2014-2015 NBA Season Analysis- Miami Heat
First year after the LeBron era. It’s not gonna be an easy year for them, but with a couple of good acquisitions, a talented rookie in Shabazz Napier and with both Wade and Bosh stepping up, they’ll still be competitive.
We all know Deng is a solid player who’ll help them in many ways. McRoberts is a much-improved player who can shoot the basketball and pass the ball well; and although Danny Granger hasn’t been able to get back to the level he showed before his injury, he is a talented player and you never know if this could be the year when he gets back to that All-Star level (I doubt it however).
Coach: Erik Spoelstra
PG: Mario Chalmers; Shabazz Napier (Rookie); Norris Cole
SG: Dwyane Wade; Shannon Brown
SF: Luol Deng; Danny Granger; James Ennis (Rookie)
PF: Chris Bosh; Josh McRoberts; Udonis Haslem; Shawne Williams
C: Chris Andersen; Justin Hamilton
Let’s start, as usual, with the offensive end of the court:
It is pretty obvious that with LeBron gone several guys are gonna have to step up offensively, mainly the remaining components of the Big Three, Wade and Bosh.
I believe we’re gonna see Dwyane Wade handle the ball much more than with LeBron on the team, so he’s gonna be able to play more pick and roll, 1-on-1 plays and so on. Bosh is also going to have a different role than the one he had in the past 4 years where he became a sort of spot-up shooter. He’ll get back to playing much more in the low post, as he used to do in Toronto, something he’s still one of the best in the league at (although we might have forgotten about it). And he’s also a big threat playing pick & roll with either the point guards or Wade and continuing to the basket, or just stopping and popping from long range. Finally, his ability to be a dominant player in the paint will be decisive to create open shots for guys like McRoberts, Shawne Williams, Chalmers, Cole or Granger.
I also consider Luol Deng as one of the keys to this team’s success, having to be able to play an all-around game (jump shots, low post plays, key defensive role and so on).
Finally, they’ll also need more points from the backcourt, and here’s where I believe Norris Cole’s gonna step up and become a great asset. We’ve seen him improve his jump shooting ability, becoming more than a decent 3-point shooter, especially from the corner. His quickness also makes him a great weapon on the fast-break and he is one of those fearless guards who can score among the trees, not to mention his great defensive skills. So, although Chalmers and Napier should also have an important role in scoring, I do believe this is the guy who’ll make the greatest impact from the backcourt, besides Wade obviously.
Let’s now take a look at the defensive end of the court:
First of all, I don’t think we’re gonna see those 2-on-1 traps that often, because LeBron’s anticipation and athleticism were key in the event of the opponent going successfully through them.
Their main strength is they’ve got great exterior individual defenders in Dwyane Wade (one of all-time greatest in terms of blocking ability from the guard position), Luol Deng and Norris Cole (to me one of the best point guards in the league in the defensive end of the court); but they lack, as they have in the past years, players that can defend big men on the post (only Chris Andersen with his intensity can do this, but he is a veteran player who can’t play 30+ minutes night in and night out), so here’s where team defence becomes vital. They have to help out in the paint multiple times and don’t be late rotating over to avoid wide open shots created by the opponent’s ball movement (in my opinion, here’s where, among other things, the Spurs killed them last season, but we all know they’re masters of this).
To sum up, I believe they’ll have a hard time when facing teams with a dominant player in the paint, something they’ll have to solve out with multiple helps, being able to rotate and contest shots made by the most capable shooters in the opposing team.
Likely Starting Line-up
Chalmers – Wade – Deng – Bosh – Haslem
As I said, I do believe they can still be competitive. They would have more trouble in the Wild West, but they’re talented enough to remain as one of the top teams in the East, and my prediction is they’ll get #3 spot, behind the Cavs and Bulls.
Here are some of the plays the Heat are hoping to see this NBA Season.