Pre-Training Camp Miami Heat Player Power Rankings
The Miami Heat roll into this coming season with a giant target on their back. Every team in the league will be out to score an impressive victory against the league's best team.
Miami will face every opponent's best this season, coupled with the powder-keg atmospheres it will be faced with in cities like Oklahoma and Chicago.
Looking at the Heat's roster, it's easy to pick who is best. Picking after that, however, is a tough task.
No. 18: Jarvis Varnado
Jarvis Varnado will work out with the Heat during training camp this season after spending two years playing ball in Israel and Italy.
The power forward was the 41st pick in the 2010 NBA draft and blocked four shots per game over four seasons with Mississippi State, but don't expect him to make the final roster.
No. 17: Garrett Temple
Garrett Temple will also work out with Miami this preseason after seeing spotty minutes with five different teams in the last two seasons.
Temple was never more than a player thrown into blowout wins or losses or used to cover extremely injury-depleted squads.
It is unlikely that Temple will make the final roster.
No. 16: Josh Harrellson
Josh Harrellson played 14 minutes per game with the New York Knicks last season averaging a fairly mediocre 3.9 rebounds and 4.4 points.
Miami will hope Harrellson can be part of the team's newfound depth and provide valuable backup to Chris Bosh and whomever starts next to him in the frontcourt.
Harrellson, however, is not your average center. He's a center comfortable shooting from distances out beyond the three-point line. Miami can utilize him alongside its big three unlike other centers Joel Anthony and Dexter Pittman, who struggle to score from more than four feet away. Harrellson will operate in space that does not cut off the paint for LeBron James and Dwyane Wade's explosive offensive styles.
No. 15: Terrel Harris
Terrel Harris appeared 22 times for the Heat last season, mainly as a reserve in cases of injury or blowout wins and losses.
The Heat decided to re-sign Harris to a one-year deal, essentially to reprise his role as reserve guard on the bench.
Harris averaged 3.6 points and 2.3 rebounds per game last year.
No. 14: Mickell Gladness
Mickell Gladness might not make the final roster after training camp after being picked up on a non-guaranteed contract in early September.
Gladness went undrafted before being signed by the Golden State Warriors. He played in 26 games for the team from Oakland, averaging 2.2 points and 2.2 rebounds.
No. 13: Dexter Pittman
Dexter Pittman will be remember mostly for his suspension during last season's playoff run.
The big man from Texas was never any more than a bit-part player tossed onto the floor during big wins or losses and in times of injury crisis.
He was expected to be a part of the Heat's center-by-committee solution, but never really evolved into a reliable player on the court, simply riding the bench for the majority of the season.
No. 12: Mike Miller
Mike Miller may appear to be low on this list, but this season could very well be one too many for the sharpshooter.
Injuries have robbed Miller of the chance to achieve his true potential, reducing him to sporadic appearances.
Nonetheless, he knocked down several big shots during the Heat's run to the championship last season and became a real fan favorite on South Beach for the effort he put in.
Watching Miller was painful at times as he hobbled up and down the court grimacing at whatever injury was plaguing him that night. There were many times he would leave the floor and lie down next to the bench, as he would be in too much pain to even sit down.
There was talk of retirement, but Miller decided to give it another go.
No. 11: Joel Anthony
Joel Anthony is simply an average center whose stats reflect that notion.
Anthony gradually lost minutes last season as the Miami Heat realized that they could get away with playing Chris Bosh in the middle against many opponents.
In fact, as the playoffs progressed and Bosh's minutes at center increased, Anthony's playing time become more sporadic.
Bosh's excellence in the NBA Finals probably not only shows how good he is at center, but also proves how bad Anthony is if he cannot win his position back despite Bosh being undersized.
Look for this trend to continue and Anthony to only be used against the true giants of the NBA.
No. 10: Rashard Lewis
Rashard Lewis is another Heat veteran, but whether he becomes anything more than a cheerleader on the sidelines is up for debate.
Having averaged a decent 16.1 points and 5.1 rebounds per game over his career, Lewis turned in his worst season since the 1999-2000 season, as he played on a rebuilding Washington Wizards team determined to put the emphasis on youth rather than experience.
The Heat snapped him up as a backup for LeBron James and Chris Bosh even though Lewis only played 28 games last year.
No. 9: James Jones
James Jones played in 51 games last season and averaged 3.6 points per game in just over 15 minutes per night.
The sharpshooter's excellence from behind the arc continued as he shot slightly above 40 percent from downtown last season.
During the NBA Finals, Jones sank a handful of threes in big games against the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Heat will hope he can continue and even improve his performances this season and become a bigger part of the Heat's rotation.
No. 8: Norris Cole
Norris Cole emerged as one of the steals of the 2011 draft.
His explosiveness and raw energy sparked the Heat's sometimes sluggish offense into life in crucial stretches of key games.
Although he never quite challenged for the starting role, Cole put in his claim to be the Heat's point guard of the future should Mario Chalmers either regress, pick up an injury or leave the team.
Cole's raw talent is terrific. Now he needs to work on polishing out the rough edges and becoming a better all-round player if he is to challenge Chalmers' role at starting point guard.
No. 7: Shane Battier
Shane Battier became a crucial part of the Heat's title run last season with a series of big performances. Battier's corner three became a legitimate weapon in the Miami arsenal and was used to great effect as the Heat closed out the Thunder in five games.
Battier's defense was also crucial as he helped close down the opponent's main threats all season long, stepping up his game whenever it was required.
Miami will need him again this season despite his advancing years, as it attempts to hold off several young pretenders to its throne.
No. 6: Udonis Haslem
Udonis Haslem was another big part of the Heat's 2011-12 season, as he was the only big man not named Chris Bosh to perform well season-long.
Through the playoffs, Haslem's ability to make up for some of Chris Bosh's defensive frailties was critical in keeping the Heat alive at times. His defense against the likes of Indiana's Roy Hibbert was probably the difference when the Heat came back from 2-1 down to win their Easter Conference Semifinals series in six games.
Haslem's mid-range jumper was his best weapon, as he could draw his defender out of position.
Haslem will again be the Heat's best big man after Bosh.
No. 5: Mario Chalmers
Mario Chalmers finally marked himself as the Heat's starting point guard for the immediate future.
A series of big performances against the Oklahoma City Thunder truly endeared him the Miami faithful, and he will be the man running point in Miami until a substantially better prospect comes along.
Chalmers' Finals performance pretty much sealed the title for Miami, as he chipped in a massive 25-point night in Game 2, including 12 fourth-quarter points.
No. 4: Ray Allen
Ray Allen has traded Big Threes over the summer as he shifted from the Boston Celtics to the Miami Heat.
The NBA's all-time leader in made three-point field goals in a move that reinforces the belief that Miami will be repeating as champions next spring.
The marksman's talents from beyond the arc are well documented, but his defense, passing and ball-handling are all slightly lost in the shadow of his scoring. He will provide much more than that to a team that needs all three to dominate again.
Allen's three-point shooting ability will be even more crucial here than it was in Boston, as the Heat's Big Three need the floor stretched to be able to operate effectively.
No. 3: Chris Bosh
Chris Bosh will probably always be the third wheel on the LeBron James-Dwyane Wade tandem.
However, Bosh really excelled last season after he was moved to center. Miami went all in with the small ball theory, as moving him to center allowed him to exploit his distance shooting against players totally uncomfortable outside the paint. This enabled him to score in bunches while also taking a body out of the paint, making LeBron and Wade's job of attacking the rim that much easier.
Bosh went through a revival of sorts after his injury, as many said the Heat could survive without him after it happened. In reality, they struggled through it and missed his presence inside. His return kick-started the Heat to the title and gave his reputation a real boost in the process.
No. 2: Dwyane Wade
Dwyane Wade is the No. 2 player on the Miami Heat roster. It's nothing for him to be worried about, especially when it's LeBron James on the top step.
Wade's 2011-12 season was typical for him: Gritty, determined, hard-nosed basketball as he led his team to its second championship.
All that changed was the presence of a few more injuries, which must be a worry for Heat fans. Wade's body has clocked several thousand miles and seemed to begin to break down this past season.
It shouldn't impact him much in the immediate future, but the future is now under a minor question mark as Wade's tired body begins to show signs of giving up.
No. 1: LeBron James
LeBron James is the best player in the NBA, he's the best player we've seen in many, many years (sorry Kobe fans) and could be the closest thing to Jordan we've seen since His Airness retired.
James had a season for the ages in 2012, winning the regular season and NBA Finals MVP trophies, the NBA championship and an Olympic gold medal with Team USA at the London Games.
It was an action-packed year, but one that LeBron made his own as he simply dominated his matchup night in, night out. He didn't choke come playoff time. In fact, he buried the tired old joke of his struggles in the clutch after he blew the Boston Celtics out of the water with a 45-point explosion in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals.
LeBron has a big season to live up to, but as he is in his physical prime, who would put it past him having yet another season for the ages?