Miami Heat: Mario Chalmers, Not Mike Bibby, Will Be the Team's Difference Maker

Justin EisenbandCorrespondent IMarch 15, 2011

MIAMI, FL - FEBRUARY 08: Mario Chalmers #15 of the Miami Heat calls a play during a game against the Indiana Pacers at American Airlines Arena on February 8, 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

If the Miami Heat's recent five-game losing streak has taught us anything, it is that Miami needs to have more than just LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh playing at an exceptional level if they are to make a run at an NBA championship.

With Udonis Haslem out until at least the playoffs and perhaps all of this season and Mike Miller still struggling since returning months ago from a thumb injury, the Heat have been forced to turn to an unexpected place for support: the point guard position.

Promising the allure of South Beach and the dreams of an NBA championship, Pat Riley was able to attract former Atlanta Hawk Mike Bibby convincing him to relinquish over $6 million in guaranteed money next season.

Despite the sacrifices, Mario Chalmers, not Mike Bibby, will be the difference-maker on this Miami Heat team.

Certainly, Bibby will play a major role on the Heat. In the last four games, Bibby has shot 60 percent from beyond the arc and is shooting three pointers at over a 50 percent clip.

Chalmers, however, will demonstrate that he should be on the floor in crunch time. Firstly, Chalmers is no slouch from the three-point line either. Averaging over 35 percent from downtown, Chalmers has shot 77 percent from beyond the arc over the last four games.

Furthermore, Chalmers has been able to limit turnovers and handle the ball efficiently. Coach Erik Spoelstra has finally acknowledged that Miami is more successful with a true point guard on the floor with James and Wade. Chalmers has embraced that role often, acting as facilitator or knocking down open three-pointers created by drives by Wade and James.

Lastly, Chalmers contributes the defense that Bibby simply cannot provide. Amassing 10 steals over the last five games, Chalmers uses quick hands and offers Miami's best answer to quick point guard Rajon Rondo and Derrick Rose.

While Chalmers may not be the perfect solution to the matchup problems created by these players, he offers Miami some answers.

We cannot know which Miami team will show up in the playoffs. Is it the team from November or the team from this recent losing streak? Or will the Heat continue to ride the momentum of a three-game winning streak over the elites of the Western Conference?

Chalmers will likely be the one to answer those questions.