Miami Heat Should Bench Mario Chalmers in Favor of Ray Allen

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Miami Heat Should Bench Mario Chalmers in Favor of Ray Allen
David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Because the Miami Heat are on a four-game winning streak and starting to resemble the team that won the championship last season—especially on the defensive end—even the most ardent critic would balk at making changes. 

The weakest link? A regressing Mario Chalmers, who has been noticeably subpar while newcomer Ray Allen has thrived

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Nevertheless, if I were to suggest that Allen should start in place of Chalmers, the easiest counter is that who finishes games matters more than who begins them. 

To a larger degree, meanwhile, any championship contender will treat the NBA season like a marathon instead of a sprint—especially with older veterans like Allen in the mix. 

With that said, I've never been more convinced that Miami would be better off making the switch.

Here are three reasons why. 

 

Ultimately, It Comes Down to Minutes

 As long as Ray Allen stays within the 25 minutes a game that he normally averages, it won't matter if he starts games. 

Offensively, Allen allows Miami to feature its best mix of the pace-and-space philosophy from the opening tip, theoretically enabling them to jump into big leads early in contests. 

Now, you may have guessed that, defensively, the team would struggle with this lineup adjustment

However, according to 82games.com, in the two five-man units the Heat have used featuring Wade and Allen in the backcourt, their defensive efficiency has been better than the starting lineup it's used for most of the season (Chalmers-Wade-Battier-James-Bosh).  

Lastly, this could also invite more minutes for Norris Cole, who has been a spark plug for Miami off the bench and is averaging nearly as many points as Chalmers in less PT. 

 

It's Still Early in the Season

Look, we all know the regular season is just one long grind Miami has to go through before it gets to the point in the season that really matters: the playoffs. 

But beyond developing the right rhythm and working out all the kinks en route to late April, teams typically use the early leg of its 82-game schedule to experiment with its lineup. 

Here's why you should be appreciating this point. 

Miami waited until the freaking NBA Finals last year before figuring out that a small-ball lineup could take them to another level. 

In fact, we saw the same thing take place in the 2011 NBA Finals when reserve Mike Bibby was starting in games. 

Now, are we going to see a third installment of "Guess our starting lineup" again this year? 

Before you say no, consider that Joel Anthony is back in the rotation after taking a quiet sabbatical since the last time we saw him. 

Don't forget, Heat fans: Before Miami won the championship last year, they were still one game away from being eliminated in the playoffs during the Eastern Conference Finals.

Maybe if the team knew what it had earlier on, they could avoid such a turbulent course again this year. 

 

Chalmers' Big Ego Could Use a Jolt

Being a starter in the NBA is really, at the end of the day, more about bragging rights than anything else. 

And if you have a big ego, bragging rights is kind of a big deal. 

Oh yeah, and we know Mario Chalmers has a big ego. Did you know that, according to a poll he conducted among an audience consisting of himself, the survey said he was among "the front end of the 10 best point guards in the NBA"?

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
You know what else? I think he's taking the idea of being a starting PG on a championship team for granted.

Look at things from his point of view.

Behind him on the depth chart is a point guard that's too wet behind the ears to start and a shooting guard who's too rusty...everywhere else

So, he could basically stink up the joint—which he sort of has—and still be a starter.

Not the greatest kind of reinforcement, if you ask me.

For that reason alone, the best thing we could do for Chalmers and the team moving forward is make him earn back his position. 

We've seen a glimpse already of the kind of magic this effect has had on him in the past. . 

Remember how he stunk in last year's NBA Finals and, after watching his young understudy badly outplay him on the court, suddenly started playing his best basketball of the series? 

Should the Heat bench Chalmers in favor of Ray Allen?

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Ultimately, it took a wake-up call.

And whether you agree that this lineup adjustment should take place or not, it's hard to argue, based on Chalmers' play, that another one hasn't become warranted. 

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