Mario Chalmers Is Primed For a Breakout Season

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Dec 26, 2012; Charlotte, NC, USA; Miami Heat guard Mario Chalmers (15) talks to head coach Erik Spoelstra during the game against the Charlotte Bobcats at Time Warner Cable Arena. Mandatory Credit: Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports.

Retool, Not Rebuild

This certainly seems to be the theme for the offseason.

It began with Heat president Pat Riley’s press conference to kick-off the summer but it’s applicable to a lot of the Heat players – and especially Chalmers.

If we can’t question Chalmers’ abilities, then what separates him from reaching an elite level of play is eliminating the mistakes that have dogged him as a professional, not the physical but the psychological.

Ironically enough James’ departure will play the biggest part in ensuring that happens. James runs a tight ship and can be demanding of other ball handlers (look for Kyrie Irving to falter in that role this season). And while he’s denied it frequently, being the punching bag for James, Wade and even Chris Bosh probably took a toll on Chalmers.

Free of that pressure, Mario will able to assume a greater leadership role. Among fourth-year player Norris Cole and rookie Shabazz Napier, Chalmers is, somehow, the sage veteran.

Among the many challenges that Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra faces this season, he’ll need to boost Chalmers’ confidence. Publicly, the guard has maintained an illusion of self-reliance that borders on the irrational. But it was clear in last season’s NBA Finals that this was a player who was beaten, by his own doubt as well as by Tony Parker and Patty Mills.

Establishing importance in doing the basics well – a cornerstone for success – will be a top priority. There’s no James to defer to or to clean up your messes. Chalmers must understand that, in his new role as a leader of the team, he must perform everything well.

At least publicly he seems to understand this, as he recently indicated to reporters at the University of Kansas:

"“It’s going to be fun. It’s a different challenge that we got to face, but we’re ready for it.”"

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