Miami Heat Player Power Rankings for 2012-2013 Season

David WeissCorrespondent IIIOctober 30, 2012

Miami Heat Player Power Rankings for 2012-2013 Season

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    The Miami Heat come into the new season having retooled their lineup with a smattering of fresh new faces while adopting a blueprint that could stretch their rotation as far deep as ten players.

    Why is this important? 

    Because the early stages of the season provide fans with a rare opportunity to focus on the makeup of the team's rotation and how its evolution will dictate its approach come April and May. 

    Among key factors that will play a role include:

    1. just how much Coach Spoelstra wants to preserve the health of his core.

    2. how effective Miami is playing with an unconventional lineup against some of the bigger teams in the league.

    3. whether some of the younger players seem ready to emerge into a more prominent role.

    etc...

    Having said that, here is an early look at the team's player power ranking, which is based on how important each member of the roster figures to be moving forward.  

15. Terrel Harris

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    Current stock rate: down

    Intended role on the team: Outside shooter/pesky defender who can provide insurance at the PG position for the oft-erratic Norris Cole 

    Expected role on the team: A reclamation project/garbage minutes player who is unlikely to make playoff roster.

    Summary: Harris recently beat out Garret Temple to make the team's final roster, but because Miami is already loaded with capable outside shooters, Harris' only chance of making the rotation will depend on what he can offer the team in the form of defense and ball-handling in conjunction with his young legs. 

14. Dexter Pittman

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    Current stock rate: Down

    Intended role on the team: Someone who can fill Miami's glaring void in the middle while not being an offensive liability. 

    Expected role on the team: Someone who affords Miami a warm body and six extra fouls it can use on the legit centers of the league. 

    Summary: At 6'11" and 285, Pittman came into training camp in better shape and hoping to crack the rotation for a team that could sorely use his size. Unfortunately, his progress with the team has been very limited, and my suspicion is that he wouldn't be on the roster if it weren't for his guaranteed contract.

    Nevertheless, he will find opportunities this season on those inevitable nights when Chris Bosh just won't be enough to deal with whoever is commanding the middle for the other team. 

13. James Jones

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    Current stock rate: Even

    Intended role on the team: Outside shooter/pesky defender

    Expected role on the team: Insurance for Mike Miller. 

     

    Summary: Jones is an excellent outside shooter who provides little else for a team that simply has better outside shooters already on its roster. Which is why, like Pittman, it is highly doubtful that Jones would still be on the team if it weren't for his guaranteed contract. 

    Nevertheless, Jones provides insurance for a team whose outside shooters have lingering health issues, particularly Mike Miller. So, while it is not expected that Jones will make the rotation, his number will be called on every so often as Miami's lone impact player on the injured reserve list. 

12. Josh Harrellson

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    Current stock rate: Even

    Intended role on the team: Big Man who can space the floor and provide timely rebounding.

    Expected role on the team: Token White Guy

    Summary: You could say Harrellson is a question mark, but somehow, I doubt that Miami has high hopes for this journeyman. At best, he provides Miami with size, shooting and rebounding against some of its bigger opponents, and at worst, he is a hybrid of the best qualities that Dexter Pittman and James Jones offer: outside shooting and six fouls. 

11. Joel Anthony

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    Current stock rate: Down

    Intended role on the team: a defensive force in the middle who isn't also a complete offensive liability. 

    Expected role on the team: a defensive force in the middle who forces Miami to play 4 on 5 at the other end of the floor. 

    Summary: No player has seen their role diminish on this team as much as Joel. A starter for most of last year, Miami's decision to move to a lineup that plays to the strengths of its core had Joel MIA for most of last season's playoffs. And depending on how committed Erik Spoelstra is to the new positionless lineup, we may see Josh Harrelson on the court more frequently than we do Joel. 

10. Udonis Haslem

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    Current stock rate: Even

    Intended role on the team: Locker room leader/hustle player/team's resident tough guy/ knock down open 15-footer

    Expected role on the team: Read above

    Summary: Udonis Haslem is the Heat's workhorse, but health and his ability to knock down the open 15-footer has become more of an issue in the past two years. Udonis will still be a major contributor to the team's rotation, but the Heat may want to monitor his minutes over the course of the season to ensure his availability in the playoffs. 

9. Rashard Lewis

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    Current stock rate: Up

    Intended role on the team: Knockdown shooter with size and versatility to play both forward spots. 

    Expected role on the team: Unknown

    Summary: Rashard Lewis is the biggest question mark in the Heat's lineup. He could see his ranking go from two spots down to the seventh-most important player on the team depending on how healthy he is. He will start the season on the bench, but if he can get in good shape and still has the same deadly stroke he used to, don't be surprised if he ultimately replaces Shane Battier in the starting lineup. 

8. Mike Miller

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    Current stock rate: Up

    Intended role on the team: Outside shooter/ hustle player

    Expected role on the team: Read above

    Summary: Just when we were all ready to stick a fork in Mike Miller after two seasons filled with lingering injuries, he steps up in the closeout game of the NBA Finals and was the second-most valuable player on Miami behind LeBron James. Everything with Miller depends on his health, which is always a fluid concept with the reckless forward.

    But if he manages to stay off the injured reserve, Miami will have two marksmen (the other is Allen) to surround with Wade, LeBron and Bosh—something that will prove to be a certifiable nightmare for most teams.  

7. Norris Cole

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    Current stock rate: Up

    Intended role on the team: Backup PG/ball-handler/outside shooter/energy guy/someone who allows Miami's offense to be more up-tempo

    Expected role on the team: Read above.

    Summary: Best-case scenario with Cole is that he turns out to be a rich man's Eddie House. Worst-case scenario is that he is the second coming of House. Either way, he always managers to contribute when he is on the court, and if you hadn't noticed, he also has an odd way of bringing the best out of Mario Chalmers. Job insecurity, maybe?

    Whatever the case may be, expect Cole to be the Heat's second guard off the bench after Ray Allen. 

6. Ray Allen

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    Current stock rate: Off the charts. 

    Intended role on the team: Sixth Man of the Year candidate/deadeye shooter/LeBron James and Dwyane Wade's new BFF on the court.

    Expected role on the team: Sixth Man of the Year candidate/best shooter on the team

    Summary: Ray Allen could have a career year, as the league's best shooter is going to see more open three-point shoots than he ever has in his career. Meanwhile, now that James Harden is on the Rockets, Allen will have a lot of early momentum in the Sixth Man of the Year race. That is, assuming he doesn't ultimately replace Mario Chalmers in the starting lineup. Stay tuned on that front. 

5. Shane Battier

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    Current stock rate: Up

    Intended role on the team: Someone who does a little bit of everything on the court. 

    Expected role on the team: Miami's version of Serge Ibaka with less athleticism, but much more veteran savvy.

    Summary: Erik Spoelstra loves Battier, and regardless of whether Miami plays a conventional or unconventional lineup, Battier is probably not leaving the starting lineup anytime soon. The only question at this point is whether he will play more minutes at SF or PF, but that really has more to do with LeBron James than anything else. Pat Riley is still patting himself on the back for this free-agent pickup from last year. 

4. Mario Chalmers

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    Current stock rate: Steady

    Intended role on the team: Floor leader/clutch shooter/LeBron James whipping boy.

    Expected role on the team: Clutch shooter and LeBron's whipping boy

    Summary: Chalmers is probably the most frustrating player in the Heat's starting lineup because his game often vacillates from being a dependable scoring option and solid floor general to the team's resident space cadet whose bravado has a tendency of overshadowing his judgment.

    But while maturity has been an ongoing issue with Chalmers, he has proven time and again that he can step up in big moments of a game. For that reason, he will continue to remain in the starting lineup. Now, as far as remaining on the court in crunch time, that door seemingly has closed with the arrival of Ray Allen. 

3. Chris Bosh

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    Current stock rate: Higher than ever before.

    Intended role on the team: Most talented big man in the lineup

    Expected role on the team: Miami's best answer at Center. 

    Summary: No player will benefit more than Bosh from Miami switching to a position-less lineup. Yes, he will normally have to guard guys that are taller and outweigh him by 30-50 pounds, but he is finally being put in a position to succeed with the team. In fact, don't be surprised if this new role earns him a starting spot in the All-Star lineup this year.

2. Dwyane Wade

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    Current stock rate: Even

    Intended role on the team: Robin to LeBron's Batman

    Expected role on the team: Being 80 percent of the player we were all used to seeing before injuries slowed him all of last season. 

    Summary: In a lot of subtle ways, the Heat are still Dwyane Wade's team even though LeBron is now undoubtedly in the driver's seat. But how well he can continue to defer to LeBron and stay healthy in the process will ultimately determine whether Miami can repeat or not.

    Wade is no longer a top-five player in the league anymore. This we know. But it still remains to be seen whether he is still in the top eight. And now that he is injury-free, we are about to get our answer. 

1. LeBron James

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    Current stock rate: Watch the Throne

    Intended role on the team: MVP

    Expected role on the team: MVP

    Summary: LeBron is not only the most important player on the Heat, but this is now his league. He won that title as well after the way he dominated last season. If he can continue to flourish, no team will be able to beat Miami, not even the new-look Lakers.

    So, is the best NBA player since Michael Jordan ready to stake his claim in NBA lore? And is he ready to go through the best NBA player of the last generation on a superstar team in order to do it? 

    I'm excited to find out.