Check out why the Lakers are still better than the Heat:
As the Superfriends (Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade, and LeBron James) convene in Miami, it is time to examine just who the Heat can sign to fill out their roster. Remember, the Heat can only sign players for their respective minimum salaries.
To start, we eliminated any restricted free agents, since I can't imagine any teams willing to help the Heat add more talent. Most likely, they'd sign their own free agents before letting them trot off to South Beach for a title.
Second, players need to have at least 6 years of experience to put them in that old-enough-to-sacrifice-serious-cash-for-a-ring category.
Let's look at their 3 rookie draft choices and then drop the bombshells, shall we?
The 2nd pick of the second round, he is massive, with long arms. He can come in and help right away since he spent four years at Texas. Something tells me Riley can solve his conditioning issues. Can he be their starting center? Can you spell Kendrick Perkins?
The 11th pick of the second round, Varnado is a fantastic athlete with a huge wingspan. Having spent 4 years in college, he is someone who won't be intimidated as a rookie. His unpolished offensive game won't hurt the Heat with the firepower they have already.
The third senior selected, his knee injury in the tournament caused him to drop lower in the draft. He is extremely smart and a great shooter, and very tough. Having played for Huggins at West Virginia, he will have no problem putting on his hard hat and coming to work for Riley and company. If he can recover from his injury, Butler can come in and start for the Heat. This could end up being the steal of the draft for the Heat.
There are a few experienced (read: old) point guards that would seem a natural fit for this team:
Derek Fisher - will he spurn the Lakers and their pay cut to go play for the Heat? Most likely, he'll take the cut and stay in LA, and his daughter can maintain the care she needs.
Rafer Alston - Having played for the Heat twice before, he would be a good fit to serve up the rock to the SuperFriends. He doesn't need to shoot much, and doesn't turn it over a lot. His salary last year is also in line with what the Heat could pay him - so this looks likely.
Luke Ridnour - he just makes the cuts for 6 years in the league, and his salary was $6 million last year. It sounds implausible that he'd sacrifice millions at this stage in his career. It would be difficult for him to command respect from the SuperFriends.
Jason Williams - He could also return to the Heat to win another title. He's too streaky to be considered at the top of this list, but would be willing to take the pay cut to play in South Beach.
The Heat are reportedly signing Mike Miller - as confirmed but none other than Miller's father. He is a perfect fit for the Heat - bringing a great shot, ball handling, and some hustle. He's a 10 year vet, toiled on some horrible teams, and is in the prime of his career to lay it all on the line for less money for a shot at the ring. This should be his greatest season, since he's never had this kind of talent around him.
The only question is his defense, and will he be able to stop opponent's small forwards.
Josh Powell - having won 2 rings with the Lakers, he's got serious experience and the knowledge, if not the minutes. He can score when he needs to, and has proven to be a solid defender.
Tim Thomas - He's a proven 3 point threat and has athleticism, if a work ethic problem. But Pat Riley knows how to get players like Thomas to give out 100%.
Twitter is abuzz with this rumor, as everyone wants to break the story first. If ever there was a story that eclipses the SuperFriends signing, it would be Shaq returning to Miami to win another title and take the lead from Kobe. This sounds right up Shaq's alley, and he would only need to be mortal to help the Heat. He could play 25 minutes a game and give them 12 and 9.
The Heat need to do whatever is necessary to bring in a center that can take pressure off of Chris Bosh in the front court.
Brad Miller - A better fit than Shaq. Miller could pick and pop and make the 17 footer, he can bang and get rebounds, and is one of the best passing big men in the game. He is hungry for a title, and has played on some good teams and some horrible ones. He understands how fleeting it is to be on a contender, and would certainly take the minimum for a shot at a ring.
Zydrunas Ilgauskas- Having been hung out to try in Cleveland, is it possible he can still move up and down the court? He has good hands and a deadly jumper from 20 feet. He would open up space for Chris Bosh to work down low, and be a good high post passer for LeBron and Wade. He would certainly be grateful for the opportunity, since not many teams are interested.
Josh Howard - Everyone has forgotten about Josh Howard since he injured himself after getting out of Dallas. He tore his ACL in Washington, and it's not clear if he'll be ready for the start of the season, but he'd be a picture perfect fit if he came back in good shape. He could handle the ball, rebound, pass, and play great defense while complementing the stars like he did in Dallas.
Juwan Howard - His energy was revitalized in Portland, if not his stats. Juwan is the poster boy for elder veteran in need of a title. He'd be willing to scrap and fight down low, doing all the dirty work for the pretty boys as they do their thing.
Kurt Thomas - Will he return to the team he started with? At 37, he is on the verge of being too old to run with the young guys, and his stats in Milwaukee were certainly not considered good. However, with this team, he doesn't need stats - he just needs to bang and set good screens.
If the Heat come away with a few championships, hardly anyone will remember where LeBron started his career.
QUICK- tell me where Ray Allen started his career! See? If you said Seattle, look it up for the right answer.
My biggest issue is what happens when Dwyane Wade sprains an ankle. Then you have Da'Sean Butler starting - and what if it's a crucial Game 5 in the conference finals? See what I mean?
Mike Miller is a done deal, and Shaq is probably next, even though I'd lobby harder for Brad Miller - which makes the Heat a completely legitimate contender. They're still thin on the bench, but it might not matter. At least one of those guys will always be in at any time, most likely two - and that gives them such a huge advantage at those positions that there are only a few teams that could compete: the Lakers, Celtics, maybe Denver, maybe Chicago.
This team reminds me a lot of the Showtime Lakers who had Magic, Kareem, and Worthy. Mike Miller could be like Byron Scott, so they'd only need an AC Green or Kurt Rambis. I know I'll be watching with curiosity and excitement to see these guys gel and mature and play.
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