Posted by Matt Moore
We knew the Heat were going to be different. That's to be expected when you import two superstars onto the same team to join another. But we're now learning that it's probably going to push even further than we expected.
Ira Winderman of the Miami Sun-Sentinel spoke with Pat Riley a few days ago and the Heat head honcho "strongly hinted" that LeBron James or Dwyane Wade would do considerable work at point guard . Erik Spoelstra then spoke with the Miami Herald and said that James and Wade would "handle the ball" a lot. Wade has been adamant that him running point wouldn't be a big differential from what he's done at the past, but there's always been a "true" point guard on the floor bringing the ball up-court.
How does a Heat team ran at point by James or Wade look like? Well, it's different, that's for sure. A lineup that may see considerable time for the Heat features Mike Miller at shooting guard. You can expect Miller to camp on the perimeter and wait for his man to commit to a double-team or subsequent recovery help. The center's irrelevant here. Joel Anthony, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, doesn't matter. They're rebounding and setting off-screens. That's it. Here's the kink in this system. If we suppose Bosh is in the post (where, honestly, he's not at his strongest, versus face-up), and James is running point, is Wade in the high post? Or is he on the perimeter as well? His perimeter shooting isn't good enough for that to be a viable strategy. The backdoor cut is obviously a high-potential opportunity. But then you're risking injury as Wade's in an elevated, high impact position, focused on catching the lob while the guys underneath try and kill him.
This is the problem with Wade at point-forward. With a talented true-center, he could run the two-man game. But is Bosh able to work that way out of the post? Bosh in the high pinch post with James at point playing the two man game may be the best option, with Wade floating off back-door screens, then driving inside for a kick and drive.
Lots of options. Wade at point may be the better one.
James in the high post may be the right merger of his skills. Gives his top-level passing the ability to go low to Bosh, out to Miller, or off the cut to Wade. Wade working with Bosh feels like it would make more sense, on plays that allow James to take a possession "off." The biggest issue will be creating space without allowing teams to cheat inside and just smack them around in playoff-style basketball.
Oh, and there's Mario Chalmers...
The Heat are going to have a lot to figure out when they head to camp in a few weeks.