Miami Heat Need to Address Defensive Shortcomings as Season Progresses

David WeissCorrespondent IIINovember 16, 2012

DENVER, CO - NOVEMBER 15:  Danilo Gallinari #8 of the Denver Nuggets controls the ball against the defense of Chris Bosh #1 and Mike Miller #13 of the Miami Heat at the Pepsi Center on November 15, 2012 in Denver, Colorado. The Heat defeated the Nuggets 98-93. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Coming off a pair of victories against the revitalized Houston Rockets and pesky Denver Nuggets, the Miami Heat continue to succeed against the second- and third-tier competition of the league while struggling against the first. 

Of the Heat's three losses, all were against teams with a winning percentage at or better than .750. Comparatively, only the Boston Celtics and Brooklyn Nets are among the seven teams with a better-than-.500 record that Miami has beaten—and, still, some would argue their success is skewed because of favorable early schedules. 

Such is the reality for a Heat team whose disjointed success matches the double-edged sword of its cause—ranking first in offense and last in team defense

And we all know what side of that coin usually wins championships. 

Last year, the Heat's offense and defense combined to rank first in the NBA playoffs. 

Two seasons ago, the Heat ranked second among teams in that same category in the playoffs. 

Who ranked first that year? You guessed it—the eventual champion Dallas Mavericks.

Want to know some more troubling statistics? 

In the past two seasons, the Heat ranked fourth and sixth, respectively, in the category of team defense during the regular season. And if you don't think early season statistics are a strong precursor to success, consider that Miami finished sixth in team defense in the month of November back during the 2010-2011 regular season—the same ranking it ultimately finished off with that year.

So, the question then becomes: What can Miami do to improve its team defense? 

Well, since the Heat ranks 29th in rebounding and the league is slowly beginning to become exposed to the underbelly of "small ball," maybe Miami should add a big man to its roster?

Then again, the one common denominator we continue to hear as a theme in the Heat's losses have been their opponents' success from behind the three-point line—a byproduct of dribble penetration by opposing point guards. 

Thus, maybe Miami should add a defensive PG? 

As I weighed both options, I ultimately decided to get an insider's point of view on the matter. 

According to Heat beat writer Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel, Miami should add a defensive point guard. He also implied on Twitter that the spot could be filled by discarding the rarely-used Terrel Harris

In any case, here is a list of point guards currently available on the free-agent market. (via

In addition, here is a list of power forwards and centers that are available. 

Because the Heat's defensive woes have become the juiciest topic of conversation in a rapidly dissolving South Florida sports scene, I'm interested in hearing what the majority opinion is on this. 

Is it an issue that would best be resolved externally by adding a player, internally by re-installing guys like Joel Anthony into the rotation or simply improving its defensive schema? 

What do you think? 

Leave your comments below, and let your voice be heard.