5 Self-Inflicted Problems Currently Standing in the Way of a Miami Heat Repeat
OK LeBron, it might not be time to panic just yet.
It's not that the Heat are necessarily getting beat by better teams. The reality is that the Heat are holding themselves back by failing to play up to their potential.
From weak coaching to a lack of intensity on the glass, there are self-inflicted problems that are standing in the way of the Heat's chances of repeating, and I'm sure that doesn't sit well with the King.
The Miami Heat can count the amount of NBA teams that are worse than them at rebounding on a single digit.
With just 39.1 rebounds per game, the Heat are absolutely abysmal on the glass, and it's no one's fault but their own. You could blame it on their lack of size in he frontcourt, but that wouldn't be hitting the issue at its core.
The reason the Heat are so bad at rebounding is because they don't box out, and they stand around waiting for every other player to crash the boards. The Heat rebound like a high school team, and that might actually be exaggerating things.
I don't care if the Heat don't have a true center. A team with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh shouldn't be next to last in any statistical category in the NBA. Pick it up guys, you're better than this.
No True Center
The man you see in the photo here—Kenyon Martin—is the answer to all the Miami Heat's problems.
OK, that's an overstatement. But Martin does represent what the Heat need, and that is a big man in the paint who's not afraid to get down to business.
I know it's shocking that a team with LeBron James and Dwyane Wade is struggling, but it goes to show just how important having an adequate frontcourt to complement talent truly is.
The Heat honestly don't need much. It's not like they need a center, or even a strong power forward who is going to drop 10 or more points per game. They just need a guy who can lock down big men in the paint and has a knack for dominating the glass on both sides of the ball.
Without a bruiser in the paint, the Heat are going to have a tough time repeating because there are teams like the New York Knicks, Indiana Pacers, L.A. Clippers and Memphis Grizzlies with stacked frontcourts.
Don't be shocked if the Heat make a move within the next weeks for a veteran big man who can ease their defensive and rebounding woes. I hope that man is Kenyon Martin, but anyone will do. And no, bringing Dexter Pittman up from the NBA D-league doesn't count.
Inconsistent Play from Mario Chalmers
Sorry 'Rio, but someone had to call you out.
Mario Chalmers is an enigma. At times, he's an integral piece of the Heat's success, like when he's dropping 34 points on the Sacramento Kings. More often than not, though, he's holding the Heat back with single-digit performances that leave Heat fans wanting more.
Coming into the season, Heat fans thought Chalmers would have a career year while proving that he's capable of being a "stand-alone star." It's safe to say that hasn't happened, and it's certainly hurting the Heat.
As of Jan. 15, Chalmers' season averages of 7.5 points. 3.4 assists and 3.2 rebounds are all lower than his career averages.
While his lack of production isn't the sole reason for the Heat's struggles, it's certainly a major component.
In a lot of respects, the Heat might be better off running Wade at the point, Ray Allen at the shooting guard position and LeBron at the small forward spot. Because right now, Chalmers isn't worth the amount of time he's on the court.
Don't let his 34-point barrage against the Sacrament Kings fool you. He's an inconsistent player who at the current moment likes to shoot a little bit too much.
Lack of Creativity from Erik Spoelstra
Sure, Erik Spoelstra can't get out on the court and actually rebound or hit shots for the Heat.
He can, however, make adjustments to the Heat's game plan, and he's yet to do that. That's exactly why with every Heat loss, his head coaching seat gets a little hotter.
Inserting Udonis Haslem into the starting lineup doesn't qualify as getting creative. With the talent he has at his disposal, there's no way the Heat should've already lost 12 games at this point in the season.
Spoelstra is one of the least creative coaches in the NBA, and he's proving it this season. While he's messed around with the Heat's lineup a little bit, he hasn't made any significant alterations to the Heat's offensive or defensive game plans, and that's starting to prove costly.
Teams are realizing that the way to beat the Heat is to get the ball into the paint, forcing the defense to collapse, then finding shooters on the perimeter. Spoelstra hasn't made any defensive adjustments to try and stop that, and unfortunately, his lack of creativity his holding the Heat back.
You could argue that with LeBron, Wade and Bosh, the importance of a head coach is slim-to-none. But in reality, a coach's perspective from the sideline is integral to fine tuning a team's weaknesses.
Spoelstra's unwillingness to change isn't fine tuning the Heat's weaknesses. Instead, it's putting them under the magnifying glass, and if that continues to happen, the Heat's chances of repeating are about as good as me getting a shot at ever having a career in the NBA.
Not Letting LeBron James Run the Point Yet
There's no doubt that LeBron can play any position in the Heat's lineup. He could be a more dominant center than Chris Bosh, and he could run the point with more efficiency than Mario Chalmers.
The question I raise is, why Spoelstra hasn't let LeBron run the show yet in South Beach?
LeBron can run the point with the best point guards in the league. As a small forward who sporadically brings the ball up the court, he averages 6.9 assists per game. It's clear that he's capable of running the point; he just needs to do it.
If Mario Chalmers was playing consistently and putting up consistent production, this wouldn't even be up for debate. But with Chalmers playing as consistently as a teenage girl, it's time for the Heat to explore other options at the point.
I don't see any issue with putting LeBron at the point and letting the offense run through him. He's the most complete player in the NBA, and more importantly, he's one of the most intelligent.
With LeBron at the point, the Heat would be a more focused team offensively, and they would have someone at the helm who can actually lead.
Moving him to the point would only solidify LeBron's legacy as the most versatile player to step on the hardwood. But more importantly, it would give the Heat a better shot at winning, and that's really all that matters.