Finding the Perfect Rotation for the Miami Heat

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Finding the Perfect Rotation for the Miami Heat
Issac Baldizon/Getty Images

The Miami Heat have kept their rotation pretty similar to the title-winning one they had a season ago.

The Heat amnestied Mike Miller this past offseason, which has resulted in more minutes for Rashard Lewis, and there have been some small changes here and there. But for the most part, these are the same faces playing the same minutes.

Unfortunately for Miami, that stability hasn't led to a lot of early season success. They're 5-3, and that includes losses to the Philadelphia 76ers and Boston Celtics

So, do the Heat need to switch things up a bit rotation-wise? Let's find out. We're going to go through the Heat's roster and build the perfect rotation.

 

The Superstars

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Right now, head coach Erik Spoelstra has LeBron James averaging 36.4 minutes, Dwyane Wade averaging 34.3 and Chris Bosh averaging 30.9.

While LeBron's minutes are about where they should be, Spo should consider slightly adjusting those of Wade and Bosh.

With all the knee problems Dwyane has had recently, it'd be better for Miami in the long run if he was playing fewer minutes a night. With this team being "championship or bust," the Heat's priority should be to keep Wade fresh and healthy for the playoffs.

As for Bosh, he should see a bump in court time (say, 33 minutes). That move wouldn't necessarily help Miami from a defensive or rebounding standpoint; however, his spacing ability on offense is valuable enough to justify more minutes. 

 

The Other Top Contributors

Mario Chalmers (27.8 MPG), Ray Allen (27.7 MPG), Shane Battier (22.1) and Norris Cole (22.0 MPG) all fit into the 20-30 minute range at the moment.

Given how well Chalmers has looked this year (shooting, making plays for others, better defense), a case could be made that he deserves more PT. However, Cole has been fantastic as well. There's no need to take away minutes from him and give them to 'Rio.

As for Battier, it's time to lessen his workload for a bit.

Issac Baldizon/Getty Images

His job on offense is to knock down open threes, and he simply hasn't been able to accomplish that this year (31.0%). His track record (43.0% in 2012-13) strongly suggests he'll pick things up shortly, but temporarily giving Battier around 18-20 minutes is the best move.

Some of those minutes should go to Allen. While Ray is Miami's oldest player at 38 years old, he's also a conditioning freak and can handle the extra time. He fits with what the Heat want to do on offense (hit threes created by excellent spacing) and is playing a more well-rounded game this year: He's driving to the basket and finishing more frequently as well as finding the open man often.

 

Small-Role Players

Chris Andersen (16.5 MPG), Udonis Haslem (16.0 MPG) and Lewis (14.0 MPG) have all hovered around 15 minutes a night this year.

To give Bosh more minutes, we're going to have to cut a few minutes away from someone, and that unlucky player is Andersen. This is less about Birdman and more about Bosh, although Andersen isn't playing as well he did a year ago. He's averaging 1.4 fewer blocks per 36 minutes and is having some issues turning the ball over (three per 36 minutes).

Lewis' minutes are fine at the moment; he can't really be given much more of a workload with his poor defensive ability, but his three-point shot has been a big asset on the other end (46.2%).

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Perhaps the most disappointing Heat player this season has been Haslem, who hasn't done anything well yet. Miami has scored 10.8 more points per 100 possessions and allowed 10.7 fewer points per 100 possessions when he's off the court compared to when he's on it, according to 82games.com. He's not even rebounding the ball well, either, as he is averaging just 5.6 boards per 36 minutes (a far cry from his 10.3 rebounds per 36 minutes last year).

I'd give Haslem a little more time to see if he can return to form. However, if he can't, there's a guy we're going to talk about shortly that could take some of his playing time and help Miami.

 

The Benchwarmers 

Roger Mason Jr., Michael Beasley, James Jones and Joel Anthony have made a combined nine appearances this season.

The only player in this group who's done enough at this point to warrant any more playing time (and it's the guy that could take some of UD's court time) is Beasley. He's been a revelation this year, scoring an absurd 35 points in 32 minutes on 65.2 percent shooting from the field. And he actually hasn't been a defensive liability as expected. He's giving great effort on both ends. 

If Beasley can keep playing like this a bit longer, then yes, he should crack the back end of the rotation.

 

*** 

Coach Spo doesn't need to make any major changes to his rotation at this time. There should be a little adjusting of minutes here and there, but we're far from panic time. This Heat team is obviously much better than it's played like so far. 

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