With the All-Star break starting Friday night, it’s time to analyze and evaluate the Miami Heat and their season so far.
As a team, the Heat are on a 4-game winning streak and playing their best basketball. 23-7 equals their best start in franchise history and they’re half a game behind Chicago for the best record in the East. Miami could easily be on top, except they had a couple of hiccups along the way with 3 losses in a row on a road trip, 2 losses to the Bucks, and losses to Atlanta and Orlando. Otherwise, it seems like the team has picked it up as a whole and every player has seemed to find their role.
LeBron James: What can you say about LeBron besides MVP? He is playing out of his mind and probably having the best year of his entire career this year. James is averaging 28 points, 8.2 rebounds, 6.8 assists, and 1.7 steals. He has been amazing this year and looks like he is finally ready to lead the team to a championship.
Dwyane Wade: When he has been healthy, he has played just like the old D-Wade from the 2006 championship team. The only problem is that he’s been injured so many times. It’s a shame to see one of the best players in the NBA only play 70% of his team’s games. Hopefully Tom Thibodeau doesn’t play Wade much on Sunday, so that he continues to get rest.
Chris Bosh: Pretty much the unsung hero of the team. He has played in every game and is averaging 18.6 points per game and 8.1 rebounds. Bosh led the Heat to a triple-OT victory against Atlanta when James and Wade were injured. He has had a very solid season and it is good to see that he got selected to the All-Star game.
Mario Chalmers: You never know what you’re going to get with Mario Chalmers, but to his credit, he has had a very solid season. He’s averaging 11 points, 3.6 assists and 1.3 steals. When he doesn’t turn the ball over, which he has had a problem with this season, he runs the team like a veteran point guard. I would not be surprised if he is the Heat’s starting point guard for the next couple of years.
Joel Anthony: He’s the Heat’s big guy in the middle and he always does his job. There have been a couple of games this season where he has stepped up on the offensive side of the ball too and scored in double digits. If he continues to do what he is doing, then the Heat will be fine in the middle.
Udonis Haslem: U has always been the energy off the bench that the Heat need. He’s shooting 40% from the field and averaging 8.2 rebounds per game. Haslem has a solid jumper that he can knock down, but his really values to the team are his leadership and aggressiveness.
Norris Cole: “Speedy” has probably been the biggest surprise for the Heat this season. Riley saw something in him and traded up because he knew he was something special. He brings energy on both sides of the ball and slashes just like D-Wade does. He’s a streaky shooter and some days he’s hot, and other days he’s cold. Cole was a great addition for the Heat and could be a great point guard in this league.
Shane Battier: It took him a while to find his rhythm in Miami, but he is back to playing well. Battier had a little slump a few weeks ago and seems to be out of it. His defense isn’t as solid as it used to be, but his veteran leadership is definitely a plus in the long run.
Mike Miller: Now that he is finally healthy, Miller is playing well. He’s shooting 52% from long distance and has been grabbing 3 rebounds a game. The problem with him now is that he passes up too many shots and defers to other people. He is a great shooter, but needs to shoot the ball. Miller is also always aggressive on D, but he needs to be careful because his style of play is what has caused all of his injuries.
James Jones: After a good season and All-Star 3-point championship, Jones has barely played this season. He’s appeared in 24 games but only averages 10 minutes per game. While he’s still shooting 40% from three-point land, Jones is only averaging 3.4 points per game. Spo needs to find a way to get him more involved, it could only help.
Juwan Howard: He’s only appeared in 14 games, but he is a leader and you can always see him getting pumped up on the bench. When he plays, Howard tries to be as aggressive as possible. At 38 years old, he just wants a ring and believes this is the team that will do it.
Eddy Curry: Sometimes I wonder what the Heat see in him, but I will give him props for getting back into shape and sticking around on the roster. He’s only 29, so maybe he will actually develop into a solid role player. Hasn’t done anything yet, but don’t count him out, he was a first round pick you know.
Mickell Gladness: He probably has the best name in the NBA, but he hasn’t had many opportunities to play. He’s appeared in 8 games, but expect Spo to use him more after the All-Star break, that is, if they don’t cut him (again) to sign a veteran big man.
Terrel Harris: His biggest Heat moment was the triple-OT victory against Atlanta. Harris played 44 minutes and had 9 rebounds that game, but hasn’t seen much time after that. On a team loaded with talented guards and forwards, he’ll probably never get more playing time than garbage time.
Erik Spoelstra: Managing a team with 3 superstars and other big name players isn’t easy, but Spo has found a way to do it. If he keeps it up and that Heat continue playing as well as they are, Spo will be a coach of the year candidate.
Overall, the Heat are playing well and have great chemistry. A few losses here and there have made them a better team. Come playoff time, I think this Heat team is ready to capitalize and win a championship.