Blog Entry

Preseason Primers: Miami Heat

Posted on: September 22, 2010 2:28 pm
You may have heard that the Miami Heat are a bit of a big deal. They ran the table during free agency in July, executing the ingenious plan hatched by mastermind Pat Riley without flaw. Riley even assembled a quality, veteran supporting cast in the blink of an eye, surrounding Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh with shooters, defensive toughness and quality support players. Free-agent center Erick Dampier could be next. Was it enough? Will the Super Team execute as well in June as Riley executed in July? It's time for the Miami Heat preseason primer -- which has all the questions, some of the answers, and none of the fanfare that went along with LeBron's "Decision."

Training camp site: Dark Side of the Moon. (Just kidding. It’s actually on less accessible property: Hurlburt Field at Eglin Air Force Base near Ft. Walton Beach, Fla.

Training camp starts: Sept. 28

Key additions: Smush Parker (fantasy signing), Jason Williams (none of your business), and three of Michael Beasley’s better-adjusted cousins. This is a joke, of course. You know who the key additions are. Besides them, the most important ones are Mike Miller (free agent), Zydrunas Ilgauskas (free agent), Eddie House (free agent) and, um, Juwan Howard (free agent).

Key subtractions: Quentin Richardson (free agent), Jermaine O’Neal (free agent), Beasley (trade), Daequan Cook (trade).

Likely starting lineup: Wade, G; Mike Miller, G; James, SF; Bosh, PF; Joel Anthony, C. (Or maybe Dampier.)

Player to watch: Aside from the circus atmosphere starting Sept. 27 with media day on the University of Miami campus, the most interesting X’s and O’s to examine will be Erik Spoelstra’s use of Wade and LeBron as interchangeable point guards. I expect a token go at it with Carlos Arroyo and/or Mario Chalmers at point, but ultimately Spoelstra’s best lineup will be using Wade and LeBron as interchangeable wings with either one able to initiate the offense.

Chemistry check: There won’t be many clues in the cloistered environment of training camp as to how Wade and LeBron are going to work out their all-important pecking order. But the seeds will be planted for how they divvy up the pressure, credit and blame months from now.

Circus act: The fact that the Heat have chosen a secluded Air Force base for training camp, making it temporarily inconvenient for media to besiege them, is no surprise. Even when the Heat were a .500 team and no lock to get out of the first round, they were one of the most challenging teams in the league to cover. Under Riley, they like their space and they love to control the message. The creation of this super team – as star-studded a locker room as has existed in the modern NBA – will be a daily challenge. Everywhere they go, they’ll receive the rock-star treatment. It’s legitimate to wonder if the attention, and the pressure of converting the coup of July into a championship in June, will have a cumulative effect.

On the spot: The sharing of the ball, the big shots, and the blame if things go wrong will be fascinating to watch as Wade and LeBron navigate their co-superstardom together. But at some point, someone outside the realm of the dynamic duo will have to make a big shot, a defensive stop, or a smart play at the end of a close playoff game with elimination on the line. At that moment, the spotlight will perhaps shift to Bosh, who clearly wasn’t up to that task in Toronto, or Miller, who may have to deliver a corner 3-pointer with a hand in his face at the buzzer of a Game 7.

Camp battles: Chalmers vs. Arroyo for backup point guard. Anthony, Jamaal Magloire and perhaps Dampier for starting center. Pat Riley and Magic coach Stan Van Gundy for best preseason insult.

Biggest strength: In Wade and LeBron, Miami has two players who, individually, are nearly impossible to guard. Putting both of them on the floor at the same time will be enough to make even Tom Thibodeau’s head explode. For 82 nights, and then the playoffs, the challenge for the rest of the league will be: How do you guard them? Which poison do you pick?

Glaring weakness: Size and interior presence. An asterisk goes here based on the likely addition of Dampier, who would give Miami the kind of size and length they are currently lacking with the combination of Anthony, Magloire and Howard at center.

Since: Dec 29, 2008
Posted on: September 23, 2010 12:29 am

Preseason Primers: Miami Heat

respect is the last thing james is gonna worry about as the heat will probably win a handle of rings in the upcoming years
yes, no respect and insults of cowardice now but a few rings later and you might have the greatest dynasty in the modern era

Since: Aug 12, 2010
Posted on: September 23, 2010 12:01 am

Preseason Primers: Miami Heat

Keep buying Miami Heat Jerseys, the Miami Heat and NBA thank you.

Since: Feb 4, 2007
Posted on: September 22, 2010 10:02 pm

Preseason Primers: Miami Heat

Funny.  Last time I checked, it takes five guys to make a starting basketball lineup.  I only see three in the picture.  I don't care who you got playing.  3 vs. 5 is not going to win.  And only one of them can score at a time.  They are already over-hyped, get ready for a big disappointment in Miami.  In fact, I'm looking forward to it.

Since: Aug 19, 2006
Posted on: September 22, 2010 9:12 pm

Preseason Primers: Miami Heat

LeBron James will never get respect carrying someone elses jock strap.
I feel really sorry for him.
He makes one little mistake and makes a fool out of himself on national tv
and has the gall to announce it there and think it's great as he dances through the smoke and fog in South Beach.
I have a #6 Miami Heat jersey that people HATE.. until they look at the back and it says "Mrs. Wade".
Then they want a picture with me.
Gotta Love it..and I live in Cleveland.

Since: May 12, 2010
Posted on: September 22, 2010 8:53 pm

Preseason Primers: Miami Heat

Ooh I can't wait to see this three ring circus. Pat must feel like a kid with a brand new heavily advertised new toy. If they can do even 50% of what is expected of them we are in for some entertainment. NBA action it's fantastic.

Since: Apr 10, 2008
Posted on: September 22, 2010 7:59 pm

Preseason Primers: Miami Heat

They will be fun to watch and crazy hard to guard.
They are not a lock to win the playoffs, but they should make it decently far.

The real question is: ... Are you ready for some BASKETBALL!!!

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