Miami Heat: 5 Reasons They Are a Better Team This Season
The Miami Heat have entered the 2011-12 season with a vengeance. They want to right the wrong of last year's meltdown in the NBA Finals and are off to a promising start to do so.
The most important aspect to the fast start has to be the fact that Miami is still improving as a team. We have witnessed the Heat at their best so far this season, but we have also seen just what they can do with their backs against the wall.
Miami continues to get scarier and scarier, but still has much it can improve to be a more complete team.
This list depicts why the Heat are a better team, but there will be plenty of others as the season progresses.
Point Guard Play
Miami started the anticipated 2010-11 project with Carlos Arroyo running the point. That being said, he's the same player that was eventually cut to make room for Mike Bibby.
Speaking of Bibby, he stunk up the floor in the NBA Finals, providing no production and eventually becoming a liability. He bricked open looks and showed no defensive or athletic skills along the way.
The Heat had a point guard already on the roster who should have started from the beginning: Mario Chalmers. Now with Chalmers starting, Miami is off to a great start one year after starting the season 9-7.
Along with the former Jayhawk, the Heat also possess a rookie weapon who has shown no signs of lacking confidence in Norris Cole. He continually takes big shots and wants the ball in his hands when it matters most.
Many thought Miami needed an upgrade at the point guard position in the offseason, but it appears it is set for this year.
A Legit Bench
C'mon, you're running out of arguments now.
Udonis Haslem is among the NBA leaders in rebounds coming off the bench and was highly missed throughout the regular season. Now that he looks fully healthy, Miami can put in various combinations of players and give its questionable front court a huge boost.
We have already touched on the impact of rookie Norris Cole, but his importance can never be under-acknowledged. He continues to improve his scoring game and is looking like he can be a facilitator on the court.
James Jones has been big as well, as he has hit a high number of three-point attempts thus far in the season. With injuries to Wade and James, he has been a nice fill-in and proves why he should be on the floor more than he is.
Throw in the signing of a veteran wingman in Shane Battier, and it only makes them deeper. He hasn't looked too comfortable so far, but he still plays hard defense and remains an impact while guarding anyone on the floor. Once he gets his shot going he will be a big factor in beating a zone defense.
Miami has yet to let sharpshooter Mike Miller see some court action, but he will bring a dangerous outside shot and some smart defense when healthy.
Still not convinced?
You're just digging for reasons now.
The decision is over. In the past. Out of our minds.
Now Miami can finally keep its complete focus on basketball and worry about winning a championship.
The team as a whole has shown better chemistry as a unit, but has also proved it can deal with adversity. I'll preach all season that the triple-overtime win in Atlanta will be the most important of the season. Not only did it show the true depth of Miami, but the heart and fight that the team has in order to make another Finals appearance.
No negative attention will really help the Heat this season. LeBron looks to be having fun again and Chris Bosh seems to finally be settling in as a star for the team.
Focus is everything for a team's success, and Miami looks to have its under control for now.
An Improving Coach
Do you think Erik Spoelstra knows he was out-coached in the NBA Finals last season?
But, he's making up for it so far.
Spo has put together a better rotation that benefits the needs of the team and he is also learning to coach a star-studded group. Many coaches can't handle the pressure of being handed such a great team, but Spoelstra is slowly learning to utilize them to their full potential.
While the team still has not been able to dominate a zone defense, fans should not worry just yet. It's clear it has been a pain in the neck for Miami, but the Heat will eventually improve in this aspect and show success in breaking the defense.
Spoelstra is a mastermind at defensive strategy, which has to be noticed while watching games. Miami puts on solid pressure at the right times and forces turnovers to create instant offense.
He is the successor to Pat Riley's throne, so don't think he wont have Hall of Fame help along the way.
A True Big Three
Chris Bosh is a star in the NBA. Admit it.
Bosh is not a third wheel behind James and Wade; instead, he is a star contributor who can lead a team when needed.
While seeing a drop statistically, that has to be expected when playing with other stars. The positive thing is Bosh is on pace to average a career high in field-goal percentage, which shows he is making the most out his his opportunity with the ball.
We know what to expect of James and Wade, but getting maximum production from Bosh could prove to be the key to avoiding another disappointing exit. He is settled in and now must focus on using his abilities to show just what he can do.