What 2012-13 L.A. Lakers Can Learn from 2011-12 Miami Heat

The Miami Heat are no longer just a "super team," but the very template for such teams. They weren't the first assembly of superstars and clearly won't be the last, but for the moment they do provide a shining example of how versatility and open-mindedness can even make a collection of elite talent more than the sum of its parts.

Their example should prove valuable to the next wave of similarly constructed teams—a list that surely begins with the remodeled and greatly improved Los Angeles Lakers. The positions and skill sets of L.A.'s most crucial players are a bit more compatible than those that joined up in Miami in 2010, but the Heat nonetheless hold a few lessons for the new-look Lakers.

1. Learn to Let Go

Players traditionally classified as stars typically have one significant attribute in common: monopolization of the ball. Teams typically prefer to operate with the ball in the hands of their best player, and this season's Lakers will feature three players who were the best of their respective squads last season—to say nothing of Pau Gasol.

That doesn't figure to be much of an issue for either Gasol or Steve Nash, who have demonstrated every willingness to step aside and cede control of the ball. But both Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard—the consummate alpha dog and the man desperate to be The Man—could stand to take a lesson from LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.

Both James and Wade surrendered their stranglehold of their team's offense in order to work together, and Wade in particular stepped aside to let James shine. It's not a matter of who was the better player or the dominant personality, but which talent best serves the total offense by having the ball in their hands. In Miami, that player was James. In Los Angeles, it's Nash. Bryant has so rarely been one to let go of what he deems to be his, yet only by letting Nash operate will the Lakers reach the pinnacle of the...

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