Jun 11, 2013; San Antonio, TX, USA; Miami Heat center Chris Bosh (1), Ray Allen (34), LeBron James (6), Norris Cole (30) and Dwyane Wade (3) react during a time-out against the San Antonio Spurs in the fourth quarter during game three of the 2013 NBA Finals at the AT

Predicting The Miami Heat's Rotation

The Miami Heat won’t look much different next season. Besides the subtraction of Mike Miller and addition of Greg Oden, the Heat return all of the same players from last season’s championship run.

Miller’s minutes will likely be split among to James Jones, Norris Cole, Mario Chalmers and Ray Allen. I also expect Rashard Lewis to have a bigger role on the team in year two.

As for Oden, he likely won’t factor into the rotation for much of the regular season. As much as we all want to see if Oden can make a successful comeback from his injury, Chris Bosh, Udonis Haslem and Chris Andersen will be in front of him on the depth chart. Not to mention Joel Anthony and Jarvis Varnado are currently on the team too.

Head coach Erik Spoelstra likes to experiment with a variety of lineups. He is known for springing a brand new five-man line late in the season or even in the playoffs. However, his starting five rarely changes.

Replacing Haslem with Miller in the finals last season was a radical (and necessary) move for Spoelstra.

Despite Haslem’s declining play last season, I believe he remains in the starting lineup next season. Though it will be interesting to see how much Shane Battier (and Lewis) bites out of Haslem’s playing time next season.

Battier, who played in the power rotation last season, wore down as the season went on. This is where Lewis comes in. Lewis is listed two inches and five pounds larger than Battier and is a better fit for a stretch-four.

The sixth man will be either Battier or Allen. As I previously wrote, I believe Allen will and should receive more minutes equal to Dwyane Wade.

I am not accounting minutes for Oden, since we do not know when he will be ready to play. I also will not give minutes to Varnado. Since his deal is not guaranteed, and given the team’s glut at center (a true position they hardly use), I’m not so sure he makes the team.

Also, the Heat will likely add another wing player to account for some of Miller’s vacant minutes.

Here’s a prediction of the Heat’s lineups and minutes per game for each player next season (with last season’s MPG in parentheses):

Starters

PG — Mario Chalmers, 28 (26.9)
SG — Dwyane Wade, 32 (34.7)
SF — LeBron James, 38 (37.9)
PF — Udonis Haslem, 17 (18.9)
C — Chris Bosh, 32 (33.2)

Bench

Shane Battier, 25 (24.8)
Ray Allen, 30 (25.8)
Norris Cole, 22 (19.9)
Chris Andersen, 16 (14.9)
James Jones, 12 (5.8)
Rashard Lewis, 17 (14.4)
Joel Anthony, 6 (9.1)
Greg Oden, 0 (N/A)
Jarvis Varnado, 0 (4.5)

Second Unit

PG — Norris Cole
SG — Ray Allen
SF — James Jones
PF — Shane Battier
C — Chris Andersen

Close-Out Unit

PG — Ray Allen
SG — Dwyane Wade
SF — LeBron James
PF — Shane Battier
C — Chris Bosh

Best Plus/Minus Unit

PG — Mario Chalmers
SG – Ray Allen
SF – Dwyane Wade
PF – LeBron James
C — Chris Bosh

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