Miami Heat: Should Mario Chalmers Be Benched in Favor of Ray Allen?
In a post-James Harden era, in which teams may be forced to reevaluate whom they have on their bench, there is a case to be made for why Ray Allen should start for the Miami Heat in place of Mario Chalmers.
For starters, Allen has been the Miami Heat's best three-point shooter through its first four games, averaging a career-high .600 from beyond the arc.
And as Heat coach Erik Spoelstra recently noted, the team is basing its offense on the idea of pacing the tempo and spacing the floor—with shooting being the most logical complement to the open-court strengths of LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.
Speaking of James—haven't we heard analysts gush for years now about how his court vision and passing ability has regularly managed to stand out among his all-around game?
How this quality, more than any other, has led to the ongoing comparison of his game to that of the great Magic Johnson—if not by similarity of ability than by inherent preference of attack.
Wasn't it what Olympic coach Mike Krzyzewski pinpointed as the biggest improvement in James' game as the American men's basketball team was preparing to win the gold this past summer and what led to Ray Allen's four-point token of appreciation to South Florida at the detriment of the Denver Nuggets a few nights ago?
So, with all due respect to Mario Chalmers and the two 11-assist nights he has posted through the Heat's first four games, an argument could be made that the best thing Chalmers brings to the table—leading the team with 7.0 APG—comes at the expense of the best thing that the team's best player offers.
Now, I can already foresee what the counterarguments to this starting-lineup adjustment would be.
I imagine they all fall under a theme best surmised by the motto "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."
In fact, this point could even be argued in a literal sense, given the injury-riddled history which accompanied Allen to Miami over the summer and how a promotion this early into the season could not only be construed as premature but a gamble as well.
After all, the regular season is a marathon, not a sprint, and, as Miami proved last year, its not about how you start but who you start to finish.
Fair enough—these are points I won't be foolish enough to argue.
But if Miami is, in fact, intent on gearing itself for a greater goal, i.e. the playoffs, then why are the Heat implementing the same offensive philosophy and roster configuration that served them so well late into last season?
Isn't the task of having Chris Bosh and LeBron James guard players that are typically larger in stature than they are "taxing," as LeBron chose to characterize it last season, and predisposing them to injury?
Because, to me, such an approach suggests that the team does indeed place its best foot forward.
And, that being the case, maybe it's time for a changing of the guard.
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