2011 NBA Offseason: Miami Heat

Written by Paul Banks of the Washington Times, David Kay and Peter Christian of the The Sports Bank. Send Paul an e-mail here: paulb05 AT hotmail DOT com.
All other e-mail, including advertising and link proposals, send to: [email protected]

Miami Heat (Last Year: 58-24)

2011 NBA Draft Team Grade:

With Reggie Jackson and Nolan Smith off the board, the Heat felt it needed to move up a couple spots to grab a point guard whom it felt could contibute right away, and Norris Cole was the best one on the board. It didn’t cost them much to move up three spots, and it helps fill a need. (Team Grade: Makes sense)

Live 2011 NBA Draft Grades:

28. Norris Cole, PG, Cleveland State
The Heat acquired Cole (28th pick) from Minnesota for No. 31. Miami needs an upgrade at the point with a few point guards going higher than expected, the Heat needed to make a move to grab a guy they like. Cole should be able to find a role with Miami right away if they do not make a major move in free agency or trade to grab a vet point. (Pick Grade: Makes sense)

*** 2011 NBA Offseason Needs and Free Agents listed below this comment box. ***

2010-11 Season Summary:
You have to give the Heat this; even though they fell short in winning the World Championship, they helped create quite possibly the most entertaining 12 months of NBA basketball since the mid-90s. But with all the hype surrounding the Yankees of the NBA, anything short of a NBA title is a disappointment.

It took some time, but Miami was able to find its groove after a slow start. The team went 49-13 after beginning the year with a 9-8 mark, and did so short-handedly as Mike Miller missed half of the regular season and Udonis Haslem was limited to just 13 games due to injury before returning in the postseason.

One of the many questions surrounding the Heat this season was how their role players would complement the Big Three. Miller and Haslem were supposed to be big factors in that equation, but Miami had to look elsewhere, relying on guys like James Jones, Joel Anthony, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Mario Chalmers, Carlos Arroyo, Eddie House, and even washed up veterans like Erick Dampier and Mike Bibby in hopes of finding an additional boost.

But with the Heat, it all revolves around their superpower trio. Not needing to burden the load like he did in Cleveland, LeBron saw his numbers dip some but still proved to be one of the best all-around players in the league. Dwyane Wade also benefited from having some responsibility lifted from his shoulders and emerged as the closer of the team.

Chris Bosh proved what we already knew; a soft power forward who is more comfortable hitting mid-range shots than trying to be a true presence in the post. Of the Big Three, Bosh received the most criticism throughout the season and truly appeared to be riding the coattails of his two new teammates.

So how do you judge the first year of this experiment in South Beach? Finishing with the second best record in the Eastern Conference is probably right on par with what most expected from this team. We knew it was going to take some time for the pieces to gel together and that is what happened. Yet, Miami was still the favorite come the NBA Finals, but failed to cash in on their preseason promise. Before it is all said and done though, expect the Heat to be laughing last.

2011-12 Projected Depth Chart:

C: Udonis Haslem/Joel Anthony/Zydrunas Ilgauskas/Dexter Pittman

PF: Chris Bosh

SF: LeBron James/Mike Miller

SG: Dwyane Wade/Eddie House

PG: #Mario Chalmers/Norris Cole

NBA Free Agents:

#PG-Mario Chalmers (RFA)

PG-Mike Bibby (UFA)

SF-James Jones (UFA)

PF-Juwan Howard (UFA)

C-Erick Dampier (UFA)

C-Jamaal Magloire (UFA)

Offseason Transactions:

C Zydrunas Ilgauskas and G Eddie House pick up player option

2010-11 Team Salary: Approximately $65.3 million

NBA Offseason Needs:

1. Brain Surgeon for LeBron: LeBron took an absolute beating for his fourth quarter no-shows in the NBA Finals, and you cannot help but wonder how that might effect his psyche heading into next season. He has been able to brush off the criticism in the past but with the growing reputation of being a choke artist, Miami needs to make sure LeBron has his head straight this offseason and can put the Finals in his rear view.

2. Point Guard: From Mario Chalmers to Carlos Arroyo to a washed up Mike Bibby; the Heat just did not have a point guard. Chalmers showed glimpses at times of being a solid role player but is a restricted free agent. Miami does not need a point guard who can create and find open teammates; LeBron and Dwyane Wade can handle that responsibility. Instead, the Heat has to add a point guard who can defend and also knock down open jump shots since LeBron and Wade are inconsistent from the perimeter.

3. True Big: The world knows that Chris Bosh is one of the softest power forwards in the league so Miami needs to find a capable big man who can protect the rim and maybe give Miami some sort of a back-to-the-basket scoring presence. Haslem is a solid role player, but best suited playing the four while Joel Anthony is nothing more than an energy guy who should be seeing regular minutes. Add in Big Z’s free agency, and it leaves a hole in the middle for the Heat.

Fantasy Football Rankings - May 23

2025 NFL Mock Draft - May 21

NFL Power Rankings - Feb. 22

NFL Picks - Feb. 12