Now that the 2010 NBA Draft has been concluded, what direction must the Miami Heat take? Most fans hope they will try to go after Wade and two other top tier players.
That isn't really a good idea. Boston and Los Angeles are proof that it takes more than just big names to get to the top of the mountain. You need to have capable role players to balance things out.
LeBron James had the best team this regular season but they didn't fare any better than the fifth seeded Heat and Dwyane Wade. So what must Miami do?
Currently, the Heat has four very good building blocks to work with: Dwyane Wade (if he doesn't leave), Michael Beasley, Mario Chalmers, and Dexter Pittman (the 6'11" and 303 pound rookie center).
Wade, Beasley, and Chalmers could easily be penciled in as starters. That would mean the Heat would need to find two very good starters and four to five good players to fill out its bench.
The Heat need to target these three players as their starting small forward: Joe Johnson, Rudy Gay, and Andre Iguodala; anything less than these three will be a failure.
Iguodala would be ideal because he is the cheapest ($12 million) and could be had for a future first and second round pick. Johnson is the best pick because of his outside shooting, and his elite status would better spread the floor for Wade and Beasley. He also could be left on the floor with the second unit to get his numbers and sustain the flow of the offense.
The Heat need to target these three players as their starting center: Brendan Haywood, Joel Pryzbilla, and Samuel Dalembert. Not Jermaine O'Neal and not David Lee! They both are fours in this league.
Landing Haywood would cost about seven to nine million dollars a season. But it would give the Heat the needed size to protect the basket. He would serve as a good mentor for Pittman. Pryzbilla could be had for a second round pick, to fill out the bench.
The Heat need to go after a 6'10" or taller power forward that is defensive oriented. Pittman will be a good low block scorer against second units.
The Heat also need top sign Luke Ridnour (to start) as their point man. He's the only free agent that fits the Heat's system and culture. Not landing him will be a failure. Raymond Felton is not the answer and will cost too much.
Rasual Butler is proven and his outside shooting is exactly what the Heat need. He knows what Pat Riley expects out of his players and has been a teammate to Wade before. If the Heat can't land him at small forward, Dorrel Wright should be their next target.
Larry Hughes should be the targeted shooting guard off the bench. He can play multiple positions and usually goes hard when on good clubs. He can be had for cheap and would fit in great with the Heat's defensive system...he also can create his own offense.
So with that said, the Heat's best chance at going after a title next season looks like this:
CENTER: Haywood/ Pryzbilla
POWER FORWARD: Beasley/ Milicic
SMALL FORWARD: Johnson/ Butler
SHOOTING GUARD: Wade/ Hughes
POINT GUARD: Ridnour/ Chalmers
Roster fill-outs: Dexter Pittman(r), Patrick Beverly(r) and Ronald Murray(sg)