Miami Heat: Who Should Start Alongside the Big Three?
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Last season, the Miami Heat's "Big Three" of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh completed the task they set out for when they assembled in South Beach during the 2010 offseason—they won an NBA Championship.
LeBron had the best year of the three, winning both regular season MVP, NBA Finals MVP and Olympic gold. He also managed to silence all of the critics from the previous season who claimed he could not perform with a championship on the line.
Wade missed some time with injury, but still managed to play through the pain at an elite level. Wade showed multiple times during the Heat's championship run that he can still take over a game.
Bosh was the target of much media scrutiny when the Heat came up just short against the Dallas Mavericks in 2011. Last season Bosh came out with a chip on his shoulder and was willing to do whatever it took to win a ring. He was no longer "Bosh Spice" or the awkward third wheel—he was a champion.
Since the Big Three have been in Miami, their main problem has been finding players to play along side them. This offseason the Heat took big strides in solving their supporting cast issue.
Miami managed to lure veteran sharpshooter Ray Allen away from the Boston Celtics and also brought in former All-Star Rashard Lewis to solidify the rotation.
Who should be announced with LeBron, Wade and Bosh in the starting lineup though?
Mario Chalmers secured his spot as the starting point guard for the Miami Heat after posting career highs in field goal percentage (.448) and three point percentage (.388). His coming out party was a 25-point outburst in Game 4 of the NBA Finals.
With Wade and James on the floor, Chalmers is rarely the primary ball handler, but he has proven he can score the ball when given the opportunity. The better Chalmers gets, the more lanes will open up for the Big Three.
An argument could be made to move Wade to the 1 so Allen could be inserted into the starting lineup, but that wouldn't be effective—at least for the majority of the season.
The Heat would have one of the best offensive lineups ever with Allen at the 2, but they need to limit his minutes at his age. The Heat should bring Allen in off the bench so he is healthy for the games that matter later in the season. Allen will still get his minutes and will be an integral part in the Heat's closing lineup.
Starting at the 4 would be Shane Battier. Battier only started 10 games last season, but with Bosh moving to center, there is a need for the veteran in the starting lineup.
Battier has a great basketball IQ and is still above-average defensively. He also gives the Heat another three-point threat on the floor.
Battier is undersized for a power forward, however, he will give opposing forwards fits with his defensive prowess. His minute total will probably stick around the 23 minutes per game he averaged last year.
2012-13 Starting lineup
PG: Mario Chalmers
SG: Dwyane Wade
SF: LeBron James
PF: Shane Battier
C: Chris Bosh
The Heat did a lot in the offseason to get better, and it will pay off this season. Miami's bench is deeper than it has ever been during the Big Three era and players like Chalmers, Josh Harrellson and Norris Cole are progressing rapidly.
LeBron, Wade, Bosh and the supporting cast of the Miami Heat are primed for another run at the Larry O'Brien trophy.
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