NBA / Sep 22, 2008 / 9:00 am

Highs and Lows: Miami Heat

Shawn MarionShawn Marion, Dime #29

NBA training camps start up in a couple weeks. In the meantime, we’re going team-by-team, from 1 to 30, exploring what each team’s ceiling is for the upcoming season and where their basement is. In other words, what are the realistic best-case and worst-case scenarios for each squad?

Additions: PF/SF Michael Beasley, PG Mario Chalmers, SF James Jones, C Jamaal Magloire, SG Yakhouba Diawara.

Losses: SF Ricky Davis, PG Jason Williams, C Earl Barron.

Ceiling: Eastern Conference Finals
If any ’08 Lottery team can mirror the Celtics’ historic turnaround, it’s Miami, who should be — barring significant injuries — drastically better than the D-League class reunion roster we saw last season. Dwyane Wade is healthy and right back in the “Best Player On The Planet” discussions he regularly populated a couple of years ago. Shawn Marion is still in his prime, and between moving back to his natural SF position and playing for a coach who hopefully won’t run him ragged a la Mike D’Antoni, could have a monster year. Beasley’s rookie-year ceiling is somewhere around 20 and 10 every night if he keeps his nose clean. Surrounding the Wade/Matrix/Beasley trio are solid role players like Udonis Haslem, James Jones, Dorell Wright and Daequan Cook, and the Heat could get even better if Alonzo Mourning returns during the season from last year’s knee injury anywhere near his prior form. With D-Wade leading the way and Marion and Beasley settling into their complimentary roles, the Heat could be as good as any team in the NBA.

Basement: First-round exit
Even if Wade stays healthy and plays at the same MVP level he did in ’06, and even if Marion has a career year, this team still has red flags. For starters, Beasley could hit the rookie wall. And to continue the comparison to the ’08 Celtics, Miami has major questions marks at point guard, center, with its bench and its coach. Chris Quinn, Chalmers and Marcus Banks will be vying for the starting PG job in training camp, and each has his flaws, from Quinn’s slight frame/defense to Chalmers’ inexperience to Banks’ lack of any redeemable skills beyond speed and athleticism. Magloire and Mark Blount are the top two centers; Magloire is playing at an X-Mo pace at this point in his career, and Blount often acts like he’d rather be a two-guard. A lot of the key bench guys are young and don’t have big-stage experience. And first-year coach Erik Spoelstra not only has to deal with the pressures of being new to the position and leading a team with high expectations, but he’s also got to consider the possibility of Pat Riley swooping in to hi-jack his job if the team is too good too soon. Give them a year to get Spoelstra comfortable, for Beasley to get used to the NBA grind, for Wade to prove he can play somewhere close to a full 82, for the front office to figure out what it wants to do with Marion (or perhaps bring in Carlos Boozer), and Miami should be be right up there competing for a championship.

’08-09 NBA preview archives
9/19 — Portland Trail Blazers
9/18 — New Jersey Nets
9/17 — Minnesota Timberwolves
9/16 — Cleveland Cavaliers
9/15 — Phoenix Suns
9/12 — Milwaukee Bucks
9/11 — L.A. Clippers
9/10 — Orlando Magic

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  • Sam I Am

    Eastern Conference Finals?!?!??!

    Please

    That’s way too generous and the Blazers only got 1st round?

  • loganlight

    The Blazers don’t have Dwayne Wade…

    But yeah, I also think that Eastern Conference is a bit high of a ceiling for the Heat – and I’m a fan. Too many questions at the Center position for me.

    But then again, they do have a top 3 two guard in Wade… Stranger things have happened.

    LL

  • mavid

    I agree with the ceiling. They could come together and be that good (Wade looked amazing this summer, and Beasley could dominate early and often).

    I think the basement is off though. Until we see that Wade is completely capable of playing the entire season, and that Beasley doesn´t give up 21 and 11 (when he is getting his 20 and 10), I dont think they are a LOCK to make the playoffs.

    You got teams like Atlanta, Washington, Toronto, etc that could be holding down the lower brackets of the playoffs.

  • reezzzy

    @ Sam I Am

    Probably because they are in the East. In the West they wouldn’t be sure of qualifying for the playoffs at all.

  • Sam I Am

    @ reezzzy

    I think that if we had to set up possible Eastern Conf. Finals Matchups, I would go with….

    Celtics vs Cavs , Magic , Pistons , MAYBEEEEE Toronto (stranger things have happened)

    But Heat uuggghhhhhh I don’t know

    – Pierce & Wade would cancel out
    – Beasley is still JUST a rookie, with issues
    – Marion is too passive in the playoffs
    – Heat 3 doesn’t have a big man in the equation like Celts KG
    – With possible seeding the Heat could get knocked out by any of the teams I just mentioned, except Toronto
    – Even the Wiz might give them buckets

  • Ian

    sam i am
    remember in the east anything is possibullllll

  • John

    Everything must be perfect to the Heat if they are thinkng in ECF ,,,, no injuries, no intern problems, good coaching, Super Mario and Beasley CO ROY, D-Wade MVP, and MAgloire MIP …. no way, and I’m a Heat fan ,,, But 6 or 7 seed it is probably the best bet ..

  • johnsacrimoni

    @Mavid
    Well said
    @Sam I Am
    What’s so special about the Magic? You think they’re going to go that far?

  • Sam I Am

    @ johnsacrimoni

    I think with the Magic, given the right match up and another year to gel, its just a matter of beating 2 weaker teams to advance.

    We know they taking the SouthEast Div.

    so possible matchups are :

    Wiz
    Heat

    2nd round would be like Cavs or something but maybe you right maybe the Pistons would beat them in the Semis

  • http://myspace.com/40sand9s loc

    if Cleveland can make the conference finals, so can Miami, both have an incredible talent and Wade has a better supporting cast. What could Bron do with a Marion calibur player?

    also, loving these Highs and Lows articles, good reads

  • Kobeef

    If this ceiling is accurate you have to assume that
    Wade + Beasely + Marion = Allen + Pierce + KG ….
    I think that is a bit “off”

    I think the Heat a ripe for a mid-season blockbuster trade that involves Haslem and Marion. That said, the Celtics won with Kendrick Perkins as a starter so don’t under-estimate the impact of 3 all-star calibre starters.

  • Smooth

    sam i am no way you kidding me pierce & dwade cancel out dwade owns pierce he aint on dwades level when hes at his best, pierce is way past it now he only averaged 21 ppg in 08 playoffs dwade did that as a rookie lol, wade 06 finals mvp 35 ppg, pierce 08 finals mvp 22 ppg that aint even close, wade going against a stronger piston team was shooting around 70 fg% in the first four games in 06 thats an alltime record with kareem just below

  • Smooth

    just wanna say im no paul pierce hater i love his game but the dude is slowing down hes past it hes on the downside of his career

  • dagwaller

    I think that the Heat will be closer to their basement than their ceiling (but I appreciate the ballsy call, Austin).

    I think that too many assumptions are being made about:
    A.) Beasley. Is he _really_ NBA ready? As in, people are declaring this a big 3…with a rookie being part of that equation? I look at the Wizards, with a scoring guard, a do-everything SF, and I see some similarities to the Heat team. I’d say Wade and Marion are better than Gil and Caron. But then you add in Antawn vs. Beasley, and I’m not sure that he’s already ready to be better than an All-Star PF. To say nothing of the coaching/experience disparity between the two teams…

    B.) Wade. Is he really healthy? Granted, he played an _amazing_ Olympics. No doubt that when he’s healthy, he’s a top 15 player. But the Olympics were a pretty small sample; how will he hold up during the NBA season?

    C.) Marion. Who knows what to expect from this guy? Not to say that he’s a headache on the level of Ron Artest, but obviously his grumblings/trade demands got him out of Phoenix. Especially with the Boozer rumors (which, for the record, I have NEVER heard anything substantial – could possibly maybe just be media/fan speculation and hopefulness), might he even _be_ in Miami come season’s end? Is he even the same player he was when he was in Phoenix?

    Finally, the multi-million dollar question: he was the third biggest deal in Phoenix, and he wanted to be treated like the number one (idiot). Now that he’s out of a successful team out West, he comes to the Heat, where he’s…going to be the third biggest deal again, (far) behind Wade, and at least for a season (rookie hype), Beasley. But if Beasley develops into a good/very good player immediately, Marion is going to be the third option…again. How will he handle that?

    Too much talent on this roster vs. the talent on the bottom of the playoff pool in the East NOT to make the playoffs…but not enough to make me think that they’ll get past the first round.

  • Sam I Am

    Preach Dagwaller….

    And clearly Smooth… He did it to your boy Kobe and KOBE IS LEAPS AND BOUNDS better than some banged up bama name WADE…

    I love Wade but he aint show me anything except when he’s on an all star team play overseas he can win, WELL DUH who can’t

    SO clearly Wade and Pierce cancel out

  • Smooth

    let me guess u a kobe fan since all kobe fans are wade haters, wade would own pierce & i used 2 always think kobe was better than wade but id take 06 finals mvp wade over kobe all day but i still think kobes the best in the league

  • Smooth

    hold i got it worng ur a celtics fan who hates wade & kobe

  • Smooth

    pierce didnt do nothing 2 kobe, the whole boston defense was locked onto kobe no1 else on teh alkers helped kob out, while pierce had kg & ray so the defense couldnt focus on anyone of them

  • Smooth

    kobe = pierce all day man

  • Smooth

    i cant believe u celtics fans kobe had a bad series & still had better stats than pierce the finals mvp

  • Sam I Am

    I’m a Wolves fan and root for the home team here in DC at times…

    – But clearly, Wade is NOT on Kobe’s level
    – Pierce has proven and put in his work, Wade is establishing his name
    – that same defense would frustrate Wade cause it’s not like his bamafied teammates could help

  • Smooth

    LOL

  • Smooth

    i get what ur sayin , but 06 playoffs wade would of killed boston i dont see them stoping him when hes on his game like that

  • Sam I Am

    LOL i can’t live in Wade’s shadow of a couple years ago.

    I know he was awesome in 06, I was rootin for them to put it to the Mavs.

    But today he is still on the outside and trying to get back in.

    Pierce at least still has his core of VETERAN and talented players, been to the Easten Conference Finals more than Wade and has a LEGIT chance of repeating

    Wade is trying to have Chuck not call him on his T-Mobile

  • Sam I Am

    you know what X the Eastern Conf Finals comment

    I forgot they lost to Detroit that one year..lol HATE YOU

  • Smooth

    yeah i didnt say the heat would beat the celtics that would be crazy but im sayin wade wouldnt roll over against the celtics like kobe did in the finals

  • Smooth

    in 05 pistons got em in 7 games, i was so pissed when pistons lost gm7 vs spurs in 05 finals i wanted them 2 get back 2 back championships

  • Kudabeen

    Isn’t Ricky Davis an Addition by Subtraction??

  • Smooth

    hahahaha

  • chris

    if wade is healthy all year and beasley was 6’10”, the two plus marion would win 50 games for the heat this year- as it is, they will get the heat to the playoffs IF all 3 stay healthy all year – a bigger question mark for wade and beasley than marion. going further would mean acquiring a quality big man.

  • Jah

    PG – Mario Chalmers
    SG – Dwyane Wade
    SF – Michael Beasley
    PF – Shawn Marion
    C – Jamaal Magloire
    ——–
    G – Daequan Cook, Marcus Banks, Chris Quinn
    F – Udonis Haslem, James Jones, Dorrell Wright
    C – Alonzo Mourning, Mark Blount

    Personally, I think this squad finishes above .500 this year in the Eastern Conference.

  • MSkittle

    Their basement is lower. Like not making the playoffs at all

  • miamiVIS3

    First of all thank you Austin for finally doing this one.
    Second I do agre that thier basement is lower although thier ceiling is just right.
    @ Sam I am
    u said that Beasley had issues but those elleged issues are off the court not on it.
    other than that there’s not much I can add.

  • miamiVIS3

    * agree and their

  • x3

    Sam I Am says:

    I’m a Wolves fan and root for the home team here in DC at times…

    – But clearly, Wade is NOT on Kobe’s level
    – Pierce has proven and put in his work, Wade is establishing his name
    – that same defense would frustrate Wade cause it’s not like his bamafied teammates could help

    ********************
    woah either you’re the most biased hater ever or you ride the short yellow bus every morning. i’m sorry but this is just ridiculous.

    1. not on kobe’s level? when not healthy sure. I even concede i think kobe is a better player. but to say wade’s not on his level is just asinine. he single handedly carried his team to a ship. and if i recall he still has something neither bron nor Kobe have. a finals mvp. they may be a better. but he IS on their level. just as clutch. just and impactful when healthy and motivated.

    2. how in **** is pierce more “proven” than wade? wade’s best statistical years are much better than pierce’s best. arguably his worst last year are on to par with some of pierce’s best. he’s accumulated more accolades than pierce in much less time. he’s had more postseason success. (last season being the first year he even missed the playoffs) and honestly he’s just a flat more dominant. and anyone who’s watched more than last years finals will tell you that.

    3. wade is not kobe. he’s a relentless attacker with a much deadlier first step. the celtics defense probably would frustrate him also but i suspect he would eventually get away from them the same way Bron did in game 7. he won’t sit on the perimeter like Kobe and just bomb up threes. that’s not his game. i don’t think pierce would have the same type of success because d wade is just a completely different animal. his explosiveness would give him fits.

  • x3

    anywho the subject at hand. i would be optimistic if miami could sneak in as a seven or eight seed. i think realistically thier cieling is more like semi-finals and their basement is like the lottery. if all goes well they could really be a dangerous team if they make it to the post season. but they could just s easily be lottery bound again. if beasley is not as impactful as predicted.

  • milky

    He is professional. There are lots of his fans on ___tallloving.com___ for professional athletes, moive stars and modles talking about him recently? BTW, guys, lots of sexy girls and models turn up there. I’ve been there for day, it seems the girls are not hard to hook up.

  • http://www.geocities.com/dimemag Dagomar

    “With D-Wade leading the way and Marion and Beasley settling into their complimentary roles, the Heat could be as good as any team in the NBA.”

    Except they have next to nothing at the two most important positions in the NBA and they can’t sniff a bench. That has Eastern Champs written all over it, right?