Let me lead off by saying I do not think the Bucks are anywhere near as talented as the Miami Heat. The Heat will be one of the most interesting and entertaining teams in the NBA since Jordan was with the Bulls. Whether you like how it happened, the Heat will be one team that every fan in the NBA will at least pay attention to outside of their own team/division for the entire season. They will be a traveling circus.
But… Will they be tough enough to endure in the playoffs?
This idea came to me a week ago. Chris Bosh was on the Dan Patrick show and was asked the question, “Have you ever been in a fight?” This was on the heels of the Reds-Cardinals brawl. Bosh’s answer was no, which is not a bad thing as violence should not be celebrated but the answer did conjure up a crazy idea in my head.
Chris Bosh and especially Lebron James were probably the best players at every level they have played at. Playgrounds, grade school, middle school, AAU, and all the way up to the NBA. Even though Dwayne Wade was late-bloomer I am going to assume he also benefited from being the best of his piers throughout childhood. One thing happens when you are at that level of greatness, others fight for you.
In basketball, stars get protected at all levels. They do not do the dirty work. On the playground or AAU, if they do get fouled hard, one of their teammates will handle the retaliation whether it be another foul, shoving or more. You see this all the time, it is one of many reasons why so few stars ever foul out.
One problem I see with the Heat is they will have three star players on the floor at one time, most of the time. That does not leave many guys to handle the hard picks, taking a charge, grabbing and banging underneath that can help win a series. Yes, the Heat will be extremely talented, may even win over 70 games. But when a playoff series gets chippy, and physical, will any of the Heat stars be able to mix it up? They have played their entire basketball lives without having to get involved with the extracurricular activities that take place on a basketball court. For the Heat to make it past the Celtics, Magic, Bulls and even Bucks I think one, maybe two, of the three will have to take on a new and unfamiliar identity.
Bucks Have Toughness
The one thing the Bucks do possess is toughness. It is ingrained in them from their coach Scott Skiles. The Bucks have plenty of role players that can use up their fouls, get dirty underneath the basket, take a charge, give a hard foul while running the risk of a flagrant being called. Basketball can become a game that is determined by doing the little things and the Bucks were one of the better teams in the league at doing those things. Can this toughness be enough to have a chance against a team as talented as the Heat?
It could become the one advantage teams like Milwaukee and Boston have over Heat.