When LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh decided to join forces and sign with the Miami Heat, it was clear that the team would have very little cap space to sign other players. However, Miami has become a terrific place for seasoned veterans to come and sign for less money, have a shot at a championship and enjoy the nice weather.
This season, Miami’s two biggest additions to their bench were Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis. The purpose of the signings was clear — the Heat needed spot-up shooters who could space the floor.
There is no doubt that Miami’s bench is better this year than it was in last year’s title run, but just how good are the reserves? The Big Three still shoulder the majority of minutes, which is reflected in the stats — Miami’s bench ranks 11th in minutes per game.
For the majority of this season, Shane Battier has come off the bench rather than starting at the power forward position. This has naturally boosted the overall production of the bench. The addition of Chris Andersen has also given the NBA champions some additional versatility.
With the superstars carrying the offensive load most of the time, the reserves are not really required to score as much and Miami’s bench ranks just 24th in the league in points per game. Despite this, the Heat get exactly what they need from their bench — a mixture of decent defenders and terrific shooters. Andersen’s shot-blocking ability is highly appreciated, while Battier can usually match up against most players on the defensive end.
Miami’s bench has one specialty, mostly thanks to the signings of Allen and Lewis. The reserves take 10.7 three-point attempts per game (rank fifth) and convert at a 40 percent clip, which is way ahead of any other bench in the NBA.
All in all, Miami does not have an elite bench, but the reserves provide the exact qualities that the team needs.
Vytis is a Miami Heat and NBA columnist for RantSports. You can follow him on Twitter: @VytisLasaitis