How is this going to work in Miami?

BEIJING - AUGUST 24:  LeBron James #6 and Dwyane Wade #9 of the United States celebrate after defeating Spain 118-107 in the gold medal game during Day 16 of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games at the Beijing Olympic Basketball Gymnasium on August 24, 2008 in Beijing, China.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Well, LeBron James has finally made up his mind, and he’s headed to the Heat.

While the heavy lifting has certainly been done — and kudos to Pat Riley for having the clout and vision to pull amazing personnel feat off — there is still much work to be done before the Miami Heat can be considered a favorite to win an NBA title. Here are two challenges that need to be addressed and a few unsolicited suggestions of how to address them.

Challenge #1: Fill out the roster
The pundits are on fire questioning the Heat’s ability to put together a competitive bench with only minimum-salary players. However, it appears that Miami has some flexibility, considering the report that they’ve extended a mid-level-type offer to Mike Miller. That means that they have a deal in place to move Michael Beasley, or the Miami Thrice have agreed to take a bit less money to fit Miller’s deal in under the cap. He’d be the right kind of guy to sign. He shot 48% from long range last season and is a career 40.5% three-point shooter. He’s definitely not a point guard, however, so the Heat must be open to using Wade and LeBron as their main ball-handlers and distributors. And why not? The two combined to produce 15.1 assists per game last season and are both willing passers. (If Miller passes on the deal, the Heat should look at another sharpshooter like Kyle Korver or J.J. Redick.)

As for the rest of the roster, there are any number of veterans who would sign on to play with LeBron, Wade and Bosh in search for a title. The list includes, but it is not limited to: Joe Smith, Kurt Thomas, Theo Ratliff, Brad Miller, Rafer Alston, Jerry Stackhouse, Juwan Howard, Eddie House and Matt Bonner. Along with three second-round picks — Dexter Pittman, a big body; Jarvis Varnado, a shot blocking big; and Da’Sean Butler, a gritty swingman — there should be plenty there to put together a solid bench. They may not come in and win games with regularity, but they won’t lose them, either. And remember, with three stars playing huge minutes, there’s really no reason to have more than one of the three getting a rest at any given time. That means that LeBron and Wade will be out there with Miller, Smith and Thomas while Bosh gets a blow. Or LeBron and Bosh are out there with House, Stackhouse and Howard while Wade sits. Putting together a bench won’t be tough to do, not when Riley, LeBron, Wade and Bosh can recruit with a championship ring as the carrot at the end of the proverbial stick.

HOLLYWOOD - JULY 11:  Dwyane Wade and Lebron James attend the ESPN The Magazine Presents Summer Fun 2006 party on July 11, 2006 in Hollywood, California.  (Photo by Chad Buchanan/Getty Images)

Challenge #2: Find a way for LeBron and Wade to play together.
Not only are the pundits wondering about the Heat’s bench, there is the notion that Wade and LeBron can’t play together because their games are too similar. Balderdash. They will find a way, and it won’t be all that difficult. While it’s true that both players are used to dominating the ball, up to this point they’ve had to dominate the ball. They need to go up-tempo and typically shoot early in the shot clock, this gives plenty of time for LeBron to penetrate and set up Wade and vice-versa. Since both players are better creators/finishers than they are shooters, they would both benefit from having a few extra seconds to put the ball on the floor when they catch the ball. I don’t think one guy needs to be ‘the man’ in crunch time situations. As long as it’s discussed beforehand, if it’s an even 50/50 split, or if Bosh is involved as well every so often, there are ways to draw up last-second plays that provide several different options based on how the defense is set up. It would certainly help if Pat Riley is calling the shots, and not Erik Spoelstra. When the chips are down, LeBron is more likely to buy in to a play designed for Wade, and vice versa, if Riley is the one with the marker in his hand.

As for Bosh, he’s can fit in a few different ways. He’s excellent on the block, so the Heat can dump it into him if they can’t get a great shot early in the shot clock. He’s also very good on the pick-and-pop, which both LeBron and Wade execute very well. Bosh is just the kind of shot-making big man that should be able to flourish alongside playmakers like LeBron and Wade.

If the Heat can overcome these two challenges, they will be well on their way to hoisting the trophy next June. Either way, it will be fascinating to watch how this experiment plays out.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

Reaction to Wade and Bosh’s interview on ESPN

Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh just announced in an interview with Michael Wilbon that they’ll be signing with the Miami Heat.

Here are a few random thoughts about the interview:

– Wilbon did a pretty good job of asking pointed questions (Wade-Chicago, Spoelstra-Riley, Bosh-Toronto, Bosh-Cleveland) but when Bosh sidestepped the Cleveland S&T question, he let it go.

– Wade spoke as if he didn’t have any inside info about where LeBron will play next season. He said he’ll be in front of the TV like the rest of us.

– Wade said that he’d take less money if it meant that the Heat could bring in better players. How much less is the real question.

– Wade said that he chose the Heat because Bosh wanted to play in Miami. That’s interesting, because Bosh seemed open to joining the Bulls as well. Basically, Wade put the onus of his decision NOT to play in Chicago on Bosh’s desire to play in Miami.

– Wade on Chicago: “Chicago, they had my heart. I tear up a little bit right now just thinking about the opportunity I had.” Of course, Wade has said before that his heart was in Miami, so it must own a couple of homes.

– Wade said that Erik Spoelstra is his coach, and is Bosh’s coach, but he accidentally called Pat Riley “Coach Riley.” Freudian slip, I say.

– When Wilbon asked Bosh to give LeBron one last pitch, he declined, saying that LeBron already had enough people in his ear.

Dwyane Wade takes second meeting with Bulls

Ira Winderman reports the following on his Twitter feed

Potentially staggering news, Dwyane Wade is poised to meet again tonight with the Bulls, likely in the presence of his agent.

For a time, it seemed like Wade was one of the few top free agents that would stay put. Now it looks like he may bolt to Chicago after indicating all summer that he planned to stay in Miami.

This is a strange turn of events, and Pat Riley has to be feeling the heat. (No pun intended.) Not only is he potentially going to lose his star player, but Wade’s free agency courtship is undercutting the Heat’s ability to sell the idea of playing with Wade in South Florida.

And didn’t he just badmouth the Bulls franchise a few days ago?

Update: Chad Ford has a source that says that Wade is leaning towards signing with the Bulls.

Related Posts