NBA Roundtable

2010/11 Miami Heat

In General NBA on November 10, 2010 at 8:23 pm

The Roster

  • PG – Mario Chalmers, Carlos Arroyo, Eddie House
  • SG – Dwyane Wade, James Jones, Jerry Stackhouse
  • SF – LeBron James, Mike Miller
  • PF – Chris Bosh, Udonis Haslem, Juwan Howard
  • C – Joel Anthony, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Jamaal Magloire, Dexter Pittman

Strengths

  • The overall brilliance of the two best players in the NBA in LeBron and Wade. Their top drawer offensive ability in both scoring and playmaking + their elite defensive ability and quality rebounding.
  • The all-star play from big man Chris Bosh who should provide high quality complementary scoring, top notch rebounding and solid defense and passing ability. His well-rounded complementary offensive arsenal makes him a great fit alongside Wade and LeBron.
  • The lockdown defensive ability of Wade and LeBron on the wing + their quickness in team defense with the ability to create a high number of turnovers in both the passing lanes and in a trapping defense. The shot-blocking (turnovers) ability of Joel Anthony and the overall quickness/mobility of their main big men; Bosh, Haslem and J.Anthony. Chalmers’ ability to generate steals (turnovers) and capacity to play solid one-on-one defense.
  • The rebounding, passing and shooting ability of Mike Miller + the lineup flexibility that Miller helps create when put alongside versatile wing players like LeBron and Wade.
  • The defensive ability, rebounding, sound decision making and midrange shooting of Udonis Haslem.
  • The capacity of Mario Chalmers to be a young Derek Fisher type role player.

Weaknesses

  • Lack of physical toughness, shot-blocking and overall interior defense
  • Some spacing concerns — due to the lack of shooting ability from Arroyo in combination with Wade’s + LeBron’s solid but unexceptional spot up shooting. And the lack of offensive ability from J.Anthony.
  • The lack of depth — 5 or 6 (Chalmers?) quality rotation players and a couple of borderline rotation worthy players (Arroyo, J.Jones, J.Anthony, Big Z).
  • J.Anthony’s inability to rebound effectively

Notes

Lineup Flexibility

  • Best overall lineup — Wade + Miller + LeBron + Haslem + Bosh
  • Best offensive lineup — same as above, possibly switch Haslem with either J.Jones or M.Chalmers depending on needs / matchups
  • Best defensive lineup — Wade + Jones + LeBron + Haslem + J.Anthony — possibly switch J.Jones with M.Chalmers depending on need / matchups
  • Tall shooting lineup — Wade + Miller + LeBron + Bosh + Ilgauskas
  • Quick lineup — Chalmers + Wade + Miller + LeBron + Bosh

Note on Mario Chalmers

Mario Chalmers is capable of playing good defense, both individually (man-to-man) and on team defense. He has active hands and is good at generating steals.

Offensively, Chalmers is a limited playmaker but a solid ball-handler and a good perimeter shooter + very good complementary scorer who can comfortably play off the ball. Similar to how he played at Kansas and during his first season in Miami.

Last season, Chalmers’ confidence went down the toilet. He didn’t shoot the ball as well, he had trouble with his coach and then his effort/focus fell off enormously on the defensive end of the floor.

His coach responded by benching him in order to help him get his act together + to put Arroyo who was outplaying him at the time into the starting lineup. Unfortunately, Chalmers reacted poorly to this and his form suffered even more.

I am not entirely sure how healthy Mario Chalmers is after an off-season ankle injury and some soreness to begin the season … but what I would have liked to have seen Miami do at the start of training camp is to give Chalmers a show of faith. To name him as the starting PG and give him time to play himself into form (training camp + first month of season).

His confidence is clearly low and the past attempts to help him with his form / morale clearly haven’t worked. Chalmers is, by far, the most talented and capable option Miami have at point guard. He is a player that they need come playoff time to be a key part of their supporting cast.

I strongly feel that this would have been the best ploy to get Chalmers’ confidence back in gear. To give him a show of faith, starter and minutes, from both the coaching staff and the players. Once he has a few good games under his belt, that confidence, that self-belief, that made him the Most Outstanding Player of the Tournament on an NCAA title winning team at Kansas and an All-Rookie Second Team member would come back to him.

Chalmers has lost his confidence and until he finds it … his performance level is going to continue to suffer.

Re-establishing Chalmers needs to be a priority for the Miami Heat. Failure to do so could be the difference maker in whether Miami win a title or not.

Note on Joel Anthony

Defensively, J.Anthony is a good fit on this team. His agility, quickness and overall mobility fits in perfectly with the trapping style of defense Miami wants to play. His shot-blocking ability and rim-protection are also solid and much needed on this Heat team.

Offensively, Anthony is a limited garbage man. The Heat have more than enough firepower to live with his limitations.

The main issue for Anthony is his inability to rebound the ball relative to his opponent. For his career, Anthony averages under 7 rebounds per 36 minutes which is a terrible figure for a center. One every five plus minutes. Which is a rebounding rate of about 11%. Luckily for J.Anthony; the Heat have wonderful rebounding on the wing with LeBron, Wade and Miller + very good to excellent rebounding from Bosh and Haslem at the four. That protection on the glass should allow Miami to field J.Anthony successfully despite his weaknesses.

Joel Anthony should only be considered a stop gap starter and should be replaced as soon as possible. Probably, or at least hopefully, next summer, free agency permitting. Then he can slide back into the 4th/5th big in the depth chart where he belongs.

Note on Carlos Arroyo

Carlos Arroyo is at best a mediocre defender + is a non-shooter + is only useful offensively when he is allowed to dominate the ball and be the creator off the pick and roll.

His lack of quality contributions on the defensive end + lack of complementary offensive ability and consequent negative offensive contributions … make Arroyo a very poor fit in that starting lineup.

Keeping Arroyo in this starting, heck putting him there in the first place, is a major mistake. One that has weakened Miami’s starting lineup, their overall rotation and has further damaged the club’s ability to get the best out of Mario Chalmers.

The Non-Signings

Two huge decisions not to sign players: Delonte West and Eric Dampier

Let’s start of with Delonte West. He is a good defender, good rebounder, a very strong jump shooter with serviceable to good ball-handling and passing ability depending on which guard position he is deployed at. He plays well under pressure; displays leadership, grit, toughness and determination on the court.

Delonte West would have been a huge upgrade at the point guard position and given Miami another high quality role player and dependable contributor to their roster. This decision not to sign him has weakened Miami’s supporting cast considerably.

Eric Dampier is a solid defender who boasts excellent physical strength and strong interior defense but is lacking in mobility / quickness. Dampier is also a very strong rebounder and sets wonderful screens both on and off the ball offensively. Physical toughness, that is the best way to describe what Dampier offered to Miami and what Miami needed from him.

Dampier’s skill-set defensively isn’t the best fit for what Miami wants to do with their team defense (quick footed, trapping, creation of turnovers) but he does provide a valuable (physical interior defense) and much-needed alternative (Miami’s bigs lack physicality) to their current options.

The Heat shouldn’t have necessarily brought Dampier in to replace J.Anthony in the starting lineup but they certainly could have used him as a fourth big in the rotation. A 15 minute a night type of player. And in certain matchups, Dampier and J.Anthony could have swapped roles, when the Heat needed more physicality on the interior and were less concerned about using Anthony’s quick footed team defense.

Overlooking Dampier has significantly weakened Miami’s supporting cast.

These two signings would have given Miami a large boost both at the point and with their interior defense. The failure to acquire these cheap available options was a large mistake.

Note on Eddie House

Eddie House is a mediocre third string point guard at this juncture in his career. He has declined considerably in terms of defense and rebounding and become even streakier offensively. He is not capable of reproducing the form he displayed for the Boston Celtics in 2007/08 and 2008/09.

Eddie House is not a rotation worthy player and is a major liability as a rotation player.

Contenders

Orlando Magic

The Heat matchup very well with the Magic.

LeBron, Wade and Bosh have routinely torched the Magic in previous seasons with their respective clubs. Orlando do not have enough defensive ability on the wings to contain either LeBron or Wade and their ability to breakdown the Magic’s defense on demand will lead them to a comfortable series win against Orlando.

Boston Celtics

The Celtics defensive ability, interior power, stunning point guard play and their two quality scoring starting wings makes them a very difficult opponent for Miami.

Miami will be at a disadvantage in at least one of their backcourt positions and in the paint. Boston does have the defensive ability to bring them back to ground and they do have the physical force in the paint to punish Miami’s weaknesses.

The Heat still have two MVP caliber players, an All-Star in Bosh and two high quality role players in Miller and Haslem … so they’ll have a chance at beating Boston … but Boston surely has the talent to beat them too.

In fact, Boston is the only team in the East with the ability to knock Miami out in the playoffs.

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