Projecting Miami Heat's 2013 Free Agency Big Board
Since the Miami Heat's winning streak has come to an end, it's only right to begin talking about the impending free-agency period they must use to improve on.
After all, what's a winning streak if you don't break a 40-year-old record that hasn't been close to being touched since it was set?
With that being said, the Heat will have several thoughts to ponder this summer. Because not only will they be one year closer to the possibility of each member of the "Big Three" opting out of their deals, but will also be facing the potential of losing several players to free agency.
Ray Allen, James Jones and Rashard Lewis will all be unrestricted free agents but will have player options. Mario Chalmers has a team option, which will be shocking if the Heat don't utilize, while Juwan Howard and Chris Andersen will simply be unrestricted free agents.
It's tough to say who's staying and going, but there's a high possibility Allen and Chalmers will be members of the Heat next year. Lewis could be kept on for the depth he provides. With Mike Miller facing the possibility of an amnesty clause, Jones may just end up hitching another ride for ring-chasing.
The Heat have their flaws, even though they ran off that 27-game winning streak that so many seem to be disappointed in. Those flaws are mostly prevalent when it comes to the Heat's lack of aggression on the boards.
Although the rebounding differential has Miami only at a minus-two, they're still getting consistently beat up by teams that are either active and/or bigger.
With Chris Bosh and Udonis Haslem averaging a combined 12 boards and the leading rebounder being the team's small forward (LeBron James averaging 8.2), it seems that the Heat organization may finally take a stab at a big man for once in a summer.
Miami signed Shane Battier in 2011. It signed Allen and Lewis in 2012.
With enough wing players stocked up, Miami appears to be a solid rebounder and another consistent stretch-4 away from compiling a seemingly unstoppable roster. There will be a few affordable options out in the market and quite a few of them are young and worth the investment.
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Linked to the Miami Heat over the recent trade deadline, DeJuan Blair should end up on another team come the 2013-14 season.
Increased minutes for Kawhi Leonard and Tiago Splitter have relegated Blair to the end of the rotation. After consecutive seasons of at least 20 minutes per, Blair is averaging a career-low 12.9 minutes per game and posting up only five points and 3.6 rebounds per.
Blair's offensive rebounding numbers are worth the look from Miami. Blair led the league in offensive rebounding percentage in his second season, and is averaging 2.2 offensive caroms per over his first four years in the league.
Those numbers are weighed down by this year's decline. Blair had averaged at least 2.4 offensive boards per in his first three seasons.
The undersized 6'7" forward had averaged as much as seven rebounds per, but the development of Leonard and Splitter have gone so well that Blair simply doesn't fit into the San Antonio Spurs' equation anymore.
Blair's offensive repertoire is primarily made up of either cuts or on spot-up opportunities. While he ranks only 197th and is scoring 0.93 points per possession on cuts, Blair ranks 25th in the NBA as a pick-and-roll man garnering 1.17 points per possession, according to SynergySports.
He's also giving up only 0.86 points per possession, per SynergySports, which has him ranked 172nd.
The only reasoning behind a hitch in Miami pursuing Blair would be his lack of efficiency as a stretch-4. According to basketball-reference.com, Blair was shooting a paltry 37 percent on his jumpers this year.
Given a larger sample size in the 2011-12 season, Blair was converting only 38 percent of his jumpers and made only one of his nine field-goal attempts in the range from 16 feet to the perimeter.
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Like Udonis Haslem, Jason Smith is an extremely gritty player that isn't afraid to lay out the hits and step up for his teammates. He is a serviceable forward/center that will battle down low, while also popping out on offense to convert jumpers on a consistent basis.
Going off his 2011-12 stats, because he's been out since the end of February, Smith shot 47 percent from 16 feet to the perimeter and 41 percent of his jumpers from 10 feet to 16. Before bowing out this season, Smith was shooting a tad under 50 percent in the 16-25 feet range and 42 percent in the 10-16 feet range, according to basketball-reference.com
While Smith has struggled as a spot-up shooter, only garnering 0.77 points per possession and ranking 282nd according to SynergySports, he has thrived as a pick-and-roll man. When he's featured in the pick-and-roll, Smith is averaging 1.05 points per possession and ranks 41st, per SynergySports
However, his defense has been a huge knock on his game and it may end up deterring the Heat from taking another look at their former first-round pick.
Smith's shooting percentages are comforting and his ability to run the pick-and-roll are soothing, but giving up 0.93 points per possession overall, ranking him 327th in the league, is distressing to say the least.
He ranks 351st when defending spot-ups. Considering there are only 450 players in the league, stating Jason Smith as a horrific defender would be an understatement.
Even then, according to SynergySports, Smith is still a better defender than Haslem, who ranks 408th in the league giving up one point per possession overall.
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Because why not?
Samuel Dalembert is probably going to end up out of the Miami Heat's price range, but, hey, maybe he's learned to stop chasing money and start chasing rings.
The Heat coveted Dalembert when he was a free agent in 2011, but were scorned once the Haitian-born center signed a deal with the Houston Rockets that awarded him $7 million per season. Miami signed Shane Battier that same offseason and couldn't be happier with the signing.
Meanwhile, Dalembert lasted a single season in Houston before being shipped out to the Milwaukee Bucks. He has had his moments with the Bucks, including a 35-point performance against Denver where he shot 17-for-21, but has seen sporadic minutes throughout the season because of the emergence of Larry Sanders, John Henson and Ersan Ilyasova.
In 45 games this season, 23 that he started, Dalembert is averaging 6.9 points, six boards and 1.2 blocks per. He's also a few percentage points shy of shooting a career-high field-goal percentage, currently at .545 percent.
At 6'11", hands that can catch-and-finish alley-oops, and a pick-and-roll game that garners him 1.02 points per possession, according to SynergySports, Dalembert would seemingly be the perfect fit for the Heat.
Miami's rebounds are overstated, but they are constantly finding themselves at the opposite end of ridiculous margins, including being outrebounded by 30 against a big Minnesota Timberwolves team.
Rebounds may not correlate with Heat losses nearly as much as their defense does, but there is no reason to be put at a disadvantage right out of the gate, and throughout the game, because nobody can consistently rebound.
Dalembert is averaging 8.1 rebounds and 2.6 offensive rebounds per over his 11-year NBA career. He turns 32-years-old in May.
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It had been an underwhelming start to his career, but Marreese Speights may have found himself a home with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Well, that is unless the Heat are going to actively pursue the the 6'10" forward/center.
Since being traded from the Memphis Grizzlies to Cleveland, Speights is averaging a career-high 11 points per game on 45 percent shooting in 27 games. He is grabbing only 5.5 boards per, but is garnering 1.9 of those caroms on the offensive glass.
Speights has averaged at least one offensive rebound per since joining the league in 2008 as a first-round pick of the Philadelphia 76ers. He has only garnered at least 20 minutes per of playing time once in a season, coming in 2009 when he averaged 8.8 points and a career-high 6.2 boards per.
Although his rebounding totals leave little to be desired, his activity on the offensive boards would be a needed change of pace for the Heat. Miami ranks 28th in the league in offensive boards per, partly because of its league-best field-goal percentage, but also because there isn't anyone who can create a presence under the rim.
Chris Bosh is the Heat's current leader in offensive rebounds per at 1.9, but that's only two per 36 minutes. Speights is garnering 3.4 offensive boards per 36 in his short time with Cleveland.
While he doesn't score around the rim as much as a team would like from their 6'10" forward/center (shooting only 54 percent around the rim), he is shooting a solid 46 percent in the range from 16 feet out to the perimeter, according to basketball-reference.com.
On spot-up opportunities, the shots which Chris Bosh thrives on, Speights is averaging 1.02 points per possession, according to SynergySports, which ranks him 122nd in the league.
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Adding Brandan Wright to the Miami Heat starting lineup would be a sight to behold.
Watching Chris Andersen assimilate with LeBron James or Dwyane Wade has added an entirely new dimension to what was thought to be an already dynamic offense. With Andersen, the Heat now have an athletic big that can be looked at over the top of defenses.
Wright, a lanky power forward/center, has all the makings of a younger "Birdman". At 25-years-old and in his second season with the Dallas Mavericks, Wright is averaging career numbers across the board thanks to the early absence of Dirk Nowitzki opening up the frontcourt for the seldom-used Wright.
In a career-high 53 games, 15 of which he started, Wright is averaging eight points on 61 percent shooting, 3.8 rebounds and one block per game.
He recently had a season-high 23 points on 11-of-16 shooting against the Boston Celtics.
His numbers as a jump shooter are impressive, too. Although he's known mostly as a recipient of alley-oops, Wright can also stretch the floor and has shot 54 percent on jumpers this season, according to basketball-reference.com.
Also per basketball-reference, Wright has converted 47 percent of his 47 jumpers from 10-16 feet out and has also hit 60 percent of his 20 jumpers from 16 feet to the perimeter.
According to MySynergySports.com, Wright is averaging 1.25 points per possession as the pick-and-roll man and garnering 1.44 points per possession off cuts. He ranks 16th and ninth in the league at those aspects respectively.