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Surprising Name Who Will Make a Big Impact for Miami Heat in 2014-15

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Surprising Name Who Will Make a Big Impact for Miami Heat in 2014-15
Issac Baldizon/Getty Images

There are plenty of reasons to be skeptical of Miami Heat point guard Mario Chalmers as he enters the 2014-15 NBA season. 

The last time we saw Chalmers play, he was an absolute mess. Chalmers averaged 4.4 points (33.3 percent shooting from the field, 14.3 percent shooting from three), 2.8 assists and 2.0 turnovers per game in Miami's 4-1 NBA Finals loss to the San Antonio Spurs.

His confidence appeared to be completely shaken, and he looked more like a guy who should be warming the bench for a lottery team than starting for a title contender.

Then came the 2014 NBA draft where Miami added not only someone at Chalmers' position but one of the more decorated college players up for grabs in Shabazz Napier. 

Nick Laham/Getty Images
The Heat added another point guard in Shabazz Napier this summer.

Then came the free-agency period where Chalmers saw very little interest from other teams, which suggests the league doesn't think highly of him, and he ultimately signed with Miami on a discounted two-year, $8.3 million contract.

But 2014-15 will be a big season for Mario Chalmers. He's not going to play like he did during the NBA Finals, and Shabazz Napier (as well as Norris Cole) won't supplant him in the starting lineup. 

Chalmers will have a major role on the new-look Heat, and he's going to perform at a high level.

Rio's poor showing against the Spurs seems to have made everyone forget just what a nice job he did during the regular season.

Chalmers averaged 9.8 points, 4.9 assists and 1.9 steals per game. 

Contrary to popular belief, Chalmers is fairly helpful in just about all facets of the game. He's developed into a plus defender, he knows when and where to get his teammates the ball, and he can score in a variety of ways. 

Consider this: On a team that featured a plethora of excellent three-point shooters, no Heat player was more efficient from outside than Chalmers (38.5 percent). The 2013-14 season marked the third consecutive year in which Chalmers shot north of 38.0 percent from beyond the arc.

In a league that places a premium on the corner three, Chalmers showed he more than belonged last season. He knocked down 45.8 percent of his threes from the right corner and an absurd 60.0 percent of his threes from the left corner.

NBA.com
Mario Chalmers' 2013-14 season shot chart

Chalmers also continued to display a great ability to get to the basket and finish at the rim. He attempted 232 field goals within five feet of the hoop and converted a solid 55.6 percent of them.

Both of those scoring skills are only going to be more important now that Miami now longer has LeBron James in the fold.

Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

Chalmers will be handling the ball a lot more frequently; he will need to create for others and create for himself by driving to the rack often for Miami's offense to function properly. 

And if the Heat want to remain a dangerous team from three-point range, then Chalmers is going to have to deliver, with LeBron, James Jones, Rashard Lewis, Shane Battier and (presumably, per Yahoo Sports' Marc J. Spears) Ray Allen gone from last year's team.

Expect Chalmers to live up to those challenges while continuing to be helpful on the defensive end. He should post career highs in points and assists and respectable efficiency numbers from the field and from three.

Chalmers might not be the flashy young guy or the heralded veteran, but the 28-year-old is going to produce in 2014-15 and make the Heat awfully pleased they retained him on such an inexpensive deal. 

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