Miami Heat Player Power Rankings: Post-December Edition

Peter Emerick@@peteremerickSenior Writer IIJanuary 1, 2013

Miami Heat Player Power Rankings: Post-December Edition

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    The Miami Heat closed out 2012 with a bang, ending a two-game skid with an overtime win over their interstate rivals, the Orlando Magic.

    With that being said, the Heat are far from perfect. To say that they have lots to work on is a vast, vast understatement.

    They almost let Nikola Vucevic out-rebound their entire team with 29 individual boards on Dec. 31, and their defense looks like they're playing with four guys instead of five.

    Without the leadership, production and efficiency of LeBron James, the Heat would be a below-.500 team. That's why he's the leading MVP candidate this year, and it's why he's at the top of this power ranking of the Heat's top 12 players.

    All statistics are accurate as of Dec. 31.

12. Rashard Lewis, SF

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    2012-13 Per-Game Stats: 5.4 PPG, 1.8 RPG, 0.6 APG, 11.83 PER

    It's sad to say, but it looks like the Miami Heat are slowly but surely phasing Rashard Lewis out of their rotation.

    After a strong start to the season that saw Lewis average 13 points in the first two games, he's fallen off the face of South Beach.

    In December, Lewis played in only five of the 14 games, and he averaged two points per game on an ugly 30.8 percent shooting from the field.

    It's a shame that Lewis hasn't panned out more than he has because the Heat could sure use more production off the bench. 

11. Terrel Harris, SG

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    2012-13 Per-Game Stats: 1.4 PPG, 1.3 RPG, 0.3 APG, 7.37 PER

    There's not much to say about Terrel Harris other than that he's making the most of his 4.1 minutes per game.

    He's only seen the court in serious scrub time. But in that time, he's averaging almost one-and-a-half points per game.

    Harris unfortunately will stay near the beginning of these power rankings throughout the majority of the season because he won't have a chance to get more minutes ahead of more talented players. 

10. Joel Anthony, C

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    2012-13 Per-Game Stats: 1.5 PPG, 1.7 RPG, 0.7 BLKPG, 9.94 PER

    It shouldn't come as a surprise that Joel Anthony has been as useful to the Heat this season as a Popsicle in a blizzard.

    Anthony is averaging just 8.8 minutes per game, and in those 8.8 minutes, he's basically just running up and down the court.

    It's a shame that his offensive abilities don't include anything that takes place five feet away from the rim, because his inefficient production is what keeps him on the bench. 

9. Mike Miller, SG

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    2012-13 Per-Game Stats: 3.8 PPG, 2.2 RPG, 1.2 APG, 12.04 PER

    Mike Miller has been pretty "meh" so far this season. For a player who's averaging just 14 minutes per game, his totals aren't atrocious, but they're not all that great either.

    His 41.5 percent shooting from beyond the arc has helped the Heat, but if Ray Allen is going to continue to struggle, Miller needs to shoot the ball more.

    The main problem with Miller is that he's a major liability on defense. When he's on the court, it's like the Heat only have four-and-a-half defenders out there.

    Depth is a major issue for the Heat, and Miller isn't helping out like they need him to. 

8. Norris Cole, PG

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    2012-13 Per-Game Stats: 4.7 PPG, 2.2 APG, 1.5 RPG, 5.59 PER

    You know that Katy Perry song "Hot N Cold"? Well that's the story of Norris Cole's life right now.

    Unfortunately, Cole has been more cold than hot as of late. He's not attacking the way the Heat need him to, and he's not protecting the ball on offense.

    It's not that the Heat need that much out of Cole. The problem is that after an impressive 2012 Summer League, many thought Cole was going to really make a difference on the roster, and he's failed to do that.

    The lack of production from Cole is putting increased pressure on Mario Chalmers, and that's not a good thing because he's proving that he's not capable of handling that pressure. 

7. Udonis Haslem, PF

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    2012-13 Per-Game Stats: 4.0 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 0.2 BLKPG, 8.38 PER

    Would the real Udonis Haslem please stand up?

    So far this season, Haslem hasn't been himself. His averages are about half of his career averages, and he's not nearly the same spark that he used to be for the Heat coming off the bench.

    The Heat haven't needed a big man to step up more than they do now, and the Haslem of old isn't anywhere to be found.

    If Haslem continues to struggle to find his identity, the Heat are going to have a difficult time with teams that have legitimate frontcourts.

6. Mario Chalmers, PG

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    2012-13 Per-Game Stats: 7.3 PPG, 3.6 APG, 2.4 RPG, 11.51 PER

    Mario Chalmers' averages are right around his career numbers, but that's not going to cut it because the Heat need him to do more than he currently is.

    A lack of production from Chalmers puts pressure on LeBron and Wade to produce on the perimeter, and that, at times, can take them out of their offensive flow.

    What Chalmers has been doing well, though, is picking up the defensive pressure on opposing point guards. Creating turnovers is what Chalmers is doing best right now, and while that's great, it's not exactly what the Heat need from him.

    If Chalmers can't increase his offensive production, I wouldn't be surprised if Erik Spoelstra tries a starting lineup that doesn't have 'Rio's name in it.

    LeBron can run the point more effectively than Chalmers can; it's just a matter of time before Spoelstra realizes it. 

5. Ray Allen, SG

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    2012-13 Per-Game Stats: 11.2 PPG, 3.3 RPG, 1.8 APG, 16.25 PER

    There's no doubt that the Heat bench lives and dies by Ray Allen's production, or lack thereof.

    When Allen isn't knocking down shots on the perimeter, the Heat are a very different team—take for example their previous two losses to the Milwaukee Bucks and Detroit Pistons.

    In the Heat's loss to the Pistons, Allen accounted for nine points and shot an atrocious 23.1 percent from the field and 28.6 percent from beyond the arc. That's not going to cut it for the NBA's all-time leader in three-point shooting.

    You could chalk up his recent struggles to his nagging shoulder injury, but the truth is, the Heat can't survive in a powerful Eastern Conference without his production coming off the bench.

    Allen would be lower on this list if it wasn't for his early-season production. Let's hope he can find the efficient version of his stroke in 2013. 

4. Shane Battier, SF

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    2012-13 Per-Game Stats: 7.0 PPG, 2.5 RPG, 0.9 BLKPG, 10.29 PER

    Oddly enough, Shane Battier has been one of the most important pieces of the Heat's success, and their subsequent failure as well.

    Inconsistency has been the name of the game for Battier so far. Some nights, Battier is shooting 50 percent from beyond the arc and putting up double-digits. Other nights, Battier is shooting under 25 percent and failing to score more than one bucket.

    The Heat need Battier to be an efficient and consistent option on the perimeter. When defense are forced to stay true on him beyond the arc, it opens the paint for guys like LeBron and Wade.

    Defensively speaking though, Battier's impact has been felt, and he's made up for his defensive inconsistencies here.

    Moving on into the heart of the season, the Heat need Battier to step up his game. If he doesn't, the Heat are bound to fall in the Eastern Conference standings. 

3. Chris Bosh, PF

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    2012-13 Per-Game Stats: 17.9 PPG, 8.0 RPG, 1.3 BLKPG, 21.74 PER

    The one thing that doesn't show up on the stat sheet for Chris Bosh is how ineffective he is at keeping his opponents off the offensive glass.

    Sure, you could argue that Bosh isn't built to be a center and bang in the paint with the true big men in the league. But at 6'11'' and 235 pounds, Bosh should at least be able to keep opponents away from the boards.

    Basketball coaches around the world claim that a 5'1'' point guard should be able to out-rebound Dwight Howard because it's all about positioning and boxing out.

    Okay, I'll get off my rebounding soap box and get back to Bosh.

    Aside from his inept abilities on the glass, he's been a solid option for the Heat, and that's helped take the pressure of LeBron. If Bosh can't pick up his skills in the paint, though, the Heat are going to continue to struggle, and that's not going to fly in South Beach. 

2. Dwyane Wade, SG

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    2012-13 Per-Game Stats: 20.3 PPG, 4.5 APG, 4.3 RPG, 22.71 PER

    Ever since Charles Barkley said that Dwyane Wade was "starting to lose his athletic ability," Wade has been a different player.

    While I can't disagree with Barkley, it's clear that Wade is still the Heat's second-best option behind LeBron James.

    In December, Wade shot the ball at an impressive 55.7 percent from the field, and he averaged 22.2 points per game.

    Other than missing one game for inadvertently kicking Ramon Sessions in his grown-up bits, Wade dominated December.

    The Heat need Wade to continue to attack the basket like he did in December, because when he does, opposing defenses collapse and shots open up for teammates.

1. LeBron James, F

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    2012-13 Per-Game Stats: 25.9 PPG, 8.5 RPG, 6.9 APG, 29.90 PER

    The 2013 MVP campaign continues for the King.

    LeBron James continues to dominant anyone and everyone who steps in front of him. While that hasn't helped the Miami Heat win all of their games, there's no doubting that LeBron is the most well-balanced player in the league.

    The efficiency that is defining LeBron's game this year is astounding.

    Shooting the ball at 54.8 percent from the field and 43.3 percent from the three-point line is remarkable when you consider everything else that LeBron does on the floor.

    To argue that any other player in a Heat jersey is more valuable to the team is absolutely foolish.