JT: Shaq failure means South Beach better be prepared to handle LeBron James-Dwayne Wade duo

It could come from Hollywood:

The Adventures of Diesel and Flash II:
The Next Rise to Power featuring LeBron James

“Shaquille O’Neal and Dwayne Wade team up again to deliver another blockbuster, saving the city of Miami from basketball mediocrity. Like all great duos the two parted ways looking for brighter pastures. But, when the city of Miami came calling, Diesel and Flash again came to the rescue.”

I’m not predicting a third Shaq trade in two years. Instead, Shaq is going to be providing South Beach with a duo of such magnitude you could previously only create it on NBA Live.

The Shaq Experiment in Cleveland is a failure. In 2010, LeBron James will be heading south to Miami.

There, I said it.

Bring on the hate mail and tell me I’m crazy. Better yet, show me some numbers and prove me wrong. I’ve been a critic since I saw the trade come across the bottom line on June 26 and I’m not backing down now.

There’s a reason Team USA doesn’t win a gold medal in every single Olympics. There’s a reason the New York Yankees don’t win the World Series every year. There’s a reason the Detroit Pistons knocked off Shaq’s hall-of-fame Lakers in 2004. It’s called chemistry.

If you could just grab the best talent and spew it on the court, why would we pay coaches and general managers so much?

The Shaq experiment was destined to fail from the start.

What makes LeBron James great? It sure isn’t his jump shot (he’s not Kobe Bryant). It’s not his amazing ball skills and quickness (he’s not D-Wade). It is LeBron’s ability to drive to the rim with his 6-foot-8-inch, 250-pound frame. He very well may be better at driving through the lane than anyone in NBA history. He is a freight train in perfect control, able to glide through the air and deliver with such force that shot blockers need not apply. When he begins his drive, you are at his mercy.

This isn’t to say LeBron James doesn’t have a good jump shot, or that he doesn’t have exceptional ball handling skills and quickness. But, when you take away his drive you take away his identity. The funny thing is, the only person that has proven, and will continue to prove, able to take away LeBron's greatest strength is his own center, Shaquille O’Neal.

Ten years ago, LeBron and Shaq may have made a fantastic pair. But in order to get by Orlando and Boston in the Eastern Conference, the Cavaliers will need more than an aging O'Neal clogging the lane.

When Shaq hogs the paint, it forces LeBron to switch to his secondary weapon: his jump shot. It’s like when Ohio State asks Terrelle Pryor to step back and pass too much, you just have to let the kid play.

What’s ironic is the Cavaliers were right in grabbing a Phoenix center, they just grabbed the wrong one. Could you imagine a mobile and agile Amare Stoudemire running the pick-and-roll with the King?

All this only builds up to the NBA’s shuffle and deal off-season in 2010, when James will reportedly test the free agent market if Cleveland can’t surround him with a cast capable of winning a championship.

One of the teams which can afford James is the Miami Heat. There has been plenty of speculation LeBron would love to join his friend and Olympic teammate Dwayne Wade down in Miami.

We can only imagine the possibilities. Would the chemistry be there? It sure looked like it was in Beijing during the Olympics.

(Rumors have spread the Heat could fit Chris Bosh on the payroll as well if the right general manager steps in. I’m not willing to tread those waters yet.)

I understand only 20 or so games have been played this season, and much is still to be hashed out. But when everything goes to hell in Cleveland (e.g. they don’t advance past the second round of the playoffs), you heard it here first.

(Kudos to Keith Allison for the photo off of Wikimedia Commons. It is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 license.)


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