After starting the season 5-2, your Miami Heat stand at 8-7 now after losing to the Warriors. Far from being a death knell so early in the season, there are things that can change now in order to stay in the win column.
1. CB’s Continued Recalibration
Maybe its a readjustment thing, maybe its a mindset thing; but, Chris Bosh needs to continue his recalibrating process. After beginning the season in dominant fashion scoring 20+ points and having a diverse presence on the floor, CB1 languished to the point of going through probably the worst game he has had in a Heat uniform against Milwaukee. Bosh is a mental player, he needs to be in a proper focus in order for him to be a dominant force on the court. Coming back to the take no prisoners attitude he began the season with, CB will be just fine.
2. What to Do with the Injuries
Far from making excuses, it is still notable that the injuries on this team prevent any sort of consistency. Beginning with Wade and Haslem, and ending with McRoberts and Granger, having these guys and others either not playing or continuing to play at half speed will take its toll for now. However, with proper recovery times, the Heat will start ablaze at the precise moment in the season. This leads me to the next point…
3. Changing Lineups
With so many key players languishing due to injury, it should become evident to Coach Spoelstra that now is the time to be tinkering with the lineups. He did this yesterday once again using Cole and Chalmers as the starting backcourt. He did so the first time Wade sat out the game having Ennis start in his place. Knowing the tremendous force the Ennis and Napier duo presents, it could be exciting to see them both start. Maybe it is also the appropriate time to go deeper into the bench and bring forth Andre Dawkins or the newly signed Hassan Whiteside to the fore now as a means of understanding what lineups are not only productive but also the ones that will outlast the pressures during the Playoffs.
4. Defense, Defense, Defense.
Heat basketball has always been associated with defense. This should not change. In the loss against the Warriors, the Heat struggled to detain the other team’s 3-pt. rush late in the game. Given the new blood on this team, it would be good to see more zone schemes that create mismatches for the other team especially those that rely heavily on outside shooting. Doing so also creates diversions the Heat can use to force turnovers like the one that lead to Chalmers’ steal and impressive behind-the-back pass.
5. Versatile Team Ball
In keeping in line with the identity of this team, versatility comes naturally. Starting with the veteran leaders and ending with the rookie dynamic duo, it is essential for this Heat team to coalesce in their diversity. D-Wade in addition to his attack the court mentality was finding a renewed comfort in his 3-pt shooting prior to the injury. Bosh is having a greater presence in the paint while also increasing his assists. Deng is finding a greater awareness of his shot placements while continuing to bolster his accuracy. While subtle, the changes the veterans are making to be more versatile in addition to the young guns wanting to be everywhere on the floor will stretch the court more and fuel greater ball movement that will only make the Heat even more dangerous in the long-run.