5 Players Who Deserve Final Starting Spot For Miami Heat
Who Deserves to Play Alongside The Big 3?
Erik Spoelstra and the Miami Heat have tinkered with the lineup all season without much success. By success, I do not mean winning because the defending champions have played well thus far. What I do mean is that Spoelstra has yet to find someone he is comfortable with in the starting five.
Ever since long-time starter Udonis Haslem began this season with unproductive performances, Spoelstra has searched for someone to fill the void. The head coach went along with Shane Battier for a while, but recent injuries and a lack of production has left Spoelstra reeling for an answer.
The normal starters LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Mario Chalmers have all remained intact for the majority of games, besides some mandatory off days for Wade and a recent Achilles injury for Chalmers.
Anyway, Spoelstra has used the injuries to tryout different players in the starting lineup. James Jones and Ray Allen have both had opportunities to start while Michael Beasley had to prove he was worthy for the chance. But it seems that Spoelstra has fallen in love with Rashard Lewis as a start, which isn’t a bad thing.
Miami definitely needs a better option than Haslem in the starting five, but the problem lies within which strategy to use. The Heat could go with a smaller, quicker lineup, but a larger lineup may be the answer to combat the Indiana Pacers.
Spoelstra will have to decide soon who the fifth and final starter will be so they have a chance to build chemistry before the playoffs. With the All-Star break quickly approaching, here are five players who deserve a chance in the Miami starting lineup.
You can also email Shane at ShaneRantNBA@gmail.com with any questions, thoughts, concerns or comments.
5.) James Jones
The chances of James Jones starting for Miami are slim to none, but it is good to have him on the bench. The three-point specialist was called to duty earlier in the season and scored 17 points, including five three-pointers in a victory over the Orlando Magic. Other than that, Jones has had a quiet season and has become more of a luxury for Spoelstra. Jones does provide a bit more size, but he doesn’t offer much in his bag of tricks.
4.) Shane Battier
Shane Battier will give the Heat a boost on the defensive side, but his offensive production has been a struggle. Already a starter in 26 games this season, Battier gives a solid option for Spoelstra as a starter, I would just like to see someone who is more of a threat on both ends of the floor. Plus, Battier gives up a lot in terms of size and strength.
3.) Rashard Lewis
Rashard Lewis may be the best option for Spoelstra and the Heat. Although his age and knees are a concern, the power forward has shown that he is much healthier this season and wants to be a factor in the Miami rotation.
Lewis provides scoring ability from anywhere on the floor, including a post game. His long arms and awkward shot make him a difficult assignment for defenders. The great part about Lewis is that he does not give up much size, which is perfect for a team who’s frontcourt is the biggest concern. Lewis has done well in the handful of games that he has started and Spoelstra may want to stick with him.
2.) Chris Andersen
Sticking with the bigger lineup strategy, Chris Andersen could fit in well alongside Bosh. Miami’s frontcourt problems and rebounding ability has been an eye sore for the defending champs. Andersen provides some more rebounding as well as shot-blocking ability and is a crowd favorite. My biggest concern about Andersen as a starter is his all-around defensive skills and lack of offensive selection. I would not be against giving Andersen an extended tryout in the starting lineup.
1.) Michael Beasley
I will admit that I was a bit hard on Michael Beasley when he returned to South Beach last summer, but can you blame me? Anyway, Beasley has reinvented himself, earning a big role in the Heat rotation. Beasley has also been given a chance to start and he provides a quick offensive spark. He also does not give up too much size while providing speed and multiple scoring threats.
I think Beasley could become a starter and fit well into the lineup, but both Spoelstra and Beasley have expressed the need to improve Beasley’s defense. Until “B-Easy” can improve his defense, he will remain a role player. The good news, Beasley’s self-admission to his defensive struggles is a great sign and hopefully he will make the necessary changes. The small forward could be an intricate part of Miami’s three-peat dreams.
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