Miami Heat Midseason Player Analysis & Awards

Mike PiccoloContributor IJanuary 21, 2009

Here we are approaching the midseason point in this thrilling whirlwind adventure of a season for the Miami Heat. There's one thing that's for sure: The edge of my seat will never be the same again.

It has been worn and withered to nothing from all these nail-biters and thrilling endings thus far!

Since this season is filled with so many amazing and magical moments, I felt it only be right to make some Miami Heat awards for this exciting Miami Heat team.

Well, although my chair and fingernails didn't make it, I'm glad to report that my fingers can still type, so the show must go on. Let's get to these awards shall we.

First up is the Award for the Most Improved Player

And the winner is...Guard Daequan Cook!

Daequan has truly shocked the Miami Heat nation this year thus far.

I mean, we all knew he was good at shooting three-pointers, but 42 percent? WOW!

Also, Daequan is on pace to post career highs in minutes per game, field goal percentage, three-point percentage, free throw percentage, shots per game, and points per a game. Also, his turnovers are down from 1.07 per game last year to only .64 per game this year.

Off the bench, Daequan has been a serious shooting threat to any opponent and a force to be reckoned with behind the three-point line.

Next is the Award for the Sixth Man of the Year

And the winner is...Forward Michael Beasely!

Sure, Michael was in the starting lineup for 13 games, but now his home resides off the bench, and honestly, he's really been feeling right at home there.

While Michael's minutes have gone down, not much everything else. In three out of the last six games, Beasley has scored 20+ points, with one of those games including his first double-double.

In the month of January, Beasley has averaged 50 percent from the field, 55 percent from three-point land, an assist, and 15 points per game! Let's just say he's heating up, HE'S ON FIRE (NBA Jam reference, I couldn't help myself)!

This rookie has really been proving he deserves the minutes, and yes, he is as good as they say he is. The scary part is I think we haven't seen anything yet.

Next is the Award for Defensive Man of the Year

And the winner is...Center Joel Anthony!

This guy eats, sleeps, and breathes defense posting a career high 1.6 blocks per game.

Joel reminds me of a young Ben Wallace as his defensive intensity is seldom matched by the opposing team, which gives the Miami Heat an automatic upper hand.

The lane has never been the same since Joel has come to reign!

Next is the No Fear Award

And the winner is... Guard Mario Chalmers!

Some players have to adjust from a lot of the changes and challenges transferring from college ball to the NBA, but Mario is not one of those players.

From day one, he has started for the Miami Heat at point guard with a fearless attitude, and a champion's mentality.

This could be from his confidence level being raised beyond the roof after his game saving, and ultimately winning, three-pointer at the end of regulation in last year's NCAA championship game.

Whatever the reason, this guy can straight out BALL! 9.3 PPG, 4.5 APG and 1.8 SPG!

This guy is a rookie, right? Could have fooled me!

Next is the Dirty Work Award

And the winner is... Forward Udonis Haslem!

Udonis is truly the NBA's most valuable blue-collar player. Whether it's hustling for a much needed rebound or hitting a game changing basket, Udonis has been the man to count on.

Haslem is shooting 50 percent from the field and posting nine rebounds a night. With a great knowledge of the game, and a winning veteran's mentality, Udonis has earned the title of co-captain on this Miami Heat squad.

Next is the Award for Most Versatile Player

And the winner is...Forward Shawn Marion!

The man is a stat sheet beast! Shawn is one of those players who can and will do just about everything, and anything, at any given time during a game.

This statement is especially true for the month of January where Shawn has managed to finish with a double-double in four out of the eight games.

In January Marion is also averaging better than 52 percent from the field, 88 percent from the free throw line, 9.3 rebounds, 2 assists, 1.6 steals, and 14.3 points per game!

Did I mention this guy does it all? He didn't get the nickname "Matrix" for nothing.

Quick Side Note:
Will a blockbuster trade happen right before the February 19th trade deadline? Reliable sources say that Jermaine O'Neal may join Miami very soon in a trade involving Shaun Marion and Marcus Banks. Keep your ears to the NBA streets—this could be a huge move for Miami. While Shawn Marion is a great player, he lacks the size inside that the Heat desperately need right now. Jermaine O'Neal pretty much answers that dilemma.

Last but certainly not least is the Most Valuable Player Award

And the winner is...Guard Dwayne Wade!

It should come to no ones surprise that Wade has earned this honor on the Heat team. In fact, this award may be his at the end of the year for the league.

Wade has been nothing short of amazing. Wade is basically all the awards that have been given out in this article in one player, except for sixth man of course.

Wade has so far posted career highs in points (28.9 PPG), blocks (1.6 BPG), and steals (2.3 SPG) while on the verge of posting a career high in assists (7.4 APG) as well! This guy is in a league of his own!

When the Heat need a clutch player who can do it all? They call on Wade, and with a record of 22-18, he has come through and proven that he is the heart and sole of this Miami Heat team.

Mid-Season Burning Questions...

1)  Will the Miami Heat manage to get to the playoffs, and beyond, with Jamaal Magloire at back-up Center?

He has been a disappointment to this point, however. In Magloire's last game on January 18th versus the Oklahoma City Thunder, he did have season highs in both points, with 13 and blocks, with two.

Could Magloire be finally turning his sour season around?

2)  Will Alonzo Mourning make a comeback from last years disastrous knee injury?
Obviously, a combination of Joel Anthony and Alonzo Mourning would be a huge force to be reckoned with. The idea alone is mind blowing when you think of all the blocks and defensive stops the Heat could tally with those two guarding the lane. Time will tell...

3)  Will James Jones ever be healthy?!?!?!??!

What was first conceived to be the biggest pickup for the Miami Heat over this past offseason has become a quest for meaning.

Jones has played in just three games so far averaging 5.7 minutes per game and that is about it.

Jones has managed to acquire no points, or steals and only one rebound in those three games. I wish him the best for his, and Miami's, sake.

This also begs the question, what would a team with a healthy James Jones look like? Hopefully in the second half of the season, we will find out.

Final Thoughts...

The Miami Heat are having a great season, but I can't help but feel like there is one thing missing from the championship feel of the 2005-06 Heat team.

Will the Heat forge together and follow through with Pat Riley's "15 STRONG" theme in an effort to run to the finals?

Do the Heat need that extra something to make them serious contenders (a true center, a trade for Jermaine O'Neal or a healthy James Jones)?

Can Wade muster up the will power and courage to put this team on his back and ride into another championship?

The answers are in the mind, body and souls of the Miami Heat players. So, let's hope that this Miami Heat team wants the championship as much as the 2005-06 team did.