Blog Entry

Five offseason questions for the Heat

Posted on: June 13, 2011 3:17 pm
Edited on: June 13, 2011 4:25 pm
Posted by Royce Young

MIAMI -- They didn't win it all. They came up short. And so the Heat are left asking themselves questions today. Why didn't they get it done? What went wrong? And what can they do to fix it?

Reality is, they were two games short of an NBA title and the way the series went, they can kick themselves quite a bit for blowing it. Dallas was absolutely the better team and rightful winner, but remember: The Heat blew a 15-point fourth quarter lead and had Game 4 in their grasp before faltering late again. So it's not like they have a thousand mile road to walk. They're at the gates. They've just got to break through.

But here are five questions they'll be asking this offseason.

1. What's missing?
Obviously the weakest link on the team is the point guard position. The Heat tried out Carlos Arroyo, Mario Chalmers and eventually Mike Bibby before coming back to Chalmers in Game 6 of The Finals. LeBron James and Dwyane Wade handle most of the playmaking responsibilities, but they need someone reliable and responsible to run the offense well and defend his counterpart.

So much the reason the Heat's offense bogged down in big spots was because there wasn't real chemistry or cohesiveness on the court. That could be remedied by having a solid floor general next to LeBron and Wade to make sure each set is ran properly. Chalmers isn't a horrible option, but he's a really strange player. One second great, the next horrible. And consistency is extremely key here.

2. Is Erik Spoelstra the right man for the job?
My opinion (because who else's would it be?) -- yes. There's absolutely no reason to give up on Spoelstra just because of the way The Finals played out. Everyone wants to find a reason for the Heat's demise, and while Spoelstra certainly has blood on his hands, if LeBron hadn't disappeared, Miami would probably be planning a celebration today or at least practicing for a Game 7.

Spoelstra is still one of the youngest coaches in the league and considering all that he managed and had to work through this season, I'd say he did a pretty terrific job. So much outside distraction, so much drama. But Spoelstra took his team -- which has a ton of talent of course -- to within a couple wins of a championship. Could he have done better? Duh. But there's a lot of blame to go around with the Heat. Just like the Mavericks won as a team, the Heat lost as one, top to bottom. Continuity is a good thing and pinning it all on Spoelstra simply isn't fair.

3. Is there something structurally wrong with the roster?
Yes, absolutely. Not in terms of Wade and LeBron not fitting together. But just in terms of vision. Pat Riley, for as good a job he did in constructing this monster of a team, sort of panicked and didn't stick to his original plan of filling out the roster with young talent that can grow alongside Wade, LeBron and Bosh. Instead, he sort of panicked and started piling up aging veterans at minimum contracts.

I mean look at the back end of that roster. Jamaal Magloire, Erick Dampier, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Eddie House, Mike Bibby, Juwan Howard -- that looks more like a group that should be playing in a Saturday morning men's league, not the NBA Finals. That's half the active roster too.

Riley needs to scrap the veteran plan and look to find some young talent to develop that fits around his big three. Players that can adjust, adapt and improve as they go along. A really nice core is there. Bosh, Wade, LeBron, Mike Miller, Udonis Haslem and even Joel Anthony can be a good piece. But the Heat need talent, not older guys trying to sail one last championship. There might be some growing pains to go through next season if Riley went that direction, but that's what LeBron, Wade and Bosh are for. They can carry you through while the young guys figure it out.

4. What's the offseason plan?

Say goodbye to all the expirings. Just let them walk right out. Peace out Mike Bibby, Zydrunas Ilgauskas (he's retiring anyway), Jamaal Magloire, Juwan Howard, Erick Dampier and even Mario Chalmers. I'd let them all go. Eddie House and James Jones both have player options so you have to think they'll exercise those.

But between Miami's top six players, they have almost $67 million tied up. So figuring out how to fill in a roster around those guys will be a challenge. And a lot of where their future goes depends on the new collective bargaining agreement. Assuming the system stays somewhat similar to what we have now, a couple veteran minimums and a then younger players that can develop. The Heat don't need a ton of depth. There's a flaw in the plan because they need a good point guard and they'll never have the money to get one, but that where Riley's got to earn his money. Go find one.

5. Are they the favorites in the East again?
Right next to the Bulls, absolutely. It'll likely be a three-team race between the Heat, Bulls and the aging Celtics. Orlando could make some noise and the Hawks aren't terribly far off. Even the Knicks could challenge for that four-seed with a full season of Amar'e and Carmelo.

But the Heat simply have the most talent in the conference. There are issues on the roster -- big ones -- but that should tell you how talented Wade, LeBron and Bosh are. They were able to win 58 games and reach the NBA Finals in spite of all those flaws. They need a little more help and a little more structure to the team, but there's absolutely no reason this group can't find themselves right back in The Finals again.

Since: Feb 12, 2010
Posted on: June 19, 2011 7:38 am

Five offseason questions for the Heat

Five questions... hmmm.
1. Should we let lebum speak to the media next season?
2. Refer to 1
3. Refer to 1
4. Refer to 1
5. Refer to 1

Maybe they should send him to english classes to learn how to speak. What the hell was he trying to say about people having to get up and live their lives. I mean was that even english. Talk about a run on sentence. It still makes me smile to know that he is that stupid. Go ahead lebum live your life.  It seems thats the same moto your mom has... and it really works for her.   

Since: Dec 1, 2009
Posted on: June 17, 2011 10:46 pm

Five offseason questions for the Heat

Here's a thought, Lebron is just not a clutch player when it matters. I could understand his issues in Cleveland when he had no one to help him. But there is just no excuse now. He now plays for a team that has, arguably 2 other superstars and guess what......Lechoke shined again. He's a very good player, just not a great player. Oh well!!!!!!

Since: Dec 18, 2008
Posted on: June 17, 2011 9:59 pm

Five offseason questions for the Heat

They need a defensive stopper, preferablly a 2 or 3 who can guard just about any other 2 or 3 out there.  Lebron was trying to be the defensive hero for the Heat and look how the rest of his game faired because of it.  They also need to have Lebron play his natural game.....take it to the hoop and get to the foul line.  If he doesn't have anything dish out to Wade or Miller. 

I really feel as a team they complicated things way too much and much of the time they were very impatient.  This probably starts with Lebron, but they also need a coach to keep these guys grounded and stick to what they do best.  Take it to the hoop, force double teams, and find the open guy--simple. 

Thay can win a championship with who they have now, but they need to figure things out and be a more mature bunch of players with a gameplan.  Too often they were "adapting" but championship teams dictate the game.  Maybe a new coach is what they need.     


Since: Feb 10, 2010
Posted on: June 17, 2011 8:28 pm

Five offseason questions for the Heat

if they get a big, there is the chance he would clog up the middle and take away wade and labron driving to the middle.dont think the kid from texas is the answer

Since: Apr 30, 2011
Posted on: June 17, 2011 6:15 pm

Five offseason questions for the Heat

Defense & three point shooting. The rest of the team can take an open threes at will due to constant double teaming & the Mavs exploited offensively with who ever wasn't being guarded by LeBron & Wade. They dont need a point guard at all in fact its stupid.

Since: Mar 28, 2007
Posted on: June 17, 2011 5:36 pm

Five offseason questions for the Heat

I agree with this assesment of the Heat. They need to let these expiring contracts go. But they're gonna have a hard time signing anybody. Do you think a young free agent is gonna sign with the Heat for less money and less playing time? I doubt it. And they're gonna have low draft picks and no way to trade for them. This idea of having three max contracts is gonna bite them in the butt.

Before the Finals started I called out the Heat on getting exploited at the PG spot, and in the post. Those were two strengths for the Mavs and the two weaknesses for the Heat. I mean the depth is always going to be a concern for these guys and if I was them Bosh would be the player I would trade if it came down to it, but we know that's not gonna happen. I'm just glad that my Bulls were smart and created a deep roster that is under contract so we won't have these future concerns that the Heat will be dealing with.

Since: Jan 17, 2007
Posted on: June 17, 2011 3:46 pm

Five offseason questions for the Heat

It's kind of silly to talk about how "close" the Heat was to winning, citing those Mav comebacks.  Those things almost ALWAYS happen in the playoffs...remember the Heat's own comeback to close out Chicago?  Or just last year when the Lakers overcame a 13 pt 2nd half deficit to beat the Celtics, in game 7?  Or for that matter, the 24 pt comeback the C's made against the Lakers on their way to the 2008 title?  Woulda, coulda, shoulda just doesn't mean jack.  As far as getting a better PG, I'm sure that would help, but then that would mean fewer touches for both Wade and James, and Bosh might never see the ball again!  A PG like Rose, or Paul, or Westbrook, or Deron Williams handles the ball about 70% of the time.  I think the structural flaws on this team may be unfixable.

Since: May 27, 2011
Posted on: June 17, 2011 2:39 pm

Five offseason questions for the Heat

"I guess you can say they need a floor general, I feel like they need a young big man more"

I was thinking exactly the same thing...for example, a zone D / doubling up LeBron or Wade would be less effective with a post presence / center who could get you 10+ ppg.....not that they don't need an upgrade @ PG, but I still think #1 need is a true center. Look at the Heat in 2006 - they had Shaq (ok they had D Wade and Zo also..) but Shaq made a big differnce in there (literally!)

Since: Sep 19, 2006
Posted on: June 17, 2011 1:40 pm

Five offseason questions for the Heat

I agree SuperJoe - the more gifted young talent will have a hard time growing with the big 3 getting so many touches.  they need young talent like a Noah or Taj, or even a young guard that can shoot lights out and not be a liability on defense.  Young guys come cheaper since they only get the rookie contract under the current rules.  It's definitely not easy to get good young talent, it can be hit or miss. 

the bulls lucked out with Taj who wasn't even the Bulls first draft pick that year, James Johnson was a total fail, he never seemed comfortable on an nba court.  the Heat really just need one or two more solid role players and they are set. 

Since: Jan 29, 2007
Posted on: June 17, 2011 10:17 am

Five offseason questions for the Heat

5. Are they the favorites in the East again?
Right next to the , absolutely. It'll likely be a three-team race between the Heat, Bulls and the aging . Orlando could make some noise and the aren't terribly far off. Even the could challenge for that four-seed with a full season of Amar'e and Carmelo.

I think the Pacers can be mentioned here as well, I wouldn't dismiss them at all!

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or