5 Miami Heat Players Who Need to Step Up
The Miami Heat have been struggling as of late, which has everyone pointing fingers and looking to place the blame on one player or group of people. However, the truth of the matter is that it's the Heat's lack of heart and intensity, as well as just a little fatigue catching up with them.
That being said, Miami's problems are severely more internal than external. They are not getting beat but instead are beating themselves with silly mistakes and turnovers that can be easily fixed. But just fixing these problems will not bring a championship to Miami.
What will bring a championship back to Biscayne Blvd. is if the Big 3 get some help and do a little stepping up themselves. Yes, for the most part they've played good basketball this year. LeBron is arguably playing his best season of his career.
But what the talk was about coming into this season was the Heat's improved supporting cast. Where have they been thus far?
Mike Miller has the potential and ability to be extremely helpful to the Miami Heat, but it seems as though he has always found himself batting injury after injury ever since he put on black and red.
With Miller's return to the court right around the corner, he only has a little time left in the season to show his worth before the playoffs. His ability to stretch the floor on the offensive end will become even more important as we hit crunch time.
If Miller can stay healthy he would likely close out games for the Heat. He is an underrated defender and a big guard who can rebound and shoot over smaller defenders. He's not the best one-on-one player, but you don't have to be when playing with LeBron and D-Wade.
Miller must step up for the Heat to have a chance this year. Many viewed him as the last piece on this championship-contending team last year when the Big 3 came together.
We see what Kyle Korver does for the Bulls and how effective he has become. Time for Miller to step up, or step down and give another player the opportunity to help.
Co-captain Udonis Haslem is not a starter. He's not a scorer, he's not high-flyer. But he is a leader and has been one of the best role players in the NBA for a very long time now.
Nevertheless, Haslem is having an off year. He is not shooting as well as he usually does from the field, meaning his automatic mid-range jumper has not been so automatic this year.
An undersized big man, Haslem has always had to fight a little bit harder for rebounds inside, and he continues to do so, averaging the most rebounds off the bench in the NBA. However, he must begin to show his worth in other areas besides rebounding.
When Haslem hits that mid-range jumper the Heat are at their best. And if he doesn't get back to playing A+ basketball very soon here, look for Turiaf to be closing games instead of Haslem.
That's not what Speolstra wants and that's not what Miami wants. But business is business and the guy getting the job done will get the minutes at the end of the day.
I know you just got here Ronny, but I think you knew exactly what you signed up for when you put on that Heat jersey: continuous scrutiny.
The thing is, Turiaf cannot be critiqued as much as any of the other players because he hasn't played as much or as long as any of the other players on the roster this season. But that's the problem.
In order for Turiaf to step up he's got to see more minutes. He should see more playing time than Joel Anthony for a multitude of reasons, the first being that he can actually provide help on the offensive end, meaning defenses have to respect his presence.
Turiaf is bigger and better than the small Anthony, but he does not protect the basket as well. Where Turiaf needs to step up is the defensive end. He's got to start shot-blocking and grabbing boards like nobody else's business.
If, and that's a big if, Turiaf ever starts to dominate the glass, monitor the paint and continue to provide a little more offensive fire power, the Heat will be very tough to beat.
Shane Battier is still one of the elite defenders in the game, and his three-ball isn't too shabby either.
Thus far, he's been playing okay for the Heat. Nothing special. He knocks down some shots here and there and he's been playing some pretty solid defense.
But the effort and production he has been providing will not bring a championship to the Miami Heat.
Many people don't realize just how important Battier is to this team. He's a smart basketball player unafraid to get his hands dirty, take a charge, box-out or draw an over-the-back call.
With LeBron James and Dwyane Wade on the team, two elite NBA superstar defenders, Battier is not always asked to defend the best player. However, as the season wears those two down, Batter will be asked to do so more and more, especially in the playoffs.
Ironically, Battier has been asked to do more on the offensive end than the defensive end for the Heat. When he is presented with his open shots after the drive and kick, he's got to knock those down, or else Miami will be watching the playoffs from television sooner rather than later.
Battier is either going to make some big shots down the stretch or shoot the Heat out of games. He is one of Miami's best two-way players, which is why he sees more minutes than the injury-prone Miller and sharpshooter James Jones.
He will continue to get the minutes; now he's just got to produce.
The bottom line is that there's no way Bosh shouldn't average a double-double. Since the month of February, Bosh has has had only three games in which he's been in double digits in rebounding. That's unacceptable. Even if his shot is not falling, the least he can do is board.
The Heat lack toughness and size despite having an All-Star big man capable of playing both the 4 and 5. Bosh put on muscle during the offseason in hopes of being able to bang inside more for tough boards and easy buckets. However, we have not seen much of that all.
Bosh's lack of point production is overshadowed by his inability to play big for the Heat. The points will come, but the rebounding and toughness will not if Bosh continues to spot up outside the paint and refuse to get inside and bang around a little bit.
If you go back and look at Bosh's days in Toronto you see him inside much more. He's gotten too comfortable with being on the perimeter and must get back to the paint if the Heat want to win it all.
Follow me on Twitter @Joshmaniii for continued Miami Heat analysis.
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