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Power Ranking the Best 5-Man Lineups for the Miami Heat to Use in 2012-13

Zach BuckleyNational NBA Featured ColumnistOctober 10, 2016

Power Ranking the Best 5-Man Lineups for the Miami Heat to Use in 2012-13

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    The 2012-13 NBA season marks a journey to uncharted waters and a return to familiarity for the defending champion Miami Heat.

    The new element is the experience of being the defending champs for the many players on Miami's roster who earned their first ring in 2011-12.

    The lures of over-celebration (and subsequent complacency) may not be quite the detriment in the dynasty-friendly NBA as it would be in the NFL, which has seen as many successful championship defenses in the past 30 seasons (four) as the NBA has in just the last 16.

    But Miami may struggle to find that same drive and channel that same energy that led them to the game's apex.

    As for the familiar, though, that proverbial target placed on the backs of all reigning champions is hardly a new concept for this group of players.

    This is, for the most part, the Miami Heat after all, league villains and championship favorites for the past two seasons and counting.

    LeBron James will, somehow, still have something to prove to his detractors.

    And coach Erick Spoelstra's seat has had all summer to simmer under the unrelenting South Florida sun.

    Just business as usual for the NBA's most talented roster.

5. The Super Subs

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    PG: Norris Cole

    SG: Ray Allen

    SF: Mike Miller

    PF: Rashard Lewis

    C: Udonis Haslem

    The focus of praise for Miami team president Pat Riley has been for the basketball guru's ability to formulate an all-time great starting lineup.

    But many have criticized the budget bench he has assembled, despite the feat being nearly as impressive.

    Riley had elite perimeter threats (Miller and James Jones) before adding to the mix with Allen and Lewis.

    He made re-signing Haslem a priority and the big man responded with over seven rebounds a game, despite his minutes being sliced from 34.1 (2008-09) to 26.5 (2010-11) and then 24.8 (2011-12).

    He even found an unheralded point guard from Cleveland State with the 28th pick in 2011, Cole, who wasted little time displaying both the necessary talent and confidence to compete on the NBA hardwood.

    Do his reserves match the talent level of his starting five? Of course not.

    But did they help Miami bring the Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy back to South Beach (and will they help in the effort to bring another)? Absolutely.

4. Let It Fly

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    PG: Mario Chalmers

    SG: Ray Allen

    SF: Mike Miller

    PF: Rashard Lewis

    C: Chris Bosh

    It's hard to imagine defensive-minded Spoelstra letting this lineup see significant minutes, but it's fun to imagine the barrage of threes that this group could unleash.

    Chalmers has the fourth-worst career percentage of the group at 35.9, but shot a career-best 38.8 percent in 2011-12.

    Allen holds the career mark for most three-pointers made in NBA history (2,718 and counting). Enough said, right?

    Well, consider that the career 40 percent shooter has posted career-high percentages in each of the past two seasons, connecting on 45.3 percent of his attempts in 2011-12 (fourth-best in the NBA).

    Miller has been such a dominant shooter that the guy started his own energy supplement called Let It Fly Energy Shot.

    Still not convinced of his perimeter prowess? Miller bests this group with a career 40.5 percentage from the three-point land and also set a personal best in 2011-12, tying new teammate Allen's mark of 45.3.

    Lewis, meanwhile, has enjoyed a successful career as a stretch forward (career 38.8 percent three-point shooter), but posted his worst percentage (23.9) since his rookie season. In his defense, he was adjusting to playing the fewest minutes since the 1999-00 season.

    Bosh is not a prolific shooter, but his career mark of 28.9 percent is not too shabby for a 6'11" center.

3. Four-to-Eight Minutes of Hell

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    PG: Mario Chalmers

    SG: Dwyane Wade

    SF: Shane Battier

    PF: LeBron James

    C: Joel Anthony

    This group may not see long enough stretches to show the full 40 minutes of hell that former University of Arkansas coach Nolan Richardson's teams once did, but any stretch will be nothing short of hell for the opposition.

    Chalmers and Cole are both plus-defenders, but the veteran gets the nod for his quickness and anticipation that has earned him 1.5 steals per game over his four-year career.

    Wade and Battier have a combined five All-Defensive Second Team selections and the versatility to defend multiple positions.

    Anthony is the ultimate rim protector, finishing 23rd in the league in blocks per game (1.31) despite playing just 21.2 minutes.

    And as for the reigning MVP, James, he's on a stretch of four consecutive appearances on the All-Defensive First Team. He can block shots, get steals, defend all five positions and single-handedly stop a fast break.

2. A Star-Studded Event

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    PG: Dwyane Wade

    SG: Ray Allen

    SF: LeBron James

    PF: Rashard Lewis

    C: Chris Bosh

    Opposing players might not go so far as to ask this group for autographs after the game, but you might spot a camera or two on opposing benches.

    With 37 combined All-Star appearances, five championship rings and three future First Ballot Hall of Famers, this group could outshine even Stephen Ross' famed "Orange Carpet". (I promise that's my first and last link to celebrity-gossip.net. My sincerest apologies.)

    Obviously the unit lacks a true point guard, but James and Wade initiate the offense at a far greater clip than either Chalmers or Cole.

    The lineup has shooters (Allen, Lewis), slashers (Wade, James) and a big (Bosh) who showed a new-found love for protecting the paint after spending some time at the position in 2011-12.

    There may be too much mileage on these legs to run this unit for prolonged stretches, but Heat owner Micky Arison didn't open his wallet just to watch Allen and Lewis run with the second-teamers.

1. The Starting Five

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    PG: Mario Chalmers

    SG: Dwyane Wade

    SF: Shane Battier

    PF: LeBron James

    C: Chris Bosh

    With one season together and already a championship under their belt, there was no other way for these rankings to end.

    On the surface, this appears to be a defensive unit given the aforementioned accomplishments of these players on that end of the floor.

    But that generalization fails to mention the fact that James is a top-five scorer (27.1), Wade is a top-10 scorer (22.1) and Bosh is a top-25 scorer (18.0). For all of the non-math majors out there, that's 67.2 points without mentioning either Chalmers or Battier.

    The lineup is a nice blend of shooters and slashers, with three playmakers to boot.

    But the lineup is also not without concern.

    And the biggest concern for this group is health.

    Bosh passed on the chance at Olympic gold this summer to rehab an abdominal strain that forced him to miss parts of two postseason series in 2011-12. But his injury shouldn't be a factor this season as he recently told the Associated Press that the injury is behind him and that he feels "really good".

    Of bigger concern, however, is the health of the 30-year-old Wade. He also missed the Olympics due to offseason knee surgery, the effects of which will reportedly linger into at least the early part of Heat training camp.

    The team has options to replace any one of their starters, but Miami's title hopes still reside with their big three. A healthy season from James, Wade and Bosh may just mean another championship with Pat Riley's fingerprints all over it.

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