The 1995-96 NBA season was one for the history books, as the Chicago Bulls – led by Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman – left its stamp on the basketball world by posting the best record in league history, a 72-10 regular season mark.
Former NBA head coach and current analyst Jeff Van Gundy thinks that record is soon to be broken by the Miami Heat.
“They will break the single-season win record,” Van Gundy told the Miami Herald.
And that isn’t the only major NBA record that Van Gundy thinks LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and the Heat could surpass during the upcoming season.
“And I think they have a legit shot at the Lakers’ 33-game streak, as well,” Van Gundy added.
To say those are strong words would be the understatement of the year, especially with the Heat playing in the same division as brother Stan’s Orlando team that won 59 games last season.
That’s also the same Southeast division that featured four teams with winning records last year – a feat that was only matched by the West’s Northwest division.
To put it bluntly, Jeff Van Gundy is bordering on crazy with this smorgasbord of heightened predictions.
The Miami Heat will certainly be a talented bunch – and there’s no doubt that they’ll win a lot of games, and be poised for a deep playoff run – but cruising by NBA records held by the 1971-72 Lakers and 1995-96 Bulls teams?
C’mon, Jeff: Please give JaMarcus his “purple drank” back and slowly step away from the mic.
There are simply too many factors in play that can prevent the Miami Heat from winning a title, let alone inking itself in the NBA’s history books.
For one, there’s health – specifically with Dwyane Wade.
Wade plays hard – we’re talking 110% all game, every game – and that can lead to injuries… and has led to injuries.
While Wade played the majority of the last two seasons, he only managed to start 50 games in 2006-07 and 49 games in 2007-08.
That’s back-to-back years missing thirty-plus games – and if that were to happen again, you’re likely kissing the two aforementioned records goodbye, even with LeBron and Bosh still on the court.
It’s not just health that will be a question mark heading into the upcoming season, as the Heat also will have to deal with a lack of size when compared to other powers in the NBA.
Miami has the 6’10” Bosh on its roster, but the other players on the Heat’s roster that are his size (or larger) include Dexter Pittman, Shavlik Randolph, Jamaal Magloire and Zydrunas Ilgauskas.
Those names simply don’t stack up against the likes of Andrew Bynum, Lamar Odom, Theo Ratliff and Pau Gasol in Los Angeles.
They also don’t stack up against the size of teams such as the Boston Celtics and Orlando Magic.
While the Miami Heat have a brand spankin’ new roster of superstars featuring newcomers LeBron James and Chris Bosh, let’s not go and hand them the Larry O’Brien Trophy just yet – and let’s especially not go and hand them some of the game’s greatest records of all time.
Anything can happen during an 82-game regular season and when all is said and done, the basketball world could easily wind up avoiding Jeff Van Gundy’s quotes, and instead moving on to a few famous lines of another former coach – that being Dennis Green.
For the time being, it’s safe to say that Jeff isn’t getting invited over to Stan’s pad for Thanksgiving – but expect a heaping helping of great NBA games when the season starts in a few months.
Still yet to be determined: If the Miami Heat “are who we thought they were”…