Grading Every Miami Heat Players' 1st-Round Performance

Sam Richmond@srichmond93Correspondent IMay 2, 2013

Grading Every Miami Heat Players' 1st-Round Performance

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    The Miami Heat dominated the Milwaukee Bucks on their way to a sweep in the first round of the 2013 NBA playoffs

    As Miami now waits to see who they will play next in the second round (either the Chicago Bulls or Brooklyn Nets), let's evaluate how every Heat player performed in that opening-round series.

    For the purposes of this piece, we will grade players relative to their expected performance. For example, if Norris Cole were to receive a better grade then Chris Bosh, it doesn't mean that he was a better player than the big man was in the series, only that Cole exceeded expectations more so than Bosh did.

Non-Rotation Players

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    James Jones (Grade: D+)

    James Jones saw just four minutes of action against the Milwaukee Bucks. In that little bit of playing time, Jones didn't take a shot or record either a rebound or an assist.

    In fact, the only dent he made on the stat sheet was one personal foul in Game 2. In the first two years of the "Big Three Era," Jones was a role player. Now, with the Miami Heat having so many other shooters, he's nothing but a garbage-time player.


    Joel Anthony (Grade: C-)

    Joel Anthony didn't see the court much more often than Jones, as he played just six minutes in the first-round. He hit one garbage-time jumper in Game 2 and grabbed two rebounds throughout the series. He receives a slightly higher grade than Jones here, only because it's impressive anytime Anthony converts a basket outside of the paint. 


    Rashard Lewis  (Grade: D)

    Considering the Heat can't count on him for defensive help or rebounding help, Rashard Lewis' only job is to knock down open three-pointers. So when he can't do that, his value to the team is very little. Lewis was 2-of-6 from the field in the series and missed all three of his shots from beyond the arc. 

Chris "Birdman" Andersen

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    Grade: A

    Chris "Birdman" Andersen was terrific in the first round. He only played 14.8 minutes per game, the lowest average for a Heat rotation player, but he made his presence felt in that time.

    He knocked down an absurdly efficient 13-of-16 shots from the field, giving him 33 points for the series. Amazingly enough, Andersen was the Miami Heat's third-best, per-minute scorer against the Milwaukee Bucks.

    But his biggest area of impact, as it usually is, was on the glass. Andersen grabbed 12.8 rebounds per 36 minutes (21 total), which was tops on the Heat.

    Andersen's work—specifically on the offensive glass—was especially helpful. He grabbed 10 offensive rebounds, which led the team. And again, he's putting up those numbers in significantly fewer minutes than other Heat players.

    Birdman was a key reason the Heat were able sweep the Bucks so handily. 

Udonis Haslem

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    Grade: B

    Udonis Haslem's play didn't garner much media attention, but he was a contributor throughout the series. 

    He averaged 7.5 points on 61.9 percent shooting. He performed best in the closeout Game 4, where he posted double-digit points and his jumper was working. 

    Haslem was his usual solid self on the glass, grabbing 4.8 boards per game. His 10.1 rebounds per 36 minutes ranked third on the team. 

    Haslem's energy and toughness is always appreciated, and those two traits were on display in this series.

Norris Cole

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    Grade: A

    The Miami Heat really couldn't have asked for more out of Norris Cole in Round 1.

    Cole has had an issue turning the ball over at times, but had just four in this series. On the other side of the ball, he had seven steals, which tied for the second-most on the team.

    Cole, who's made a name for himself as an excellent on-ball defender, was a huge asset defensively. He spent time guarding and shutting down Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis, who both averaged well below their regular-season point averages.

    He was also excellent from outside, knocking down 40 percent of his long-range attempts in the four games.

    The second-year guard did a great job of not forcing the action, letting the Heat stars run the show and playing smart basketball when called upon. 

Shane Battier

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    Grade: B-

    Shane Battier's rarely going to fill up the stat sheet anymore, but that doesn't mean he doesn't have a big impact on Miami Heat basketball.

    His job is to knock down open threes that are often created by Dwyane Wade and LeBron James and defend wing-players. 

    Battier performed one of those tasks well in Round 1.

    Battier played a key role in the Heat holding the Milwaukee Bucks to 85.3 points per game. He is one of the smartest defenders in NBA, and it seems like no matter how old he gets, he will always be a huge plus on that side of the ball.

    Battier's grade falls here because he wasn't efficient from long range. He hit just 4-of-22 three-point attempts. That's likely not to be an issue going forward, though, as he was the Heat's best outside shooter at 43.0 percent for the season.  

Mario Chalmers

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    Grade: B-

    Mario Chalmers wasn't a big offensive factor in the sweep, as he averaged just 6.5 points. 

    Like Shane Battier, after having a great regular season from beyond the arc, Chalmers didn't have success at the three-point line in this series.

    He averaged nearly half the three-point attempts per game he had in the regular season (40.9 percent on 3.9 attempts) and converted just 25.0 percent of them.

    To Chalmers' credit, he did have a couple of solid distributing performances to end the series, posting a combined 14 assists in the last two games. 

    Still, the majority of Chalmers' value in this series comes on the defensive end. Chalmers brought energy on defense all series long, and that yielded results. Like Cole, he deserves plenty of credit for the poor offensive play from Ellis and Jennings. 

Ray Allen

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    Grade: A

    The NBA's most prolific three-point shooter sure played like it in his first postseason series as a member of the Miami Heat.

    After hitting just 2-of-8 threes in Game 1, Allen went on a tear from the outside, hitting 11-of-20 shots beyond the arc in the final three games.

    Allen was also great from the line, as he usually is, making every one of his free-throw attempts in the series.

    Thanks to his three-point and free-throw shooting prowess, Allen finished the series with more points per game than Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and every Heat player other than LeBron James.

    He also finished with averages of 4.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists, which are both better averages than his regular-season numbers in those categories. 

    Allen showed just how much more dangerous of a postseason team the Heat are with him now on board.

Chris Bosh

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    Chris Bosh had an efficient, albeit quietly efficient, Round 1.

    He averaged just 12.8 points. Still, he shot 53.8 percent from the field on 9.8 attempts per game and knocked three of his seven shots beyond the arc. 

    Bosh's jump shot was working plenty well, which was certainly a floor-spacing asset.

    It would be helpful for the Miami Heat if Bosh could grab double-digit rebounds more often, but he did it once in Game 3 with 14 boards and finished the series with a solid average of eight per game. 

    Bosh also held his own defensively and even blocked four shots in Game 4, giving him seven for the series. 

    Bosh wasn't dominant, but he was certainly a factor in Miami's series win. 

Dwyane Wade

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    Grade: B

    Never in Dwyane Wade's career had he averaged less than 15 points per game in a playoff series before the Miami Heat's sweep.

    Wade scored just 13.7 points per contest on an ugly 36.8 percent shooting. In Game 3, he scored just four points on 1-of-12 shooting from the field. 

    Still, Wade had a series to be proud of due to his production in other areas. He grabbed a very impressive 7.0 rebounds on average and was a top distributor with 6.3 assists per game. 

    Wade was also Miami's best thief, stealing the ball nine times in his three games played. He also added a block per game, which ranked second on the team.

    Yes, Wade's scoring numbers aren't very encouraging; however, his LeBron-like numbers in the game's other areas were quite impressive.

LeBron James

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    Grade: A

    The NBA's best player played like the NBA's best player in Round 1.

    LeBron James might have averaged less points per game in this series than he did in the regular season with 24.5 per game, but he was dominant scoring the ball.

    LeBron attacked the basket relentlessly, and when he got there, he finished the play. James ended the series with an absolutely ridiculous shooting percentage of 62.7.

    His complete command of basketball was on full display in this series, as he crashed the boards and distributed the ball extremely well.

    LeBron overwhelmed the Milwaukee Bucks, especially in big moments, making play after play when the Heat needed one most.

    LBJ was outstanding in the opening round, which begs the question: When is he not?