Well, Miami Heat fans, here it is! An analysis on the positives and negatives of each player in the Miami Heat starting lineup up to this point (Game 12 of the 2008-09 NBA season).
PG: Mario Chalmers
I really can't express how much I like this rookie. A favorable steal on draft night, Chalmers is a rookie starting point guard, which is very hard to come by. The Miami Heat have really landed a solid up-and-coming point guard who could potentially become a star in this league.
Mario possesses great offensive and defensive skills, as well as a great understanding of where and when to be aggressive to the basket, or pass the ball to an open teammate. His field-goal percentage is on the rise, and so is his confidence. Keep an eye on this rookie—he is a special one.
There is only one to report. Mario has been a little too anxious to steal the basketball and play the passing lane, which can shake up the defense a little bit. However, he also has averaged two steals per game—I guess you can take the good with the bad on this one!
SG: Dwyane Wade
Dwyane Wade is one of the elite players in the league. The most remarkable thing about Wade is that he has improved in basically every major category this year. A former NBA Finals MVP and a sure MVP candidate this year, Wade is impressing just about everyone—including himself.
His strong defensive skills he has shown over the first 12 games of the season are astonishing, averaging two blocks per game and 2.5 steals! As for his offense, 28 points, eight assists and five rebounds say it all.
His fearless drive to succeed and presence of greatness he brings to the court every game make the players he plays with better and more motivated to win. With an attitude of reckless abandon, and a constant drive and need to score, Dwyane Wade is the heart and soul of this Miami Heat team.
Sometimes Wade isn't just the heart and soul of this team—e is the whole team. This could potentially lead to injury and serious fatigue as the season wears on. Also, his turnovers have gone up slightly, now approaching four a game. However, the ball is in Dwyane's hand 90 percent of the time he's on the floor, so go figure.
SF: Shawn Marion
Shawn Marion is a great scorer, and an asset to the more up-tempo game that the Miami Heat have grown accustomed to as of late. Shawn's defensive skills are astounding and a huge asset to the defensive mindset coach Erik Spoelstra has been preaching to his newly-renovated and revamped Miami Heat team.
Shawn's numbers are down in almost all of the key categories that make him a great player. This can partly be blamed on the face-mask that he had to wear for the last few games.
In fact, Monday night’s game was this first game in 4 games that he did not wear the mask. He proved the mask was the reason for his declining numbers, putting up 20 points and 14 rebounds while shooting 10-17 from the floor.
Shawn Marion is what I'd like to call the "X" factor on the Miami Heat. Is this a positive or negative thing? At the moment, I will leave it as a negative—until he can prove himself consistent.
PF: Michael Beasley
Beasley is one of the most-talented rookies—if not the most-talented rookie—in the 2008-09 NBA Draft. It was a concern on draft night that his age and maturity may come into play during the season, but so far so good! Beasely has proven himself to be NBA ready, not only making it into the Miami Heat's starting line-up, but also receiving major minutes.
An ambidextrous scoring machine, at age 19, with his talent for scoring and rebounding, is what some might call a "one in a million". Look for Beasley to continue to grow and get better, possibly even exploding at the end of the year, and to average 20 points and 10 rebounds.
Beasley, no matter how talented, is still 19 years old. So I have listed this fact in the positive as well as the negative section. We will see where this should be listed as the season goes on.
C: Udonis Haslem
One of the most-underrated players in the game, the Miami Heat’s captain has been having one of the most preeminent seasons of his career. Haslem is a major presence defensively on the boards, and as a solid jump shooter. He has become Dwyane Wade's "go-to guy".
Haslem is a double-double threat on any given night. He possesses a love and passion for the game of basketball which is remarkable to watch.
Udonis Haslem is only 6'8" and is the starting CENTER for the Miami Heat. Yes, this is a major negative. He is very often outsized, and this could pose to be a problem down the road for the Miami Heat.