Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Best Loss in Heat History

Source: Nick Laham/Getty Images

What are the odds? The odds that something that seemed like a misfortune actually was a blessing in disguise. The odds that an unlikely bounce of a lottery ball changed Miami Heat (and NBA) history.

The odds are 1.7%.

That was the probability of the Chicago Bulls securing the #1 overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft. Meanwhile, the Miami Heat held a 25% chance at winning the top pick. But that day the Bulls were just a bit more lucky.

Or were they?

At the time, the definitive #1 pick was the University of Memphis’ superstar guard, Derrick Rose. Leaving Kansas State forward Michael Beasley as the consensus #2 selection. Miami had their eyes on Rose all along, but fate would not make their vision a reality.

Living Up to the Hype

In the ensuing seasons, Rose lived up to his expectations; showcasing his explosiveness and leadership qualities at the pro level. Rose even became the youngest MVP in NBA history in 2011. His future seemed very bright.

Beasley, on the other hand, wasn’t on the same track; lacking maturity and falling short of top-pick-level production. Averaging just over 14 points in two seasons with the Heat, things didn’t look as promising for him. Eventually Miami shipped Beasley off to Minnesota for a second-round pick.

The Unexpected 

Well, remember that 2008 lottery ball? Nobody expected that improbable bounce to have such profound impact five years later. Enter 2013, where we see a much different picture.

A picture that has Rose missing two consecutive seasons to devastating knee injuries. A picture that has Beasley back in a Heat uniform playing at a highly efficient level. A picture that illustrates a completely unexpected plot twist.

Imagine what would have happened if the odds were in Miami’s favor on the evening of June 28th, 2008; selecting Rose with the #1 pick. Would Miami have gone after both LeBron James and Chris Bosh with Rose on their roster? Would they have reached the NBA Finals in three consecutive seasons? Would they be back-to-back NBA champions?

On that draft day, losing was the best thing to ever happen to the Miami Heat.

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