Miami Heat: Breaking Down the Best Starting Lineup for Miami
Miami is currently a team with a championship roster, but they do have a major hole when it comes to center depth. That being said, sometimes you have to alter a lineup to make the pieces fit just right.
The Heat are a team that will look to spread the floor all season to allow LeBron James and Dwyane Wade to be able to get driving lanes. Miami has the perfect supporting cast to do so based on the fact that they have great depth when it comes to players who can knock down a long ball.
It wouldn't be surprising to see Miami shuffle the starters at the center position throughout the season to find someone who can contribute in an effective manor. However, the Heat will eventually look to trim the playoff rotation and focus on the players who are guaranteed to be an asset.
This is the best possible starting lineup for Miami when the time comes.
Point Guard: Mario Chalmers
By no means is Mario Chalmers an elite point guard, but he is a perfect fit for Miami. He put together some nice scoring games in the playoffs and often stepped up to be that third option in the absence of Chris Bosh.
Chalmers is an important player in this rotation based on his offensive development. He's a threat from deep, but has also been solid while driving through a line for floaters and layups.
While he may take too many unnecessary risks defensively, he does often come up with steals and create other turnover opportunities.
Another important aspect in the benefit of Chalmers is his willingness to step up in crunch time. He never backs down from a big shot and can often be the difference-maker for Miami.
Miami has plenty of depth when it comes to guards, but Chalmers is the right guy to have on the floor for tipoff.
Shooting Guard: Dwyane Wade
Dwyane Wade has been a fixture in Miami's starting lineup since his rookie season. That's not going to change anytime soon.
Although Wade missed some time last season due to injury, he battled through and made his mark by winning his second NBA championship. While he will enter the season at the age of 30, he's still one of the league's best players who is hungry for more success.
One great thing about Wade's 2011-12 season is he cleaned up his shot selection. His points per game were down, yes, but he learned to avoid settling for long jumpers beyond the arc.
Similar to Chalmers, Wade is a guy who lives for big moments. He recently had a vital performance in the NBA Finals and used his aggressiveness to exploit the weaknesses of the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Wade still has electrifying quickness and is a ball-hawking defender. Look for Wade to greatly benefit from Miami's ability to spread the floor so he can work the paint.
Small Forward: Shane Battier
No player stepped up more for Miami in the NBA Finals than Shane Battier. He was a man possessed who hit 15 three-pointers while continuing to make big plays defensively.
Battier is the right fit to fill this role come playoff time, but it wouldn't be surprising to see him coming off the bench until the season significantly progresses. Miami will look to spread the minutes to keep legs fresh, but expect this veteran to bring a spark off the bench until then.
The best thing Battier brings to the Heat is he doesn't need the ball in his hands to an asset. He's a nice spot-up shooter, but he also sets picks and other vital things to make for a fluent offense.
Defensively Battier has lost a step, but he remains one of the most intelligent players in the league. He always gets a hand in the face of an opposing player and rarely gets in foul trouble.
It would be hard to find a better team player in the NBA. Battier was a great signing last season and will continue to prove why he's had no problem finding minutes in the rotation.
Power Forward: LeBron James
LeBron James is the best player in the NBA. It's as simple as that.
He's coming off one of the greatest seasons in league history by winning a championship, MVP and Finals MVP, but will only get better next year.
James' versatility allows him to play any position on the floor, but he fits best at the power forward position. He has brute strength and quickness to make him one of the most freakish athletes to ever step on the court.
James is a nightly triple-double threat and has no true weakness to his game. After improving in the post recently, it wouldn't be out of line to call him unstoppable offensively. His jumper is underrated, but he can still torch you from deep if he gets hot.
It wouldn't be surprising to see LeBron play different positions at any time in a game, but putting him at the power forward gives Miami many different options.
Center: Chris Bosh
If you say Chris Bosh is not as important as Dwyane Wade or LeBron James, please watch the playoff series against the Indiana Pacers.
Bosh is an elite scorer who gives Miami an important scoring presence with size. He's not going to dominate the post, but he can outwork slower defenders and draw others out with his range.
While he isn't the toughest defender, he has the mobility to keep up with anyone at his position. Bosh is also a solid rebounder and had some big defensive efforts that were key against the Thunder.
We know the center position is a weakness for Miami, but they have ways to cover that up. By starting Bosh here, the Heat can rotate other role players like Joel Anthony or even Udonis Haslem in spurts in this position.
We could also see Miami decide to go with no center at all in an ultra-small lineup. Rebounding would be a slight concern, but they have the athleticism to make up for that. This would be a run-and-gun set that could truly wear down any team in the league.
When it comes down to it, Bosh is an unorthodox fit here. He doesn't fit the bill as a prototypical center, but to say he couldn't be effective would be completely wrong.
He's key to success, as well as helping Miami avoid a glaring hole at the center position.
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