MIAMI — If you asked anybody last year to name three players for the Miami Heat that can shoot the three point shot at a consistent rate you might pause after saying one player, that’s not the case anymore down in South Beach these days.
Ever since “The Big Three” was formed down in South Beach two seasons ago, Pat Riley and the Heat have emphasized getting three point shooters to surround LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh.
The Heat would bring in sharp shooter Mike Miller and James Jones to go with Mario Chalmers to start out the 2011-2012 season. The first year in the plan didn’t pan out as well as the Heat thought, as they only shot 36% from three point land ranking them 16th in the NBA in 3-pointers shots made.
When the Heat made three or more three point attempts they went 32-15. With none of “The Big Three” keen to the 3-point shot the Heat knew they had to get more help in that area to take pressure off “The Big Three”.
After losing in the Finals in 2012, the Miami Heat went out and got Shane Battier for his defense and more importantly his three point shooting, while also retaining the likes of Jones and a healthy Miller.
This past 2012-2013 season was a complete turnaround as the Heat after a sub-par regular season got hot from three point land in the playoffs which rode them all the way to the Finals.
In fact ,in the deciding Game 6 the Heat made 14 point shooters while shooting 42% from the arc in the Finals. Miller had seven of those by himself to finish with 23 points on one leg.
With James moving to power forward and Battier moving to the small forward position, it opened up Miami’s offense as James posted up and when doubled would pass out to open shooters like Miller, Chalmers, and Battier who all had clutch games in the Finals taking the offensive pressure off “The Big Three” giving them the energy they needed on the defensive end to propel them.
After winning the title,the Heat went out and got even better in the category bringing in the all time best three-point shooter in Ray Allen and long-range specialist, Rashard Lewis via free agency to help bolster the Heat’s bench.
With Allen and Lewis on board to go with returnees Chalmers, Miller, Battier, and Jones Miami went from one of the weak three point shooting teams to perhaps the best.
With teams already having to worry about “The Big Three” now they have to worry about where the shooters are on the court whenever Allen or Lewis or Miller or Chalmers, etc. are on the court. With defenses worrying about shooters that then opens up driving lanes for Wade and James to do what they do best.
With all the additions, the Heat will make it hard for teams to key on “The Big Three” leaving teams in disarray to how to stop the Miami Heat this upcoming season.
Maybe teams should call up the great Coach K for advice because with all the arsenal the Heat have they look like an NBA version of the Duke Blue Devils except with James and Wade to complement all the three point shooting.