2014 NBA Playoffs: The James Jones Effect On The Miami Heat

By Richard Nurse
 Miami Heat
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The Mike Miller role has been discussed so readily and often that you would think it was hard for the Miami Heat to move on with their 2013-14 season.

Who’s going to step up? And who’s going to fill that space? Those are the types of questions that the Heat inadvertently answered during their first round opener against the Charlotte Bobcats.

“Obviously without Mike Miller being on our team,” LeBron James said of the three-point specialist released during the offseason to save on the luxury tax, “I think [James Jones] is going to fill that void.” (South Florida Sun-Sentinel)

Now, I’m not going to sit here and try to insult your intelligence by pretending that the Heat reinvented the wheel, but when coach Erik Spoelstra replaced Udonis Haslem with Jones it gave the offense a shot in the arm around the same time Al Jefferson took a shot for his injured foot.

Jones’ ability to spread the floor and allow Chris Bosh to move back to the center position was huge because it made Jefferson have to step out of the paint and chase players who move on the dribble. That’s something a more stationary Haslem could not do.

The entire thing caught everyone off guard. Especially when Jones went from standing in his usual three-point spots to making Bobcats rookie Cody Zeller fall and finishing up a fast break after Mario Chalmers dropped a pass off as if he thought it was the other James running behind him.

He went from the 15th man to the only other Heat player — not named Bosh, James or Dwyane Wade — to touch double-digits. Which is a testament to Spoelstra’s ability to keep every player on the team ready to go even if they haven’t seen the court in months. But let’s see if it can hold up.

Richard Nurse is a columnist for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @blackirishpr or add him to your network on Google.

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