LeBron James put the NBA on notice Thursday night, joining Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami.
Ending weeks of will-he-or-won’t-he speculation, the two-time MVP said Thursday night that he’s decided to join the Heat and leave the Cavaliers after an unsuccessful seven-year quest for the ring he covets.
“I can’t say it was always in my plans, because I never thought it was possible,” James said on a made-for-LeBron live show on ESPN. “But the things that the Miami Heat franchise have done, to free up cap space and be able to put themselves in a position this summer to have all three of us, it was hard to turn down. Those are two great players, two of the greatest players that we have in this game today.”
Miami’s current starting lineup
C – Joel Anthony
PF – Chris Bosh
SF – LeBron James
SG – Dwyane Wade
PG – Mario Chalmers
That starting lineup gives the Heat an incredibly strong backbone to their side. Miami are the most talented offensive team in the league. They have five above average defenders including arguably the most gifted wing defensive combination in the league. They are capable of being a top five defensive team. And Miami should become an above average but unexceptional rebounding team.
Chalmers and Anthony
Notes on Mario Chalmers and Joel Anthony
- Mario Chalmers — a Derek Fisher like role player — a good to very good complementary scorer + a good to very good defender + solid rebounder + limited playmaker with functional passing skills
- Joel Anthony — good defender + poor to very poor rebounder + poor offensive player + excellent athlete to put alongside Bosh.
- Will facilitate a running game both defensively + offensively and will give Miami a tough pick and roll defense.
- Is strong enough to defend the five, quick enough to defend the four, so Miami can cherry pick their big man matchups to best suit Bosh’s defensive skill set.
Filling Out The Roster
So long as Miami does an adequate job filling out their bench with good minimum contract pieces, the Heat should be the team to beat in the Eastern Conference next season.
- Guards — Carlos Arroyo (played with Miami last season), Roger Mason Jr, Eddie House (former Heat player), Anthony Carter (former Heat player), Flip Murray, Larry Hughes
- Wings — Raja Bell, Rasual Butler (former Heat player), Keith Bogans, Quentin Richardson (played with Miami last season), Bobby Simmons, James Jones (played with Miami last season), Rodney Carney, Sasha Pavlovic, Trenton Hassell, Matt Barnes, Michael Finley, Antoine Wright
- Big Men — Ben Wallace, Kwame Brown, James Singleton, Kurt Thomas (began career with Miami), Al Harrington, Shelden Williams, Rasho Nesterovic, Josh Powell, Etan Thomas, Adonal Foyle, Sean Marks, Jamaal Magloire (played with Miami last season), Theo Ratliff, Johan Petro, Brian Cardinal, Brian Scalabrine, Matt Bonner, Brian Skinner
The skills Miami most needs are (1) defensive ability (2) ability to finish plays offensively which means jump shooting for perimeter players and finishing around the rim for big men (3) rebounding ability.
The players who provide the best combination of these skills relative to their position are the ones who Miami should pursue the hardest.
- The point guard position is going to be the easiest to fill. LeBron and Wade are two of the most gifted playmaking wings in the NBA and they take a huge burden off of their point guards
- There are a lot of good options on the wing. Miami should also be able to fill that well.
- The big men corps aren’t great. Miami should hope for a Kwame Brown, Kurt Thomas or Ben Wallace … but if they strike out there, the talent level drops off in a large way.
- Miami would be aiming for serviceable, fourth bigs in the depth chart here, rather than real rotation worthy talent at that point.
Based on the opportunities in front of them, Miami should be able to build the best team in the East heading into next season.
Truehoop has chat transcripts of LeBron’s interview/decision + post-decision interviews