As good as LeBron James and Dwyane Wade are, they can't solve all of the Heat's problems.
Although the season is early, it's clear the Heat are lacking in a few areas. None of which is more evident than in the post where Miami has been roughed up by opposing big men all year.
Over the last two games—against inferior opponents nonetheless in the Grizzlies and Pacers—Miami was exposed on the glass. They gave up 12 offensive rebounds to the Pacers and an unacceptable 15 to the Grizzlies.
With Udonis Haslem out for a long period of time after suffering a foot injury over the weekend, something must be done. But what?
LeBron James and Dwyane Wade are two of the better rebounding perimeter players in the league. They almost always have strength advantages against their respective opponents.
When a shot goes up—from close or far—it's critical at least two perimeter players get in the paint and help on the glass.
The Heat don't have the luxury of two beasts down low who control the boards. It's time the bigs receive some help from everyone else.
Many times it's not even the power forward or center's fault. Tonight I watched on two separate occasions where LeBron let Danny Granger get inside position on him when the shot went up.
Bosh's rebounding numbers (6.9 boards) are down this year from his 9.3 career average. Part of the reason is the Heat play at a slow pace and also his minutes are down (33.1).
But then there's the other side of it. He's playing very far from the basket this year. Most of his points are coming off pick-and-roll situations on the perimeter.
Coach Erik Spoelstra needs to utilize Bosh more on the low block so he can use his length and athleticism to get in on the offensive boards more often.
Also with Haslem out, someone is going to have to pick it up.
Zydrunas Ilgauskas is a towering presence at 7'3". It's about time he plays to his size and consistently makes an impact on the glass and as a defensive presence.
Using defense and presence in the same line with him is almost comical. Get big, Z!
Joel Anthony has played his way out of the rotation with nonexistent offense and an ineffectiveness on the glass. Outside of him, there aren't any great shot blockers on this team on the inside.
There is another way to pick up the slack, and it involves getting one's hands dirty. Take charges. Udonis Haslem is one of the best in the league at taking the charge. With him out, players like Bosh and Ilgauskas must recognize the drive and beat the dribbler to the spot.
Taking a charge might not show on most stat sheets, but it's a great underrated play on the defensive side of the court.
Jamal Magloire is good at two things. He can rebound and bang heads.
Is it me or are those two of the Heat's lacking areas? Magloire had four points and four rebounds in 15 minutes last night and gave the Heat some toughness inside.
He might have the vertical of a woman in an elderly home, but that's besides the point. Let the fella formerly known as the "Big Cat" knock some people around.
Carlos Arroyo hasn't been bad offensively this year, but his defense on the perimeter has been at times atrocious. Eddie House tries hard but doesn't have the size to stop the league's bigger point guards.
The only other guy to do the job is Mario Chalmers, who hasn't earned the trust of his coach just yet. Offensively, he looks lost, and until he shows he can hit the open shot or make the right pass, he is not going to get quality minutes.
When the opposing point guard penetrates at will, it puts a ton of pressure on your interior defense. They either have to leave their man or give up the lane.
That being said, it's time LeBron and Wade sharpen their defense as well. I know they exert a ton of energy on offense, but this team is going to win on the defensive end.
Wade especially gets lazy at times and loses track of his man on backdoor cuts and off screens. He cannot afford to have defensive lapses anymore. You're a team captain. Lead by example.
Calling Erick Dampier. I know we're about 15 games late, but will you still come and play for Miami?
The fact that Miami hasn't signed this guy yet is a joke. He's big, physical and won't hurt a team on either end of the floor. He is a rebounding machine and will make Bosh a better player just by being on the floor.
Pat, get it done.
Erik Spoelstra is a Pat Riley disciple right? Prove it.
Rebounding is a part of the defensive end, and he's supposed to be a strong defensive mind like his teacher in Riley.
It's time to get these players motivated to do the dirty work. There is not a coach with more pressure on him in the league. A coach's main responsibility is to motivate and get your players playing at their best. Let's go!
Rookie Dexter Pittman hasn't played one regular season minute. He has the type of size unmatched by anyone on this roster at 6'11", 285.
He should be activated against the NBA's porous teams, so they can see what they have in him at this early stage of his career. How could it hurt?
When I watch the Heat play—whether it's in person or on T.V.—I don't see any leadership. I don't see the two superstars in LeBron and Dwyane taking charge. It appears as if they both want to defer to the other.
It's time both of these guys start acting like leaders and playing hard every minute they're on the court. Because they are absolutely not right now. If they play hard, the others will follow.
If they man up and set the tone, the others will too. It's gut check time. What are they made of?
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