Dwyane Wade's Injury: Is Mario Chalmers Part of New Big 3 Brewing in Miami?

Joye PruittSenior Analyst IJanuary 10, 2012

ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 05:  Mario Chalmers #15 of the Miami Heat reacts after hitting a three-point basket in the third overtime against the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena on January 5, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

This is no sarcastic statement in regards Dwyane Wade’s increasingly incessant foot injury that he believes is plantar fasciitis.

Things could actually begin to shift in Miami, and coach Erik Spoelstra needs to ensure that he has a lineup in place to not only combat lesser evil teams like the Golden State Warriors, but big boys like the Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers and deeper into the month of January, the Chicago Bulls, a growing Eastern Conference problem.

The spark that LeBron James has been in Wade’s absence is all well and good. It could even push him into the leading spot as the regular-season MVP. However, everyone has down time. Even though LeBron’s has yet to come, do not be so sure that it will never show up.

Whether it lasts a single game or he goes through an extended drought, Wade may not be there to pick up his slack. Chris Bosh is a great option to have beside the two, but he cannot be the second-man stand-in, successfully, for too much longer. Bosh has improved upon his game, as has each other member of the squad, but there needs to be another man standing in the background waiting to play a recurring role in Miami’s victorious strain.

Who will that third man be?

Mario Chalmers.

From what we have all seen from him in the last several games, he can step up when necessary and step back when his talent is unwarranted. He plays unselfishly but with enough fire to ignite a comeback and score a few points as the franchise’s starting guard.

Maybe it was Norris Cole’s emergence against the Boston Celtics early on that has improved Chalmers’ ball-handling or forced him to address his game in the transition. Whatever the case may be, he is playing at a higher level than anyone expected and at the perfect moment in the season.

Wade may be out for much longer than was generally expected, which boosts and boasts Chalmers’ role significantly in the organization. Wade’s injury may have been the best thing to happen to his career.

But with great responsibility comes the possibility of heavy criticism. Chalmers is far from a finished product and his propelled role into the spotlight will only allow avid critics of Miami to point out each of his flaws, no matter how they vary in size.

He has the ability to make the perfect pass up the court for an easy bucket, but some of his passes also flail right behind the good courtside seats, killing the dreams of that great hot dog and quenching beer. Chalmers has handles, this is no lie. But he also can lose the ball on a silly showoff move or by just being outplayed by a defender.

With the good comes the bad and Chalmers, unfortunately, twinkles back and forth between proposing the possibilities and showcasing how much work still needs to be done.

The frustrating thing about Chalmers is that he can choose either road.

His talents are not restricting his levels, only his personal development and decision-making are restraining his comeuppance. Dwyane Wade’s injury is just the thing to spark something in the young point guard of Miami’s future into the position that he needs to be in. His triple-OT performance was standout, but it is nothing that his coaches and teammates do not already know he can do. They know. Miami knows.

Maybe with a renewed role, Mario Chalmers will figure it out himself.

"He can be the point guard of the future," forward Udonis Haslem said. "He had to go through a maturation process to get there, and he's arrived.

South Beach hopes so.


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