From 15 wins to 43 wins - everyone has heard the story. It was a great comeback season and one that went right along the lines of their slogan, "Something2Prove." If I told you that Mario Chalmers, Daequan Cook and Michael Beasley were going to play a significant role on the Heat AND they would make the playoffs, you'd tell me I'm crazy. It would be like the Minnesota Timberwolves - lots of talent, not enough experience.
Dwyane Wade was a great MVP-like performer all season long and was the driving force of this team. At the same time, you can't reach the playoffs as a one-man show. There is lots of credit to be spread around amongst the Miami Heat roster. Wade was the symbol of the team, but the squad was the glue that made it all come together.
A season gone by and now the team not only has some accomplishments under their belt, they have experience as well. The Miami Heat were just like the Atlanta Hawks one season ago. People doubted them, they had little experience and they were up against the better team. Nonetheless they pushed their 1st round series to an unexpected Game 7 and fought their hearts out. The same can be said about Miami this time around.
The 2008-09 season will always be remembered not just as a rebuilding step, but as a stride towards elite status. Miami is full of potential with a young core and a few veteran pieces on board. Some playoff experience only makes them all the better next season. And while many have their eyes on 2010, Pat Riley is a here-and-now type of guy and will be looking for some small pieces this off season, before the 2010 bonanza.
Expect Miami to be a better team next year and be back with even more passion and drive than this season. It's only a matter of time before people will consider Miami as an Eastern Conference contender once again.
Congratulations to the Miami Heat, Erik Spoelstra, Dwyane Wade and the entire organization for making the best out of this season. It was worth the time and effort to watch Miami progress. "There's always next season" and it's gonna be more than just a cliche.