With most of the roster remaining intact from their second-consecutive championship, the Miami Heat now have to focus on what lineups will be the most effective against potential opponents heading into the 2013-14 season. The regular season is the time for the Heat to utilize the small-ball lineup. This set has gotten them a 27-game win streak, and first place in the entire Eastern Conference last season. The postseason is the time for the Heat to implement a larger lineup, usually one featuring a prototypical center.
It is a no-brainer that LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh will be starters. What positions they play will determine how well they perform throughout the regular season, though. According to Ethan Skolnick of Bleacher Report, the lineup of Mario Chalmers, Ray Allen, Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh posts the highest net rating of all twelve most frequently used lineups by the Heat.
“In 86 minutes, it has posted the highest net rating (35.6) of any of the 12 most-used Miami Heat lineups,” Skolnick write. “It has the best assist percentage, the best assist-to-turnover ratio and, by far, the best shooting percentages. 58.3 percent from the field. That’s 53.8 percent from three-point range. That’s an effective field-goal percentage of 65.6. That all equates to an offensive rating of 131.0. That’s been too much for many opponents — and it has been defensively sound as well. That lineup spaces the floor while Wade and James run the wings, and it has been especially deadly in tight games and at home, where the net rating is 39.9.”
The Heat can overwhelm opponents offensively with this lineup, and defensively hold their own throughout the regular season. Heading into the postseason, though, they might want to consider giving Chris Andersen or even project-center Greg Oden more minutes to combat the larger teams they will most likely face in the Eastern Conference playoffs. If the Heat can manage to keep the aforementioned starting lineup healthy, they could manage to snag first place in their conference for a second-straight year.
Jared Doyle is a Miami Heat writer for RantSports.com.