With the roster being virtually complete with maybe a couple transactions on the horizon, the question now with free agency starting to wane is: How will the Miami Heat lineup look?
I believe the Heat will be putting out one of the better lineups in the East. Let’s take a look.
2013-2014 Stats: 73 games, 9.8 points, 4.9 assists, 2.9 rebounds, and 1.6 steals.
Yes, Heat fans, Mario Chalmers is once again expected to handle point guard duties. Expect him to immediately have a short leash with guys like Norris Cole and Shabazz Napier in his shadow. The Heat will need Chalmers to be a lot better than he was last year.
Chalmers has shown us flashes of brilliance but can’t seem to be consistent. If he can provide some solid defense, continue to knock down his three-pointers (shot 39 percent from three in last season), and look to create more offense, it could pay huge dividends for the Heat.
2013-2014 Stats: 54 games, 19.0 points, 4.7 assists, 4.5 rebounds, and 1.6 steals
The Heat will rely heavily on Dwyane Wade this season. A lot of the things James did in the offense will now become Wades responsibility. Wade will more than likely take over the proverbial “closer” role once again.
An argument can be made that the Heat will go as far as Wade goes. Any deep postseason run will be contingent on Wade’s health. The Heat cannot afford for Wade to miss 28 games again this season either. If Wade can atleast put up the numbers he did last season while playing atleast 20 more games, the Heat could be in for a great deal of success in 2014-2015.
2013-2014 Stats: 63 games, 16.0 points, 5.7 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 1.0 steal
One of the new additions, Luol Deng will look to fill the vacant starting spot James left. Deng brings some above average offense, stellar defense, and A-plus effort and tenacity.
Deng had an up and down season last year. The injury to Derrick Rose had him step up to the No. 1 option in the Bulls offense and he thrived in that role for the 12 games he had it. Averaging a stellar 22.1 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 4.2 assists during that span. For his career, Deng averages 16 points and 6.3 rebounds per game. If he can give the Heat that for $10 million a year, it will have been a worthy investment.
2013-2014 Stats: 78 games, 8.5 points, 4.3 assists, and 4.8 rebounds
Another one of the new additions, Josh McRoberts has an unorthodox skill set for a big man. McRoberts is one of the best passing big men in the league. He ranked third in the league in assists per game among bigs. He can also knock down the three, averaging about four three-point attempts per game converting them at a 36 percent clip.
I know you’re looking at McRoberts’ numbers thinking “What? Why is he starting?”. Well McRoberts’ numbers actually translate to 10.1 points, 5.7 rebounds and 5.1 assists per 36 minutes. If that helps at all.
With James’ departure the Heat need as many offense creators as possible.If Erik Spoelstra can utilize McRoberts’ unique skill set, he will be a huge part in any success the Heat have.
2013-2014 Stats: 79 games, 16.2 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 1.0 block
Chris Bosh signed a five year, $118 million contract this offseason and, as a result, is expected to carry the Heat. This will be no small task, especially with Wade’s health still being a question mark. Bosh should less restricted in the offense now that James is gone.
Bosh will be counted on to play center for the fifth consecutive season. To Bosh’s credit, he has actually been a pretty formidable center; however the Heat will need some more rebounding out of Bosh due to the lackluster rebounding ability on the team. Bosh will be out to prove to the world why he’s worth $118 million.
2013-2014 Stats: 82 games, 6.4 points, and 3.0 assists
Norris Cole has only missed three games over the duration of his career. He has been someone the Heat can consistently count on to come in and do his job. Expect Cole to provide the Heat with a spark off the bench, all while aiming for Chalmers’s starting job.
Chris “Birdman” Andersen headlines the role players as he’s consistently been one of the Heat’s best. He’s the rugged guy every team needs.
First round draft pick Shabazz Napier is going to have to earn his stripes, but expect him to immediately be competing with Cole and Chalmers for minutes at the point.
Danny Granger is a boom or bust. We are either going to see the Granger that can still play or the injury plagued guy that can’t stay in the lineup.
James Ennis, coming off of a great summer league, is expected to provide the Heat with some energy, defense and shooting off the bench. Watch out for Ennis, he could really surprise some of us.
Expect 34-year-old Udonis Haslem to ride the pine much like last year. He’ll come in for stretches here and there to grab a rebound or two but nothing more.
Tags: Miami Heat