The NBA Champs

April 11, 2012
By Anonymous

For all the Miami Heat fans out there that think that they will cruise through the playoffs and win the championship this year, I will tell you why they are not going to. There is a young, small market team that plays in Ford Center, Oklahoma City that has some business to be done. The Oklahoma City Thunder will be the NBA champions because of their free throw shooting, superior bench, and significant point guard.

The Thunder are a better contender this year than the Heat because of their free throw shooting. Miami has a 76.1 free throw shooting percentage this season. That's good for above average in the league. The Thunder shoot 83.6 percent and that is the best in the NBA. Imagine there are two seconds left and your team is down by one point and a player is at the line for two shots and the win. If you can make them, you will win that playoff game, but if you miss, then it will be a grueling end to your season. In the Heat’s seven losses this season, two of them have come because they could not hit free throws in the last minute of the game. That hasn’t happened to the Thunder since they were the Seattle SuperSonics (2008).

Another part to having a championship caliber team is having a “go to scorer” off the bench. Miami doesn’t have a substitute who is an offensive impact player. I think that this is the most important part. The Thunder, however, has the best scorer off the bench in the entire league. His name is James Harden and he is getting better fast. The Heat doesn’t have anyone who averages more than ten points off the bench but Harden averages 17.4 per game. So, when the big three have no one else to turn to, they will just have to do it by themselves. By contrast, when Westbrook and Durant are tired they can hand the game over to Harden without any doubt. Last year in the finals, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James were playing badly, the team was too because their bench stinks. That's why the Heat lost last year. The Thunder won’t have that problem. The Thunders bench has improved; the Heat’s has basically stayed the same.

The final reason why the Heat are not as strong as the Thunder this year is the talent at the point guard position. Russell Westbrook is significantly better than Mario Chalmers. All teams that want to contend need a solid point guard that can penetrate and then pass when the defense is weak. They need to be able to take control of an offense. Russell Westbrook is in the conversation for the best point guard in the NBA. Let’s just say that Mario Chalmers is not. Russell averages the least amount of turnovers among point guards, and is twenty first in the league in assists. Chalmers is forty eighth, Westbrook is the leading scorer out of every single point guard. He averages twenty three points per game. Mario is 58th and only scorers 11.2 points point per game. When your point guard doesn't have as many assists, then your team doesn't have as many points. If he can't get through the defense, then the whole offense is one on one. Take the Knicks, for example, they lost eight in a row but as soon as Jeremy Lin, a good point guard, came along they won eight in a row against good competition.

The Thunder is definitely better than the Heat. They are better free throw shooters, their bench is more productive, and the point guard play is far superior. The Thunder will face off against the Heat in the finals this year and beat the Heat in a seven game series. Game seven will be fun to watch. My prediction is that the Thunder will win 96 to 91.

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