Everyone hates the Miami Heat because they are no-good bullies who just want to team up with other superstars to win a championship and not actually try hard like real tough guy athletes of the ’80s and ’90s. Just ask Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, and Magic Johnson. They know competition, what with their multiple Hall-of-Fame teammates in an era before the salary cap.
Sorry, I blacked out there for a second. The point is that while the Heat have received a lot of criticism for the way they created this particular incarnation of the roster, they typically haven’t been criticized for how they’ll perform on the court. You know, because they have two of the three best players in the league, not to mention three of the 15 best.
But Magic GM Otis Smith is not so shy about knocking the Miami roster. Just check out these comments courtesy of Tim Povtak at FanHouse:
“They’ve got a good three (players). I’ve got a good 12. We’re as deep as any team in the league, probably deeper,” said Magic general manager Otis Smith. “They’ve got three, and we’re solid 1-12. Until they start playing the games, it’s just a team on paper.”
Smith is absolutely right: the Heat are still just a team on paper. But so are the Magic, sadly. They proved exactly as much last season, when several starters and bench titans underperformed on the way to a conference finals exit at the hands of the Celtics. Plus, they had trouble finding a steady rotation throughout the season, in part because they have too many good players making rotation-player money (the very same 1-12 mentioned by Smith, in fact).
So yes, the Magic are better 1-12. But you also only play five guys at a time, and when three of those players are stars used to playing around 40 minutes a night, the 4-12 dudes don’t matter so much.
It’s hard to get to upset at Smith for these comments — the Magic are trying to create an in-state rivalry with the Heat, and you do that by creating some bad blood before they even tip off. But real rivalries are only forged in the crucible of battle, and as of now the Magic look like a real underdog in those matchups.
The Magic want to stay big-time players in the East this season. But you do that by winning important games, not by needling a squad that’s expected to pillage our nation’s arenas from the fall to the spring.