5 Most Important Role Players to Help Miami Heat Win A Third Consecutive Title
5 Most Important Role Players for Miami Heat to Win a Third Consecutive Title
Being able to tout a deep bench in the NBA has always been a huge variable in winning a championship. Over the course of the last few seasons, the Miami Heat's bench has gone from one of the worst in the league to one of the best. It all started after the disastrous exit from the 2011 NBA Finals, where the Heat were forced to rely on role players like Eddie House and Mike Bibby to not only defend well, but score in the absence of LeBron James, due to his inability to cope on the big stage. Once the Finals were over, Heat management knew having three superstar players alone wouldn’t be enough. Quality role players are the key to any NBA team winning a championships; it’s that simple.
Now, after winning two straight titles, the Heat have built upon a specific formula for success. By convincing high performing veterans to take less money and join the Heat, they have a great chance at not only winning a championship, but also being part of something historical. This is how Heat management has been able to sign players like Shane Battier, Ray Allen, Greg Oden, Chris Andersen, Rashard Lewis and Michael Beasley to minimum one to two year deals, while still having cap space to have Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and James on the roster.
There are five role players for the Heat that have to perform well in order for the defending champs to win their third straight title. Without these five players, the Heat could be looking at a disastrous playoff run.
5. Ray Allen
With Dwyane Wade's knee issues always coming up throughout the regular season, having a reliable backup shooting guard is always a must. Although Ray Allen has lost a step (due to his age), he is still one of the best three point shooters in the league and can still lose defenders through screens in order to become consistently open along the perimeter. Allen will most likely see an increase in minutes with Wade's playing time being restricted due to health, so this season will be a great opportunity for Allen to be a steady offensive presence for the second unit.
4. Chris Andersen
With Greg Oden slowly making his way back to the game after a four-year absence, Chris Andersen will be relied on to play quality minutes as the de facto backup center for the Miami Heat. Chris Bosh has struggled at the position since moving from forward to center, so Andersen’s presence under the rim is extremely important. Andersen provides an energetic spark to the second unit, plus he provides valuable rebounding and blocking to the front court.
3. Michael Beasley
This is a redemption year for Michael Beasley. With all the bouncing around he has done around the league and the constant marijuana accusations, Beasley is extremely luckily the Miami Heat front office gave him a second chance. With that being said, Beasley was signed for one reason: to bring size and offense to the second unit. During his time with the Heat, Beasley averaged 14.5 ppg, 5.9 rpg, and 1.2 apg. These are great numbers for a player that only averaged about 27 minutes a game. Beasley will need to earn the trust of both Heat management and Erik Spoelstra if he wants an increase in playing time. If all goes well, Beasley could be a huge offensive addition to the bench.
2. Norris Cole
The point guard position is one of the deepest in the NBA. Although the Heat don’t have a superstar point guard on their roster, Norris Cole is arguably one of the top ten defensive guards in the league and has been a mainstay for the Heat’s defensive identity. Outside of his defensive prowess, Cole has also become a more confident offensive threat. Both his field goal percentage and three point shooting percentage have increased, plus his turnover rate has decreased. These are all signs of a more confident point guard.
1. Greg Oden
If Greg Oden is able to stay relatively healthy throughout the regular season, his impact won’t be felt until the playoffs. Heat management signed Oden for one reason: to defend against teams that have quality centers. The Heat are bound to be matched up against the Chicago Bulls, Indiana Pacers, New York Knicks, and the Brooklyn Nets in the playoffs. What do they all have in common? Quality front court players. If Oden is healthy, he can defend the rim and also provide crucial rebounding, both areas the Heat are weak in.