With each year comes age, and with age comes fatigue. Meaning the importance of managing players' minutes increases.
If the Miami Heat plan on winning more than one NBA championship during the Big three era, moving forward, one of the most important things will be making sure the team is healthy and well-rested come April. A task easier said then done.
Especially in Miami's case.
Let us not forget that they have yet to finish first in the Eastern Conference. But, when the playoffs rolled around last year the Heat were well-rested and ready to give everything they had as they progressed towards the title—a title they were ultimately able to capture.
With some new additions, the minutes per game breakdown has the potential to look a lot different for Miami this season. Something that should put a smile on any Heat fan's face.
Less regular season minutes for the Big 3 equals more big wins in the playoffs.
Here's how I believe things will play out for the 2012-2013 Miami Heat.
Projected MPG: 40.3
Sometimes it seems like no matter how many minutes Spoelstra has LeBron play a night, there is no stoping him.
But I can guarantee you this, playing all those minutes will take a toll on a guy sooner rather than later.
As for now, while LeBron resides in his prime, he can still play a little over 40 minutes a night for the Heat. The truth of the matter is, they still need him to.
He does it all for Miami, and as long as he can stay healthy, the more he's on the floor, the better the Heat will be—although this may not serve to be true in the long run.
Projected MPG: 37.3
We hear a lot of talk about Kobe Bryant getting old; well, Dwyane Wade is right there with him.
On top of that, the way Wade has played throughout his career has definitely taken away some good years for Flash.
Nevertheless, Wade will be back this season with his body and knee feeling mighty good and with a lot of rest underneath his belt.
After playing nearly 40 minutes per game last year, Wade should have no problem playing about 37 this year. It will be good for his body, good for his career, and ultimately good for the team to get him a little more rest. Even if it is for only a couple of minutes.
Projected MPG: 32.7
As I've stated for a very long time, Bosh is the most important piece to this Miami Heat team.
He provides the inside presence that championship teams need, while also being able to stretch the floor with his pure jump shot.
The Heat really need him on the floor as much as possible, and although he is a big man, he is still capable of playing a solid amount of minutes.
All I know is this: when Bosh is out on the floor the Heat are a much better team.
It would serve Spoelstra right to pair him with either Wade or LeBron as much as he can—something he's done a great job of doing thus far.
Projected MPG: 30.1
Mario Chalmers continues to improve as a player on both ends of the floor.
He has consistently held his own against some of the best point guards in the league, and is really the most underrated defender on the Heat.
That being said, just like a few other guys, Chalmers will see his minutes cut down a little bit with the acquisition of Ray Allen.
This is not to say that Chalmers is a not a great fit with the Heat; he's already proven that he can play with the best of them. And yes it's true, he's hit some big shots for the Heat in the past, but if you're a Heat fan who do you want LeBron/Wade kicking it out to for an open shot with time winding down on the clock, Allen or Chalmers?
My point exactly.
Projected MPG: 29.7
Shane Battier should see a cut in minutes simply because he's getting old and needs to preserve his body as much he can.
With the addition of Ray Allen, this will make things a lot easier for the Heat to do.
There's no question that Battier is the better defender, and although Battier's stroke is much improved, it still does not compare to Allen's.
You've got to love watching guys like Battier play; he's willing to do the hard work that superstars tend to stray away from.
But, that kind of play takes its toll on the body.
It will be good for Battier to get a little more rest this season.
Projected MPG: 29.5
Ray Allen averaged 34 minutes with the Boston Celtics last year, where for a majority of the year, he served as the starting shooting guard.
Well, playing behind Dwyane Wade, one of the best players in the league, will be prove to be a much different situation than Allen has ever found himself in.
That being said, Riley acquired Allen with the hopes of having him step in play big minutes and make huge shots—a job Allen gladly accepted.
I Wouldn't be surprised to see Allen be the first one off the bench, while also closing out games for Miami.
Projected MPG: 20.1
Rashard Lewis couldn't ask to be in a better situation.
The type of player he has the potential to be on this team is through the roof.
He can put the ball on the floor, shoot it from beyond the arc with ease, and he has the size of a true power forward.
Lewis has yet to find his niche with a contender in the NBA since his days in Orlando.
Well, he's been presented with what may prove to be his last opportunity in Miami—not a bad place to make your last stop.
Projected MPG: 16.4
Depending on how Rashard Lewis plays, the minutes I've got projected for Haslem could go up or down.
The thing is, Haslem no longer fits the mode of the type of player Pat Riley looks to surround his three all-stars with.
He's not versatile, athletic, nor a good shooter from beyond the arc.
Yes, Haslem's hustle and grit is second to none, but his limited skill set may keep him off the floor much more than he wants to be on a team as talented as the Heat.
Projected MPG: 12.3
Money Mike still has some worth; he proved that in last year's NBA Finals.
But throughout the season, it was clear he was in pain and quickly losing the little athleticism he possessed in the first place.
With the addition of Ray Allen, the need for Miller's heroics has lessened even further.
Miller has paid his dues, now he'll get to do a lot more watching and hopefully a little less grimacing this season.
Projected MPG: 14.5
Joel Anthony showed huge signs of improvement during this past season. He was able to finish around the rim better than ever before, while doing his best impersonation of Alonzo Mourning and protecting the basket on the defensive end.
But at the end of the day, Anthony is undersized and not a good one-on-one defender in the post.
Therefore, we should see a lot more Pittman this year and a lot less Anthony, although he's done the best job he can with his skill set.
He will still get enough minutes to provide a spectacular blocked shot or two, but Anthony will find his minutes much more sporadic this year.
Projected MPG: 13.6
Norris Cole showed that he is NBA-ready very early in his young career.
Coming into his second season, Cole has earned the right to be out on the floor on a consistent basis.
He's not yet ready to split the minutes with Chalmers, and he would probably be playing a lot more if the Heat were not able to acquire Ray Allen, but he still has an important role with this Heat team bringing immediate energy and intensity off the bench.
Projected MPG: 10.2
This year we should finally see that big bump in minutes for Dexter Pittman.
Although the Heat like to play small ball, they are going to want to get Pittman some consistent run because he will be needed in the playoffs against the likes of Tyson Chandler, Roy Hibbert, Andrew Bynum, and possibly even Dwight Howard.
Miami will want to keep Bosh out of foul trouble as much as they can, which will result in Pittman getting a lot of minutes against some of the elite big men in the league.