Team: Miami Heat
Last Year’s Record: 43-39 (2nd, Central Division)
Head Coach: Erik Spoelstra
Comings: Patrick Beverley (No. 42), Robert Dozier (No. 60), Quentin Richardson
Goings: Luther Head, Jamario Moon, Mark Blount
Blogger Thoughts -Matthew Bunch Hot Hot Hoops
The Heat this season are like a 20-year old in college. Plenty of things are available to him or her to have a good time, but man, just wait until next year. While no one says it openly, this is a year of transition and waiting. Wait for Beasley and Chalmers to get better, wait for Wade to resign, wait to pick up the second max-contract guy (eyes on Chris Bosh). The Heat are still plenty good, and currently co-occupy the second-plateau spot with Atlanta. I see them grabbing the four seed, beating the Hawks thanks to home-court advantage and losing in the second round. Plenty of fun, sure, but wait until next year.
Thoughts On The Nets:
I’ve got to admit, I like the Nets. The whole reversible jersey debacle doesn’t inspire confidence, and Lawrence Frank still looks like he should be coaching a college Quiz Bowl team, but they’re young. And good young. There needs to be development, and that will test Frank’s worth, but I could see the Nets being better than most people think this year. Not playoff better, but better. And with a crazy-rich Russian who loves parties and prostitutes on the way, everything’s coming up Milhouse in East Rutherford.
Comparing the Starters:
Starting PG – Mario Chalmers (10 ppg, 4.2 apg, 13.35 PER) vs. Devin Harris (21.3 ppg, 6.9 apg, 21.65 PER):
Chalmers quietly had a solid rookie season, doing something that is real hard in the NBA, running the point as a rookie. You will probably be surprised that he started all 82 games as a rookie last year, especially since he was a second round pick. Chalmers is a terrific defender with quick hands, ranking third among point guards with 2.44 steals per 40 minutes.
Nets. Despite the fact that Chalmers will improve going into his second season, I think Devin has the big edge here. This could be a fun match-up to watch this year though, a terrific defender in Chalmers vs. a #1 scorer in Devin.
Starting SG – Daequan Cook (9.1 ppg, 0.9 apg, 10.30 PER) vs. Courtney Lee (8.4 ppg, 1.2 apg, 10.78 PER):
It always amazing me how someone can be so good from 3 (38.7%/won the 3 point contest) and be so bad from inside the arc (35.6% on 2s). He did take care of the ball though, he turned it over on only 5.4 percent of the possessions he used, the best rate among small forwards and second in the league overall. Defensively, Cook has decent size for a 2, but he doesn’t move well laterally and is still figuring out how things work at that end after playing only one year of college ball.
Nets. Cook is a decent player, but I think if you matched him and Courtney up, Lee will defend the three point shoot leaving Cook struggling to score. Courtney has a more complete offensive game, and he is a much better defender.
Starting SF – Dwyane Wade (30.2 ppg, 7.5 apg, 30.46 PER) vs. Chris Douglas-Roberts (4.9 ppg, 1.2 apg, 12.22 PER):
Wade led the NBA in usage rate while generating quality shots. Thanks mostly to the fourth-highest free-throw rate at his position, his true shooting percentage of 57.4 ranked 11th among shooting guards. He also came in third among shooting guards in pure point rating and often slid over to play the point. On the defensive end, he was just as good. Wade blocked 1.3 shots per game and ranked 16th in the entire league. On a per-minute basis he outblocked more than three-quarters of the league’s power forwards, and nobody under 6-7 came within screaming distance of his rate.
Heat. CDR might have the height in this match-up, but Wade’s play last year proved that won’t be a problem. It is going to be interesting to see how CDR defends Wade though (if matched up against each other. I have a feeling when we play the Heat, Courtney will be playing D on him).
Starting PF – Udonis Haslem (10.6 ppg, 8.2 apg, 13.10 PER) vs. Yi Jianlian (8.6 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 10.98 PER):
Haslem is a tough PF who just plays hard and is consistent from year to year. You know what you are going to get from him and that’s it, you don’t have to worry about him anymore. Haslem is a good 15-foot shooter who will take advantage of double-teams on other players to get openings at the top of the key or along the baseline, but he won’t create any offense by himself. He’ll finish at the basket if set up by a teammate or on second shots, but he lacks the ability to create for himself.
Heat. Haslem’s will out tough Yi every chance he gets. Even though Haslem struggles defending quicker 4s, I say Haslem will beat him up so much when Udonis is on offense, that Yi isn’t going to be able to take advantage of him on the offensive end.
Starting C – Jermaine O’Neal (13.3 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 15.51 PER) vs. Brook Lopez (13.0 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 17.94 PER):
After being considered one of the best big in the NBA, O’Neal’s play has continuing to worsen the last couple of years. He shot 47.4 percent from the floor with no 3s and a low foul rate, resulting in the 51st-best true shooting percentage among centers. O’Neal doesn’t seem to like to attack the basket, and he settles for a ton of jumpers. He doesn’t rebound well anymore either, O’Neal ranked just 60th among the league’s 67 centers in rebound rate.
Nets. O’Neal is a former All-Star on the decline, while Brook is a future All-Star on the rise. Even though O’Neal is still a pretty good defender, I can see Brook just overpowering him in the blocks during the season.
The Heat’s bench seems to be the weakness of this team. You have Beasley and that is about it. It just seems like the Heat are hurt by starting Haslem (who in my mind is the perfect back-up PF), but what can they do? They have nobody else stepping up and taking the spot from him. Besides Beasley, you have Richardson, James Jones, and Jamaal Magloire, all ok guys, but nobody special.
Nets. I got to give the advantage to the Nets here, you got T-Will, Rafer, Keyon Dooling, and Jarvis Hayes all coming off the bench, and they can give you real productive minutes.