2013 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.
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Miami Heat (Last Year: 66-16)

2012-13 Season Summary:
It was certainly a grind in the playoffs, but much to the chagrin of most NBA fans, the Miami Heat made a dramatic comeback in the Finals against the San Antonio Spurs to repeat as NBA champions. It was well deserved though after an incredible regular season which included an incredible 27-game win streak.

During the runs, LeBron James continued to cement his legacy as one of the best players in league history by winning his fourth regular-season MVP and second-straight NBA Finals MVP. He pretty much did it all; played every position and led the team in points, rebounds, assists, and steals. LeBron also improved in what was considered his biggest weakness; his outside shooting, to the point where he connected more than 40% of his triple tries for the first time in his career.

His “Big Three” partners in crime, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, chipped in as well, but the Heat truly became LeBron’s team. This was especially the case in the playoffs when Wade had his struggles and Bosh was almost a non-factor at times like in Game 7 against the Spurs when he didn’t score a single point. Both Wade and Bosh did have their moments though and were integral to the team’s second consecutive title.

The rest of the roster was filled with role players who succeeded in doing their jobs. Ray Allen, Mike Miller, and Mario Chalmers knocked down shots as did Shane Battier who also did the dirty work on the defensive end. Udonis Haslem and Chris Andersen provided some needed rebounding inside to make up for a lack of a true big man on the roster. In other words, the pieces once again came together around the Big Three just as management hoped they would when the front office went all in with the trio three years ago.

2013-14 Projected Depth Chart:

C: Udonis Haslem/Joel Anthony

PF: Chris Bosh/Shane Battier/Rashard Lewis

SF: LeBron James/Mike Miller/James Jones

SG: Dwyane Wade/^Ray Allen

PG: Mario Chalmers/Norris Cole

NBA Free Agents:

^SG-Ray Allen (PO)

C-Chris Andersen (UFA)

PF-Juwan Howard (UFA)

2013-14 Team Salary: Approximately $85.6 million

NBA Offseason Team Needs:

1. True Big: The glaring weakness for this Miami team was its lack of a true big man inside who could bang with some of the more physical low post players in the NBA. Bosh lacks the physicality, Haslem doesn’t have the size, and Chris Andersen tried his best to fill that void. With Andersen a free agent this summer, the Heat needs to either re-sign him or look elsewhere with its mid-level exception to bring in a true center who can do a better job of patrolling the paint on the defensive end.

2. Lay Groundwork for Next Summer: The 2014 offseason will be very interesting for the Heat as LeBron, Wade, and Bosh will all have the option to opt out of their contracts. While Miami is probably praying that Bosh opts out of his deal, the team needs to start planning ahead for LeBron and Wade by getting them inked to extensions before either even flirts with the idea of testing the free agent market.

3. Convince Ray to Stay: Ray Allen has a player option for next season that would earn him about $3.2 million. The only way I could see him opting out would be in the hopes of getting a bigger payday from Miami, not because he wants to test free agency. Allen’s ability to shoot the ball was obviously vital to the Heat’s title run and the team needs him back next year.

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