No, the NBA wasn't ruined on the night of July 8th, 2010, but something else was:
LeBron James' legacy.
I'd be lying if I said I wasn't absolutely stunned when LeBron announced he'd be going to South Beach. Although, in doing so, he has made arguably the single biggest mistake of his basketball career; a mistake that will haunt him for the rest of his life.
I think we now know what kind of person James truly is. If there was any doubt before, it has been removed. By joining the Heat, he has permanently tarnished his legacy. It's a lose-lose situation if you think about it:
- If this Heat team dominates the league and wins 6 titles (pretty much the best-case scenario), there will still be a little asterisk next to all those championships in people's minds.
- If this Heat team never wins a championship, it will be viewed as one of the single greatest failures in the history of sports. LeBron and Co. would never live it down.
- If this Heat team loses a series or two in the Finals (or ECF, etc.) the murmurs will start to appear, and only grow louder.
Contrary to what he said, James didn't pick the team that gives him the best opportunity to win now and for the longest period of time -- that team would happen to be the Bulls. But hey, what's done is done. James is a Heat (...?) now. More importantly, there's no reason to panic and wave the white flag. We're still in a very good situation, and we can compete with the three-headed monster in Miami. Let's compare the two teams:
Rose vs. Wade
This statement is debatable, but I feel that Rose will be slightly worse or just about equal to Wade in the not-so-distant future. Wade will be 29 by the end of the 2010-11 season, and with his style of play and injury history, you have to wonder how long he'll still be playing at an elite level. Now, that's not to say Rose's peak is a declining Wade. I believe Derrick has the special combination of amazing work ethic, a good head on his shoulders, and physical abilities/tools to become something truly incredible.
Boozer vs. Bosh
While you could make the argument that Bosh is the slightly better player than Boozer overall, Boozer is the better fit for our team. Sure, he could be a little younger, but it is what it is. Both are All-Star power forwards.
Deng vs. LeBron
I suppose it helps that one of our best defensive players happens to play the same position as LeBron, but let's not kid ourselves, no one can completely shut down James. Maybe if we got Delonte West a Deng mask... nah, sorry, just thinking out loud.
And lastly, the rest of the notable players from both rosters.
Bulls: Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson, Omer Asik(?), James Johnson,
Heat: Mike Miller, Mario Chalmers
As you can see, we match up pretty well with this Heat team right now, as well as in the future. We are deeper and, for the most part, younger. Also, we still have a good chunk of cap space to use. Things are definitely not as bad as some people have made them out to be. I actually like our current situation and our chances of legitimately competing with Miami and the other top teams.
We got this.