When it comes to the Miami Heat’s success in the 2014 NBA Playoffs, most of the attention is being focused on the play of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, and how their individual numbers will affect their chances of winning a third straight title. Although this is true to a certain extent, in order to win a championship in the NBA, a team must play as a team in the truest sense of the word.
We have seen what happens to the Heat in the postseason when they began to falter as a unit, and start trying to win the game on an individual level. Failure becomes an all-too-cruel reality (aka the 2011 NBA Finals).
A player worth noting in this special postseason for the defending champs is Mario Chalmers. How this young point guard performs over the next two months will be in direct correlation to the Heat’s odds at winning a third straight championship.
Through the first-round series against the Charlotte Bobcats, Chalmers was the best player on the court outside of James, Bosh and Wade, averaging nine points, 2.5 rebounds, and 3.5 assists on 44% shooting from the field (which was the also the teams sixth highest).
This trend isn’t something that just started either.
Chalmers has been one of the Heat’s best and most reliable players all season long, registering the team’s fifth highest PER at 14.1. Oh, not to mention he was also the Heat’s top scorer outside of the “Big Three.” Even through statistics it’s undeniable that Chalmers has become a huge asset for the defending champs.
One of Chalmers best qualities is his ability to score well from beyond the arc, stretching the opponent’s defense and making it even thinner against the defending champs. Chalmers shot near 46 percent from three-point range in the first round, which was a huge leap over his 2013-2014 regular-season average of 38 percent. You can bet the Heat are hoping for this continued shooting streak from their starting point guard throughout the next three rounds, because it will be the difference between the Heat succeeding or failing at defending their title.