Changes Needed: Miami Heat

After a season of stardom, criticism, and losing the NBA finals, the Miami Heat have some things to think about. Playing against the Mavericks in the NBA finals really took their flaws and put them under the spotlight. There was Lebron’s disability to finish out games and their depth not being able to produce.

I think this offseason the thing they have to focus on most is their roster changes. It was clear that if one or two of the big three wasn’t producing like a superstar, their bench couldn’t hold up their load and stay in the game. They’ve won about 55 of their 58 regular season wins solely on the production of D-Wade, Chris Bosh and Lebron James. The biggest problem they knew they were up against in the Finals is the monstrous depth of Dallas’ bench. Jason Terry, J.J Barea, Brendon Haywood all contributed greatly to the success of the Mavericks. From J.J making big shots of pick and rolls, to Jason Terry scoring 27 in game 6, to Brendon Haywood protecting the paint from people like Lebron. Often times when Lebron or D-Wade or Bosh sat down for a break, that’s when the game got a bit out of hand, and they started to lose their handle on the game. Then it was too late to get back into it. The Heat need to keep their eye out for productive role players. Ones who know their place on a team and are willing to do that to win. Players like Mario Chalmers. He was the only helpful player besides Haslem off the bench but they need more then that. They need someone they can count on to pour in 10-15 points off the bench. Someone like Shawne Williams from New York or Delonte West from Boston.

Then they need Lebron to start playing like the label he gave himself. A king. Not a scared little boy afraid to get physical in the paint. C’mon Lebron you owe the NBA better then you have given us this year. This summer it’s not his skills or his endurance or his jumpshot that needs refining but it’s his self confidence, his ability to make big plays when they count and his aggressiveness back. In the first 3 rounds of the playoffs he was attacking that basket like a man fighting for his life. He saw the basket, and drove straight to it. That was the Lebron we expected in the finals but unfortunately for some people and fortunately for those Lebron haters it wasn’t the one we got. He passed the ball away too many times in big moments to players like Mario Chalmers and Mike Miller. What does he expect those guys to do with the rock in their hands in the biggest moment of the game. I was so disappointed with how he played, and this summer he has to look in the mirror, start listening to the criticism, get angry, and translate that into his play. For the big moments there is no way to practice those until your actually in the big moment but Lebron’s problems are all in the mind. That’s harder to solve then the play itself. But he is the king, isn’t he?

It’s not all him though, Lebron isn’t perfect, he wasn’t exactly given a plan in the 4th quarter. He had had to improvise which is hard to do when the pressure is all on his back. Erik Spoelstra was out coached during the finals in his aspect of 4th quarter planning. They ran no plays for Lebron or D-Wade. I bet if Lebron or D-Wade were given a play to run in the 4th quarter and a plan to work on then their 4th quarter production would be much greater then it was.

To be honest the Miami Heat played a great series and with some slight depth changes and some determining of their 4th quarter star then the Miami Heat will be the ones with the parade after next season.




10 thoughts on “Changes Needed: Miami Heat

  1. It seems to me you are piling on the Heat a little. They played great against Chicago and Boston, none of the problems in the finals seemed to bother them then. Even Dallas in game 1, 90% of game 2, and much of game 3, didn’t bother them so much.

    Labron has shown before, when he is on no one can stop him – only Labron can stop Labron, or more accurately only the voices in his head can. The Heat were the same way in the regular season – streaky. Their win/loss depended a lot more on how they played than on how their opponents played. I usually don’t believe in saying losers “choked”, since it is so difficult to tell the difference between choking, good defense, and just an off day (Nowitzky 1 for 11 in the first half? Does anyone think he was choking?) But in this case it is pretty clear that Labron choked – it isn’t his failure but his reluctance to try that makes me believe that.

    Dallas gets full credit for not losing heart themselves, playing clutch and not giving up, and making the Heat pay for their lapses (and the psychological pushing that maybe caused Labron to clutch up a little more), but quite honestly if the Heat played like they did in games 4, 5, and 6 against any of their playoff opponents they would have lost.

    • The difference between Dirk going 1 for 11 in the first half and Lebron doing the same is that when the 4th quarter came around, Dirk would score 10 points while Lebron would score 2. I’ve only been piling on the Heat because after a team brings so much hype onto their team and their star player and then their star player shies away, well it’s a big disappointment. I’m not a Lebron hater, I love his game but I realize there are some parts of his game that really need a makeover. His clutch play for instance. Lebron played amazing against Boston, Philly and Chicago because they weren’t as good as Dallas. He has to play the same against every team no matter how good.

  2. I partially agree with rwy, the only two things they need to change is a way to make smart passes, and of course LeBron. Jason Terry was not going to be stopped, not by the Heat, not by anyone. The Heat have arguably the best defense in the league and Jet was not going to be stopped, we saw that throughout the series.

  3. From my point of view, the main problem with the Heat has been the Heat itself. They have been crafted like an nba 2k11 team made from a boy who just bought the game and doesn’t want to lose, so buys the best around. The problems are not just related to Lebron (who anyway needs a deep mental renewal) or Miller, or Bibby. In my (ignorant) opinion, Dallas was a team, Miami was 5 players together, which melted down as soon as things got heavy. It was a team built to win the championship, not to be the best team. That’s why they lost and personally, I think it’s fair this way. Dallas earned the ring (or whatever Cuban wants), Miami needed a burning loss to become a team. Just make a little comparison with the Thunder, who lost last year against the Lakers, and came back this year stronger against Dallas, which became champions. I wonder how much will they have grown next year. If Miami had won right this year, it would have been a joke for nba basketball, for sport in general, and for the Miami Heat itself. After this loss, they can really breakdown (and I don’t think this will ever happen), or build themselves as a winning team.
    And they do not need to trade other players in, they already have everyone! they just need to work together better, and there are few things that can shape you up better than a loss in the Finals. Simply, they needed to lose, and now they have paid their toll to success.
    Anyway, as Kobe said about Lebron: “real basketball is played in June”. 8 Years after the draft, we are still waiting to be witnesses.


    p.s. btw great job with this blog, I really like it! Greetings from Italy

    • I know it was a team effort that beat the Heat. But for a post I can’t just say, they didn’t play as a team. I had to dig deeper and pick around and find the specific things behind the big picture. I agree with you though, the Heat need a team not a bunch of players. Thanks for the complement about liking my blog, it means a lot.

  4. Im not a huge Lebronfan or anything, but Lebron coulda finished the Mavs off in the same way he did against Chicago-nailing contested 3point shots. He just has to get his ass in the post or put his head down and draw a foul or try to finish at the rim. In my opinion they should let dwade close out games as his penetration is more effective then Lebron(not taking anything away from Lebron, he is the better allround player). Cannot agree with you on another point: The Heat’s perimeter defense is pretty solid, even though they sometimes (especially in Game 6, with House on the floor who is not only a terrible perimeter defender but a horrible all round defender) had collapses. But sometimes you have to give the Mavs credit, they are a shot making team, so at some point in the series they were gonna get hot. Unfortunately I dont have the time now to post youtube links, but i remember cases where the Mavs simply made contested Three pointer: (e.g Barea: Stepback trey against house, Trey right in the drill of Chalmers, Terry contested against Lebron, Kidd vs House, Dirk’s Rainbow).
    On the other hand the Heat defensive tends to overhelp. That naturally leaves shooters often, and if you have Terry, Stevenson, Kidd, Dirk, Stojakovic, Barea on your roster you gonna make shots. Sometimes these contested shots (just like Lebron vs Boston, Chicago), sometimes they are the result of ball movement. In my opinion they defended the picknroll pretty good, but Dallas is just a very good team if they are not playing with called sets (free flow). And you know how it work, if guys have their outsidegame working, they are able to make tough layups and get into the lane.
    For me the Heat should try adding younger talent and proven three point shooters, just about anybody who can stretch the floor and make a three here and there. Otherwise theyll be fine. The whole Lebronthing is overrated, he is 26, jez, MJ didnt win his first one till he was 28. A possibility would be to try to work on some more postmoves, which work, even if it isnt working form beyond the arc. But otherwise he is just fine. my god, he is so talented-its off the charts how good he is. Body of a linebacker, and can pass like PG+ability to guard 1-4…Sure, he wasnt aggressive enough in some situations, but neither were Bosh or Wade. Just settling for threes in the clutch may look good if they go, but makes the game, a make or miss gamble….

    • I know that the Miami perimeter defense is pretty strong, and they were playing against a team full of three point shooters, but they let too many by them. The pick and roll defense was not good at all. I’m sorry but they did not guard the point guard on the three point line, that had nothing to do with Dallas’ talent but Miami’s defense. Lebron is unbelievable, that’s why I said that he has to work on his mental abilities more then his athletic or talent abilities because he is unstoppable when his head is in the game. It wasn’t in games 2-6. Three point shooters are something that they already have, James Jones, Mike Miller, Mike Bibby. They have all the pieces just need to play as a team and get everyone involved. Wade was aggressive in clutch situations, he was driving to the hoop every possession he could, Bosh just wasn’t getting the ball in the clutch moments.

  5. I find it very curious that James Jones and Zydrunas Ilgauskas played sparingly in the Finals. Any ideas why they were not in the rotation at all?

    Great post, by the way.

    • I think Zydranus Ilgauskas just wasn’t aggressive enough, and maybe Erik Spoelstra thought he wouldn’t be able to battle down low with the big bodies of Tyson Chandler and Brendon Haywood. Also, Joel Anthony was playing very well in the playoffs and Erik wanted to give him more time to play his game. I might be wrong but I think James Jones was injured.

  6. Well, to be exact: Wade drove the ball some…But he also tried to play herobasketball too often. Mike Bibby, even though you never lose a jumpshot, is out of his prime, i gotta say that. James Jones is a knockdown shooter, but they they need another guy like Miller who runs around and can stop, catch and shoot. Jones can only do the later. Well, I think the defensive systems against which these Dallas Mavericks don’t get good shots is yet to be invented. What do you wanna do if you Dirk and and shooters around him on the floor? What the Mavericks do superb is, they trust the pass, always finding the open man. (That plus the tendency of the quick Miami defense to overhelp creates space=good shots) Sometimes it’s make or miss. Often they went under Dirk’s screens because it’s even more dangerous if Barea gets into lane to either finish himself or get other guys involved. And JJ Barea, not taking anything away from his ability to get into the paint, is not a knockdown shooter. As you are very young, (boy, do I hate to talk like that), and as you gonna see more and more games, you gonna realise that you can’t take away the jump shoot and the penetration of a player all time. Did you see how Marion guarden Lebron, or Kidd Dwade? They sometimes just let them that extra five inches of room, knowing that they are average, or in Wade’s case, below average jump shooters.

    You are right: They need to lern how and when to get Chris Bosh involved. Not only in the clutch. He had it going in Game 6: Lebron wouldnt pass him the ball in the low post.

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