Miami Heat

Miami Heat Midseason Grades: The Arrival Of LeBron James Doing Wonders in Miami

CHICAGO, IL - JANUARY 15:  LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat protests a call with the referees as he sits out the game against the Chicago Bulls with an injured ankle at the United Center on January 15, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls defeated the Heat 99-96. 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 Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
Danny DolphinAnalyst IJanuary 17, 2011

Backcourt

Carlos Arroyo has exceeded expectations shooting the basketball, showing remarkable efficiency from three (46 percent). Meanwhile, Mario Chalmers is treading water, with his one-step forward, one-step back approach in every game.

Dwyane Wade has been his stellar self and must be happier with less pressure on his shoulders than in years past. He’s becoming a force away from the ball as well, something he’s never had to do before.

Eddie House still shoots the crap out of the ball, but has found it difficult to play consistent minutes because he’s a defensive liability. Unfortunately for the Heat, they won’t be able to upgrade the point guard position, their weakest spot by far, until the offseason. It’s highly unlikely they can upgrade via trade because of their roster inflexibility.

Backcourt Grade: B

Frontcourt

LeBron James and Chris Bosh form the best one-two punch at the forward spots in the NBA. James has been sensational, throwing himself into the MVP discussion with a ridiculous December in which he shot 51 percent from the field and 44 percent from three. Bosh has stepped up his game after a slow start, but could afford to be more of an attacker offensively. He’s the Heat’s most efficient player and only inside force.

With Udonis Haslem out for another few months and Mike Miller just beginning to hit his groove, this unit should improve from here on out. Juwan Howard has done a solid job defensively in Haslem’s absence, but isn’t in the same league as a mid-range shooter.

At center, the committee approach has been up and down in regards to effectiveness, mainly depending on matchups. Joel Anthony clearly is a better player off the bench, as his post defense and intensity makes him valuable.

Erick Dampier had provided the muscle and rebounding inside, but his presence will be felt most in the playoffs when the game slows down, especially against the East’s bigger teams like the Celtics and Magic. Zydrunas Ilgauskas has been inconsistent in all areas, yet somehow has still exceeded expectations. I had no idea he could still dunk a basketball.

Frontcourt Grade: A-

Bench

Miami is certainly not the deepest of teams, and this notion was on display after LeBron went down. Whether they’re deep enough to win it all without everyone available remains to be seen. Health will be the top priority come playoff time. Haslem and Miller at full strength is a start.

Bench Grade: C+

Coaching

Erik Spoelstra weathered the early hurricane of negativity with class. He has a ways to go to get this team at a championship level, but they are headed in the right direction.

Coaching Grade: A-

Overall

At 30-12 just over the midway mark they’re on pace to win around 60 games, which should be good enough for a top two seed in the Eastern Conference. Getting the top seed is very important. Any advantage they can get over a veteran Celtics team who’s been together for years is crucial. Home court through the first three rounds would be huge.

Overall Grade: B+

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