankfully, the two stars have learned to play and communicate with each other as of late. And the emergence of Hank the Dragon has been an enjoyable viewing experience.

dragic-tooth

The tooth. In a season-in-a-nutshell moment for the Heat PG, Goran Dragic took an Al Horford elbow to the face, was whistled for a foul and ended up on his ass staring up at the roof of Phillips Arena missing a chunk of his incisor. A handful of minutes later, the gritty guard was back on the court leading the team to a tough victory.

The Dragon is coming. Like winter or in-laws or the next season of the Miami Dolphins, it is inevitable. Since losing that tooth, Goran has been more aggressive attacking the rim, more confident in his jumpshot and even got ejected from a game for violently asking ‘What?’. From Toothless to savage beast sans a fang, the draconic blood of The Dragon pumps hot, fierce and chaotic. Looking on, Hank Evans weeps.

Clearly, the 2015 Miami Heat are the product of a deranged mind. The bastard child of Sheogorath and Lyssa. The entirety of the Trump presidential candidacy. With three quarters of the season remaining, I look forward to seeing what this brand of insanity continues to produce. Will it be on par with my favorite bit of madness the internet ever created?

 

*All rankings are based off nba.com and were pulled from: HERE

**Censored for TNT

The Arrival

‘Hello World!’

The 2015-16 Miami Heat said ‘Hello World!’ on Wednesday night (3 weeks ago) by beating their first opponent, the Charlotte Hornets, if not easily then readily. An opening game that was and an opening line that is, almost perfect. Even 9 games in, this still holds true. Allow me to explain.

Most current computer science courses use the above line as the introduction to computer coding syntax and logic. The first assignment in most textbooks is to write a self contained program that displays the desired results, “Hello World!”. A simple task, however, my first attempt to produce the phrase yielded something resembling a 10,000 year old dead language. A second attempt burned down and then sank into the swamp. But on the third attempt I managed to get the monitor to display those two beautiful words: ‘Jello World?’. Almost perfect.

I’ve always loved computers. Technology. Social Media is my muse. If you know of me, I hide behind the virtual anonymity of twitter as @PantsFreeZone like the fraudulent failure but fabulously mustached, Wizard of Oz. Like Claw from Inspector Gadget. Or Evan Goldberg. In fact, many people simply picture me as Snoopy because of my twitter avatar and I think that would make Charles Schulz very uncomfortable.

snoopysadgif

“I wanted to have the adoration of John Lennon but have the anonymity of Ringo Starr. I didn’t want to be a frontman. I just wanted to be back there and still be a rock and roll star at the same time.” – Kurt Cobain

So why am I here? What do I actually wish to disclose to you, one of the readers who probably wondered onto this page looking for a nudist colony trip adviser? I’m glad you asked. I love sports. That is something you are allowed to know about me. I love the sound of a net snapping, that breath of a second before a crowd explodes, last second shots, defensive heroics, greatness and goatness, in a word, the NBA and if we drill it down even further, I specifically love the Miami Heat. I also love reading and writing. So I thought I would combine the two and tell you why I am in love with this particular team and this season. But not all today. (Maybe we can make this a regular thing. Or perhaps a one time moment, which we all look back on in 10 years, with a wistful sigh and say ‘Remember when that Pants guy built his billion-dollar empire off of that one stupid blog post?’)

nba miami heat

The Miami Heat are a team that I’ve grown up with and wearing. A team that has watched me pour cereal on my head while singing Happy Birthday to myself in a high chair (I was 23). A team that gifted a wide-eyed, lanky youth a Foam Finger signed by the illustrious Bimbo Coles. The team that I pretended to be a part of for 8 years in my parents’ driveway practicing a Glenn Rice jumper or a Tim Hardaway crossover or a Harold Minor dunk just kidding, we only practiced the fundamentals in my driveway, none of that flashy, fancy gibberish. Bounce passes and taking charges 24/7.

As a child, I only wanted two things really; the board game Fireball Island and every Marvel Heroes trading card in existence. A kid I went to school with was gifted Fireball Island for his birthday and me as a best friend the day after. We played that game for hours and I returned day after day to his home for weeks. I ate at his house, slept there when it was allowed and essentially moved in. Everything was almost perfect. Then one day, Pony Boy’s mother used the grill to burn Fireball Island to cinders in a moment of irony and terror to finally rid her household of me.

milton-bradley-fireball-island-gameplay
Fireball Island. EST 1992

When I got older the sport of basketball became a form of mental release and the basketball court a bastion from the pressures of grades, puberty and girls. This was the era when cellphones were still the size of bricks and not everyone had one, thus I could bike to the local court and hoist shots for hours in solitude. Running plays and possible situations. Counting down “3…2…1” and trying to hit a miracle buzzer beater or the True/False game which touched on the major topics of the time like: “If I make this shot, Amy in Chemistry will go out with me.” and then airballing said shot to truly represent the reality that was my teenage social life. I didn’t have a ton of friends. My parents were splitting up. Life was uneven, but the Heat were an oasis I could cling to amid the turbulence. During this time, basketball was half therapist, half Magic 8-ball and half best friend. And the NBA’s Miami Heat, they were my new Fireball Island.

MiamiHeat
That logo is fire. Literally.

The Miami Heat. Born in the ashes of 1988. A Phoenix burgeoning despite the crazy humidity. A fanbase’s refuge in the tumultuous whirlwind that is South Florida sports. Almost always equal to the task of expectation. Revered, respected and envied for the excellence manifest in the team’s history, present and future. I couldn’t tell you my sister’s children’s names, but I can list moments and memories from Heat games of recent glory and the distant past. Ray Allen Game 6. Dwyane Wade tipping away the attempted lob at the end of Game 3 in 2006 which broke the Heat through and led to their first ever championship. Bosh screaming after hitting a game winner versus Portland. J-Will’s panache, Toine’s shimmy, Payton’s last jumper. Jeff Van Gundy superglued to Zo’s leg. Mike Miller, Shane Battier, PJ Brown, James Posey and each of their moments. The Warden. Pat Riley and his rings. May 4th, 1997. 2006. Mario Chalmers dribbling the ball off of his foot out of bounds. And the best part is that this memory tapestry is available to all of us. Every moment, every perfect, beautiful second, every heartbreaking “Of course” instant is etched in the faces and smiles of the members of Section 400, located at the very top of the Miami Heat’s arena. Feel free to visit. Bring roasted almonds.

This team is different. This season is different. You can almost see the dark gloom of last season evaporate like a shadow, rebounding like a perfect Josh McRoberts’ bounce pass off of the polished wood floor and mesmerizing us all, as if he had swept a gentle hand through his luscious locks and glanced our way. Ahem. This team announced it’s “Hello World!” with old school thump in Udonis Haslem and classic Dwyane Wade, looking lithe and healthier than he has in the past 5 years.

During the opening game, I was transported once again to my sanctuary for the duration. A smile affixed to my face. My fingers dancing over the keyboard in animated joy trading verbal high fives via twitter and text. Eyes watching for that next “…” moment. Our Heat have arrived. My Fireball Island has arisen. Come, my friends, the season beckons, my introduction is complete and it is time to write that next line of code:

int main()

{ cout << “Hello World!\n”;

cout << “Get off my lawn!\n”;

return 0; }

Almost perfect.

Let’s enjoy the season together, shall we?

400 section.jpg
Every moment, every perfect, beautiful second, every heartbreaking “Of course” instant is etched in the faces and smiles of the members of Section 400, located at the very top of the Miami Heat’s home arena.