By now everyone knows who the Miami Heat are, a space-and-pace team revolving everything they do around LeBron James. James, the reigning MVP and two-time NBA Champion is backed up by Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and a slew of three-point shooters.
The Heat have one of the best records in the NBA, and yet people are already casting red flags, killing off Wade's knee like a Twitter epidemic and elevating the Indiana Pacers as the team to beat in the Eastern Conference.
Unlike the improved Pacers, there are no surprises with the Heat. Maybe that's why they have been, in some ways, overlooked. Regardless, 2013 has been a good year for Miami, and at year's end, I'll get hot as a teacher and grade them on their individual performances this season.
I won't be naughty and hide my formula, either. Here is the rubric:
Poor (0 points)
|Average (1 point)||Great (2 points)|
|Fit in system|
A=8; B=6-7; C=4-5; D=2-3; F=1
Improvement, or regression, will be judged by the player's year-to-year performance from the 2012-13 season to this one. How the player fits in Erik Spoelstra's pace-and-space system will be the final category (sorry Udonis Haslem).
Each key player will be judged according to this rubric. Offense will take into account the player's offensive duties and his efficiency and impact in regard to those duties. Defense will measure how that player guards his position, plays in space and his consistency on help defense.
So sit down, shut up and listen. No texting. Class has begun.
All statistics are accurate as of December 24, 2013.