5 Players Miami Heat Must Retain
Five Players the Miami Heat Must Retain for the 2013-2014 Season
With the last of the confetti being cleaned up on Biscayne Boulevard, the Miami Heat have now turned their attention from winning a consecutive championship to their offseason priorities. With the salary cap becoming increasingly smaller and smaller by the day for this organization, the Heat will have a lot of decisions to make as to who will they bring back for this three-peat run during the 2013-2014 NBA season.
Outside of LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh (although if any of the Big Three were traded, it would be him), the rest of the roster could have a completely different look going into next season. It is crazy to think that after winning a second championship, the Heat organization would even want to change this cohesive unit up, but they might not have a choice. With the new CBA being as strict as ever, and the Heat being hit with huge luxury tax fees for being over the cap, some players may be released just for financial flexibility.
Outside of the Big Three, there are five players currently on this roster that must be retained for next season. Without these five players, the Heat will not have a chance for a three-peat. It is as simple as that. Some of the greatest teams in the world that were able to either repeat or three-peat championships all have had one thing in common, very similar rosters going into title defending seasons.
These are the top five players that the Miami Heat must resign.
5. Shane Battier
Shane Battier didn’t play a huge role throughout the 2012-2013 playoffs, other than his two huge shooting games against the San Antonio Spurs towards the end of the series. Battier rode the pine for the majority of the Eastern Conference Finals and the NBA Finals, but this had little to do with his talent level, and more so of the match-up’s the Miami Heat were faced with on their consecutive title run. No matter, Battier brings tangibles to this team that no other player can. Battier is the definition of the small-ball line-up the Heat love to exploit against other teams. Not only can Battier guard multiple positions at a high level, he is also a lethal three-point shooter from the corner (40% overall). The 27-game win streak during the 2013 season would not have been possible without Battier’s defensive tenacity and high shooting percentage from beyond the arc. This is one player the Heat must retain in order to keep the identity that has led them to two championships.
2012- 2013 Regular Season Stats: 6.6 points per game 2.3 rebounds per game 1.0 assists per game 0.6 steals per game
4. Norris Cole
Norris Cole is a shining example of how bright the Heat future can be. Cole has shown flashes of brilliance on the offensive end through this past postseason (the Chicago Bulls series), and has become an above average defender against some of the quicker point guards in the league. If the Heat are to stick to their identity as a defense juggernaut, this is one player the Heat must retain. With many of the top teams in the league-touting young, quick and athletic point guards, the Heat need someone who can hold their own in the backcourt.
2012-2013 Regular Season Stats: 5.6 points per game 2.1 assists per game 0.7 steals per game .650 FT%
3. Mario Chalmers
Mario Chalmers may be losing ground to the young and defensively stout Norris Cole when it comes to the starting point guard position, but there is a reason Erik Spoelstra hasn’t made the switch. Regardless of where Mario Chalmers plays, success follows. After winning consecutive high school basketball championships in Anchorage, Alaska, Chalmers decided to attend the University of Kansas. His buzzer beating three point shot sent his Jayhawks into overtime (and eventual victory) against the Memphis Tigers. His clutch shooting has continued into the NBA, where he has made countless big shots for the Miami Heat. Chalmers banked a half court three pointer to end the third quarter and give the Heat the lead against the San Antonio Spurs in Game 7 of the NBA Finals. It is no coincidence that the Heat are successful when Chalmers plays efficiently.
2012-2013 Regular Season Stats: 8.6 points per game 3.5 assists per game 1.5 steals per game .409 3 point percentage
2. Chris Andersen
One of the Miami Heat’s biggest Achilles heals has always been lack of an aggressive big man. Through the first two years of the Big Three’s formation, a carousel of older, slower centers were given sparse minutes in an attempt to bring balance to the 1-5 style roster. It wasn’t until Pat Riley was convinced by Erik Spoelstra to take a look at Chris Andersen (recently released by the Denver Nuggets), that the Heat finally achieved their fix. His 2013 stat line might not seem all that impressive- 4.9 points per game, 4.1 rebounds per game, one block per game, but what he brings to the court in terms of energy and aggressiveness cannot be put into numbers. Chris “Birdman” Andersen has breathed new life into the bench of the Heat. Andersen also set a playoffs franchise record in Game One of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Indiana Pacers by going 7-7 from the field. This topped Alonzo Mourning’s record of 6-6 in 2007. This is one player the Heat would be crazy not to resign.
2012-2013 Regular Season Stats: 4.9 points per game 4.1 rebounds per game 1.0 blocks per game .677 FT%
1. Ray Allen
Ray Allen has to be the Miami Heat’s number one offseason priority this summer. This was his first real season as a role player for a franchise and his numbers took a hit, which could lead to the argument that he is on the decline, but I would disagree. This is a big time basketball player. His corner three pointer to tie game 6 against the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA Finals was arguably his biggest shot of all time. He saved the Heat from utter disappoint and abject failure. Allen is still one of the best three pointer shooters in the league, and demands respect when guarded. This adds a whole new dimension to the Heat’s Big Three. Allen has to be resigned in order for the Heat to three-peat.
2012-2013 Regular Season Stats: 10.9 points per game 1.7 assists per game 2.7 rebounds per game .419 3 point percentage