While the Bucks' chances of taking out LeBron and company in the first round are slim-to-none, it all depends on how Erik Spoelstra manages the minutes and rotation of the players on his roster.
Will Spoelstra go with Ray Allen, Chris Andersen and Mike Miller as his first options off the bench, or will he form another second-unit rotation for the playoffs?
There's no doubt that Spoelstra knows what he's doing, but let's take a sneak peek at what the Heat's playoff rotation is going to look like.
Minutes Projection: 28-33 minutes per game
Role/Expectations: Opportunistic perimeter shooter
Love him or hate him, Mario Chalmers will be the starting point guard for the Heat throughout the playoffs.
Sure, you could argue that the Heat would be better off with LeBron or Wade running the show at the point. But having an opportunistic shooter and cutter around the perimeter is a major advantage for the Heat.
Chalmers' minutes will certainly rely on the Heat's needs. For example, whether they need to go with a smaller or bigger lineup, and that will change each and every game.
The Heat need Chalmers to react to the play of guys like LeBron and Wade, instead of being proactive in his own right. If he does that, the Heat will have a great shot at repeating as NBA champs.
Projected Playoff Per-Game Stats: 9.5 PPG, 4.1 APG, 2.2 RPG
Minutes Projection: 36-40 minutes per game
Role/Expectations: Second option behind LeBron James
The Heat haven't exactly struggled with Wade on the sideline this season. That doesn't mean that's where he needs to be though.
With Wade on the floor, he is the NBA's best second option. Not only does Wade help spread the floor for LeBron's legendary driving abilities, but he's also a legitimate threat every second he's on the floor.
If Spoelstra knows what he's doing—which it seems like he does—he'll utilize Wade and LeBron in different ways by having them on the floor at different times until later in the game.
With Wade on the floor, LeBron can safely rest, and Wade can do the same with LeBron on the floor.
When they both are playing, Wade, as he always is, needs to be opportunistic and play to what the defense gives him. Doing that will help him drop about 18-25 points per game, and it will also help the Heat dominate.
Projected Playoff Per-Game Stats: 23.5 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 4.8 APG, 1.8 STLPG
Minutes Projection: 41-44 minutes per game
Role/Expectations: Control the game
LeBron James is the Heat's main man. Say what you will about Miami being "Wade's team," but there's no doubting that LeBron is the guy who runs the show.
Not only is he near impossible to stop in transition and off the dribble, but he's also been showing off his range as of late, which is terrible news for the Heat's playoff opponents.
The Heat need LeBron to simply control the game. He needs to dictate the pace, and he also needs to control the flow of the Heat offense.
When he does that, the Heat are practically unstoppable, because no one in the NBA sees the floor like he does. LeBron keeps his teammates actively involved while dominating on both sides of the ball, and that's what the Heat need him to do on a consistent basis.
Don't be shocked if the Heat get down in a series or two and LeBron pulls a Kobe by playing an entire 48 minutes, because he's more than capable of doing that.
Projected Playoff Per-Game Stats: 29.5 PPG, 8.2 RPG, 6.8 APG, 1.4 STLPG
Minutes Projection: 16-22 minutes per game
Role/Expectations: Opportunistic rebounder
If I were the head coach of the Miami Heat, I would bring Shane Battier into the starting lineup and sit Udonis Haslem. But I'm not, and I don't see Spoelstra doing what I just outlined.
With that being said, the Heat need Haslem to be a bit more than the below-average player he's been for the majority of the season.
The Heat need Haslem to dominate the boards and defend in the interior. They don't need him shooting jumpers, unless he's wide open. And they don't need him to be aggressive on offense by any stretch of the imagination.
Opportunistic is the name of the game for Haslem. He needs to get his opportunities by out-hustling everyone on the floor and being physical in the paint. If he does that, he can earn more playoff minutes.
If he doesn't do that, he'll be finding more time on the pine than on the hardwood.
Projected Playoff Per-Game Stats: 3.8 PPG, 6.5 RPG
Minutes Projection: 36-40 minutes per game
Role/Expectations: Let the game come to him from LeBron and Wade
Chris Bosh is at his best when he's letting LeBron and Wade bring the game to him.
He's at his best when he's finding open space and knocking down perimeter shots. It's not that Bosh can't play in isolation; it's just that doing that isn't his strongest point, and for the Heat to be successful in the playoffs, they need Bosh to play at his best.
The Heat also need Bosh to be a presence in the paint and on the glass. He needs to rebound like his life depends on it, because teams will be much more aggressive on the boards in the playoffs.
Aside from being a major offensive option, Bosh needs to ensure that the Heat's opponents don't get too many second-chance points. That means deciding that the interior is his and that no one is going to take it from him.
If Bosh has a tough time controlling the glass, I wouldn't be surprised if Spoelstra makes some adjustments and plays him and Chris Andersen together more, because rebounding will be important once the playoffs roll around.
Projected Playoff Per-Game Stats: 19.5 PPG, 7.8 RPG, 2.2 APG, 1.1 BLKPG
Minutes Projection: 28-34 minutes per game
Role/Expectations: Perimeter defender, three-point threat and intellectual leader
Shane Battier is the emotional glue of the Miami Heat. Sorry, Udonis Haslem, your time in that role has come and gone.
Battier not only understands the game on a near-perfect level, but he also transitions that into success on the floor by taking charges, forcing turnovers and being a thorn in his opponent's side.
That is exactly the kind of player the Heat need Battier to be, and I'm pretty sure that's what he will bring to the floor.
All Battier needs to do is hustle, play defense and knock down three-pointers. The good news is that he's been doing that all season, and he doesn't show any signs of stopping.
Projected Playoff Per-Game Stats: 9.5 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 1.5 APG, 1.0 STLPG
Minutes Projection: 25-30 minutes per game
Role/Expectations: Three-point specialist and cutter
We all know that Ray Allen is the NBA's best three-point shooter. So let's just get that out of the way in terms of what he'll do for the Heat in the playoffs.
The more important part of Allen's game, and what the Heat truly need him to focus on, is cutting into lanes on the offensive side of the ball.
Watching Allen come off screens and cut to the basket on backdoor cuts is truly a work of art, and that's what he'll be doing against teams in the playoffs.
Defensively speaking, Allen doesn't need to do much.
His true impact on the game will be on offense as he knocks down huge three-pointers and finds his way into the lane for easy buckets.
I'd even go out on a limb and say that Allen's ability to get easy buckets in the lane will be more integral to the Heat's success than his three-point stroke. When he does that, it forces defense to key on him off the perimeter, and that's a real difference-maker.
Projected Playoff Per-Game Stats: 10.5 PPG, 2.3 APG, 1.1 STLPG
Minutes Projection: 17-21 minutes per game
Role/Expectations: Energy off the bench and presence in the paint
Chris Andersen is truly a difference-maker for the Heat. He rebounds the ball, blocks shots and is a constant source of energy off the bench.
That's exactly what the Heat need him to be. He is truly the inside presence the Heat have needed all season long.
Andersen's job in the playoffs will be as a defensive force in the paint and a second-chance scorer on offense. He will get his offensive production from alley-oop dunks and putback slams, and that's all the Heat need from him.
While it's a stretch to say that he is the most important bench player for the Heat, it's certainly not that far from the truth.
He brings something to the floor that guys like Battier and Allen can't, and that's dominance in the paint.
Projected Playoff Per-Game Stats: 5.2 PPG, 7.8 RPG, 1.8 BLKPG
Minutes Projection: 12-15 minutes per game
Role/Expectations: Last option when perimeter players get in foul trouble, and a true point guard
I see Norris Cole's minutes decreasing, mainly because that is something that has to happen when guys like LeBron, Wade and even Chalmers are on the floor more.
It's not that Cole hasn't been good in his time on the court. He just hasn't been anything special, especially when you consider the talent ahead of him, like Allen and Battier.
When Cole does get into the game, the Heat need him to be a true point guard, which means facilitating offense to his teammates and being a force on the defensive side of the ball.
The Heat don't need Cole creating offense for himself, because he's not at that point in his young career. They need him to let the game come to him and, more importantly, find his teammates in the offensive flow.
Projected Playoff Per-Game Stats: 3.8 PPG, 1.8 APG, 0.5 STLPG
Minutes Projection: 9-13 minutes per game
Role/Expectations: Three-point specialist
As the playoffs roll around, certain players' minutes will decrease. And that's exactly where Mike Miller lies.
He's shown that he can be a solid contributor the past few games, as he's led the Heat to a few wins with LeBron, Wade and Bosh on the bench. But in all honesty, when the competition level rises, Miller will fall back into the "three-point specialist" role.
He will get minutes here and there in the playoffs, mainly to give either Wade or LeBron a quick rest, but he won't get significant time, unless players get into foul trouble.
Projected Playoff Per-Game Stats: 3.9 PPG, 1.7 RPG