In the playoffs, however, the starters went from outscoring opponents at a rate of 7.8 points per game to being outscored by 0.2 points. That can be attributed to tired legs and an offense centered around passing LeBron James the ball and getting out of the way.
With the departure of James, the Heat will probably ditch the whole give-LeBron-the-ball-and-watch-him-score thing in favor of the let's-try-to-be-a-complete-team thing. That means the starting unit setting the tone of the game will be even more important for Miami this season.
Miami replaced James with Luol Deng and added a stretch 4 in Josh McRoberts, giving the Eastern Conference champs two new starters.
"I think right now we have the correct infrastructure to compete for a championship," Bosh said. "We have to get much better at certain positions, and there's a bunch of things that have to continue to happen. But you know a team like the Spurs, they had a lot of guys that people underestimate, but as a team, they were outstanding.
Predicting how the Heat starters will play largely depends on the system coach Erik Spoelstra will run. Who facilitates the offense, how the rotations play out and how Bosh performs as the new No. 1 option are all questions that need to be answered.
Until then, however, we can assume a few things.
- Miami will still play a small-ball starting lineup.
- They will still try to get open threes.
- They will still favor getting into transition over crashing the boards.
- Mario Chalmers will still get yelled at.
How each player reacts to James' departure will set the tone for his season. These are predictions of that and how each starting player will perform this upcoming season.