Early Season Improvements The Miami Heat Must Make
No Team is Perfect
With roughly 1/16th of the NBA season under our belt, it is hard to make any solid predictions. Teams continue to mesh their new rosters, players continue to return from injury, and David Stern has been relatively quiet for his final year as commissioner.
However, it is never to0 early to pick teams and players apart, ripping on anything and everything they do wrong. Heck, I need something to write about and you need something to read.
So, why not take some time to dissect the Miami Heat as they continue their journey to a third straight title?
The early trials for the defending champs have been a learning experience as the "Big 3" continue to grow together and the roster settles in.
I have no qualms with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade or Chris Bosh. They have played well to start the season and will continue to play better. Wade continues to look healthier every game, Bosh's stats have increased, and James is still the "King."
Yes, I would like to see a bit more out of Wade, more rebounding from Bosh, and pure dominance out of James, but no one can really complain about how the "Big 3" have performed. Also, keep in mind that Wade and Bosh have both missed a game.
The biggest improvements must happen all around the "Big 3." The rebounding problem still exists, the big men continue to slack, and the bench's performance has been like a wave. The good news that comes along with all this is that the season is still incredibly young.
With that said, here are some early season improvements the Heat must make.
Udonis Haslem has been a long time leader for the Heat. He has played all 10 of his NBA seasons in South Beach and has played alongside Dwyane Wade since day one. The veteran was crucial in the 2006 championship, but has seen his averages plummet since the beginning of the "Big 3" era.
Even though Haslem underwent surgery to repair a torn meniscus in the offseason, he has done little to be helpful this season. He may not be 100 percent and he may be getting back in shape, but Erik Spoelstra needs to make a decision: Bench Haslem or continue to start him.
Haslem is only hurting the team right now, and if his poor play continues, give someone else a shot, like Michael Beasley.
Miami started off the season a bit rough. Through the first two games, the champs recorded 37 turnovers. That's 37 lost possessions, 37 chances to score.
In their victory over the Toronto Raptors, the Heat only committed 11 turnovers. There has been significant improvement in the turnover department, but they must continue to eliminate turnovers and maximize possessions. Rebounding continues to be an issue, so counter the rebounding problems by limiting turnovers.
Start Fast and Finish Fast
During Miami's incredible 27-game winning streak last season, it seemed like the champs were getting bored. They would come out sluggish in many of the games and mount impressive comebacks.
The slow starts continued this year, but the impressive comebacks have been lacking. The Chicago Bulls came out quick on Miami and then they hit back hard in the second quarter. The Heat weren't as fortunate against the Philadelphia 76ers, as a 19-0 lead proved to be too much to overcome.
The slow starts have plagued the Heat so far this season. Start fast and finish fast, it will help in the long run. Early leads will equal more rest time for the stars of the team.
The bench has had it's highs and lows this season, but the biggest problem has been consistency for the role players. They were outplayed by the reserves of the Brooklyn Nets, and Shane Battier has been going through an early season slump.
I still stand by my belief that this is one of the best benches in the Association and the best group of role players the Heat franchise has seen. They just need to be more consistent and get persistence out of a few of them. The "Big 3" need their bench and need help in winning a three-peat.
Front Court Play
It has been a focal point all offseason for Miami and it continues to be the main problem of the defending champs. Their front court has been weak and the most inconsistent part of the team. Bosh has played well and I have nothing bad to say about his play, yet.
My beef is with the other front court players. I've already ranted about Haslem and the lack of positive contributions from him, but Chris Andersen, Joel Anthony and Rashard Lewis have also slacked off. Bosh is averaging better numbers than all four of those players combined.
Someone, anyone step up in the paint. The East is filled with tall and powerful teams that will have a field day with Miami's front court. There needs to be more production and consistency from the big men, end of discussion.
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