Already 21 games into the season, the Miami Heat have begun with a 12-9 record so far (three games shy of the total amount of games they won last season: 15). At this point, it can be said that progress has been made in the Miami Heat organization and it looks like there's more to come. The Heat entered the season with a chip on their shoulder, constantly being doubted and questioned by sport analysts and enthusiasts. The team felt like they had something to prove and it seems like they're doing just that every night on the hardwood.
The new-look Heat launched an ad campaign labeled "Something to Prove," in order to make it clear that the team was going to compete and prove the doubters wrong. This message has gone beyond becoming a team slogan, it's become an organizational attitude. The campaign went to the extent of creating a website - Something2Prove.net - which showcases videos, commentary, news, and promo material on the concept of "Something to Prove." One radio ad shows Wade reciting doubts that constantly have been clouding his image over the past few seasons, and it ends in him saying "To the doubters..." as he stands up and walks away from the microphone. The message reveals a sense of confidence and determination to show everyone that this team is serious about competing this season and in seasons to come.
Going along the lines of proving the skeptics wrong, it's hard to ignore the play of Miami's star player: Dwyane Wade. He's averaging 29.5 points per game, 7.5 assists per game, and 5 rebounds per game. That puts Wade as number one in scoring and number eight in assists in the league, as well as number six in rebounds among guards. His consistent excellence has already proven that he's back in all-star form. The only thing left for him to do is stay healthy and continue his consistent play. He's already receiving "MVP" chants from Miami fans and is in the MVP talks amongst some sport analysts. We'll see how high Wade can push himself and the team as the season goes on.
Let's not forget the solid supporting cast that Wade has received considerable help from. Mario Chalmers is turning out to be a solid defender, and efficient three-point shooter, and a great overall point guard. Michael Beasley is averaging over 13 points per game and is now providing hustle and offense off the bench. Shawn Marion and Udonis Haslem has become the "clean up" guys on the team by outrebounding the opposing team on a daily basis and filling up the scoreboard a bit as well. Overall, the team is playing at high level of competition and is doing what they've set out to do - win games.
The Heat's future looks pretty clear as of now, gaining depth back into their lineup through the likes of Shaun Livingston and Jamal Magloire. Once they get James Jones and Dorell Wright back in action, the team will become more of an overall threat with a solid starting lineup and a decent back-up group. It seems like the Heat can easily make the playoffs as a 5th, 6th, 7th, or 8th seed, but let's wait and see if they can recapture the division lead and gain a top-four spot in the playoffs. The team is playing with a new, fresh approach to each game with a revitalized offense and a disruptive defense. The doubters better be ready to take back their words or risk swallowing the facts of reality.