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Miami Heat: How Mike Miller Can Help Them Take the Next Step

MIAMI, FL - JANUARY 04: Mike Miller #13 of the Miami Heat dribbles during a game against the Milwaukee Bucks at American Airlines Arena on January 4, 2011 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
Scott RedickContributor IJanuary 6, 2011

Mike Miller had taken the news hard after suffering a freak thumb injury right just before the start of the regular season.

Miller is a gifted shooter who has hit at least 80 treys in every season of his career (he shot at a clip of .480 last season), and he is also a gifted passer and an above average rebounder with career averages of 3.6 assists and 5.7 rebounds per game.

Adding a player this versatile will add several new weapons for the coaching staff to implement in the game plan.

"Mike is going to play a big part in what we are doing," said Heat coach Eric Spoelstra. "We'll work him in. It'll probably be slowly at first and then as he gets more comfortable and healthy, and in more shape and rhythm, his role will increase."

Miller's injury and Dwayne Wade's hamstring problems during the preseason caused the Heat to get off to a slow start, but they are rounding into form as they get healthy.

The big story this summer was Lebron James’ friendship with Wade, but one of James' closest friends on the Heat is Miller, and he can’t wait to see what he will add to the gelling Heat roster.

"It's important for us to get healthy, and he's a big part of our team," James said. "We know that throughout the preseason, he played exceptionally well when D-Wade wasn't here. He's still getting back into game shape, and he had a great practice today, and we're looking forward for him to get back into full swing like he was before he had the injury."

Miller will spread the floor as a great jump shooter as well as add another capable ball handler to the Heat rotation. His transition into the rotation should come soon as he gets back into game shape. It will not be difficult to implement him into the game plan because he is a perfect fit alongside Lebron James and Wade because of his shooting and size.

The Heat primarily run a drive-and-dish system focused around getting Wade and James the ball in order to penetrate. This offense has brought life into a less-gifted shooter in James Jones this season. Once fully integrated into the rotation, there is no reason Miller cannot improve upon the numbers Jones has been putting up.

It will interesting to see if the Heat can take another step in the championship direction by unleashing Miller along with their Big Three upon the NBA landscape.

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