With LeBron officially making the leap down to South Beach the NBA has a new “Big 3” and one that unlike Boston’s version is young and primed to make a run at multiple titles. While the combination of LeBron, D-Wade, and Chris Bosh is pretty awesome an NBA team is made up of 12 players and no matter how dominant the “Big 3” windup being they need complimentary pieces around them.
The Heat made a smart move signing sharpshooter Mike Miller to a five year deal today. Miller is a career 40% shooter from behind the arc and will open up the floor for LeBron and D-Wade to drive to the rack. Miller will also benefit from LeBron’s uncanny ability drive and dish while bringing defensive energy and an egoless attitude on a team of huge egos.
The only remaining player not named Dwayne Wade from last years Heat roster is point guard Mario Chalmers. Going into his third season out of Kansas Chalmers has the ability to be an effective point guard on a team of superstar although he will need to up his assists per game from 4.2 to around 6 or 7. Chalmers won’t be a breakout star next to the “Big 3” the way Rajon Rondo was but Chalmers is a nice young point guard that could see a major boost in his numbers with the influx of talent.
They did a pretty good job working this years draft picking three players that can immediately contribute and a project in the second round. The steal of their draft was unquestionably DeSean Butler out of West Virginia. Butler is a special player that fell in the draft after a major knee injury in the tournament. Butler is a physically gifted small forward that once healthy can bring the Heat some outside shooting and tenacity on defense. More than anything Butler is a mature, tough minded forward that will become a quick favorite of his new teammates.
One pick before Butler the Heat took Power Forward Jarvis Varnado out of Mississippi State. The 6’9” Varnado is a shot blocking monster averaging 4.7 per game during his senior season; he is the prototypical defensive power forward with a ridiculous wingspan and an explosive vertical with a great second jump. Varnado’s offensive game is extremely raw but he knows his limitations and will not be a player demanding the ball.
With the second pick in the second round the Heat took 6’10” 290lbs. center Dexter Pittman out of Texas. Pittman is a monster in the paint that should be able to use his huge frame and surprising length to battle with taller, more athletic big men for rebounds. Pittman has a fairly mature offensive post game with a nice developing hook shot and a soft touch around the basket that should help Pittman get easy baskets without forcing Head Coach Erik Spoelstra to run plays for him. I see a lot of Glenn “Big Baby” Davis in Pittman.
And finally the Heat took Latavious Williams, the first player to go from high school directly into the D-League. The 6’8” 190lbs. Power Forward is a super athletic projectable prospect, although he is a project with a very rudimentary grasp of the game of basketball. More than likely Williams will play another year in the D-League to develop his game because he simply isn’t ready to pair with a title contender.
The with the “Big 3” to go along with Chalmers, Miller, Varnado, Butler, and Pittman the Heat will need to find 4 more pieces to fill out their roster and give this team some much needed depth. I have a few ideas of some veteran players that may come to Miami for a low salary just to play on a team that could be very special.
Shaq could go back to Miami and give them 20-24 minutes a game off the bench. Shaq would be a nice addition that could clog up the lane on defense and showed flashes of his once dominant offensive ability last season. I think this may be a long shot because Shaq didn’t exactly shower Heat General Manager Pat Riley or Dwayne Wade with compliments on his way out of South Beach.
Zydrunas Ilgauskas could be the second player to jet his way out of Cleveland in favor of South Beach. Granted “Big Z” is on the down slope of his career at 35 but he is an excellent pick and pop player that knows how to play with LeBron.
Another big man that could be a contributor in the paint for the Heat could be Joel Przybilla. Pryzbilla has had a lot of knee injuries and his body may be breaking down at 30 but he could come to Miami on the cheap and give the Heat 6 points, 8 rebounds, and a block in around 20-23 minutes per game.
Perhaps the best fit in Miami would be Brad Miller; Miller is a seven footer that has is going to bring a toughness and intensity that would mesh well with the “Big 3”. Miller could bring 8 points, 8 rebounds, and 3 assists in around 29-32 minutes a game and allow Bosh to play Power Forward where he can excel. Miller may be a good fit because at 34 years of age and going into his 12th NBA season Miller maybe ready to take a short, small contract and win a title or two as he walks into the sunset.
Stepping out of the paint, if the Heat aren’t completely sold on Mario Chalmers at the point they could reach out to Raymond Felton. Felton isn’t a great scorer but he has proven he can be a decent distributor and honestly isn’t that the only thing the Heat should be looking for in a potential point guard? Felton at just 25 may not be willing to play for a million dollars a year but if they could figure something out Felton could be a nice fit in Miami.
A few other veterans to keep an eye on are Michael Finley, Anthony Carter, Eddie House, Kyle Lowry, Roger Mason, Richard Jefferson, Luke Ridnour, and Joe Smith.
In the end the Heat are going to be the team to beat in the Eastern Conference next year no matter what role players they place around 3 of the 10 best players in the world. I have complete faith in Pat Riley to flip on the charm and bring in some surprisingly interesting players to fill out the roster in Miami.