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Heat considering starting lineup changes, but options limited

Nov 12, 2010, 11:54 PM EDT

LeBron James,  Dwayne Wade, Joel Anthony, Chris Bosh, Carlos Arroyo

It is way too early to panic in Miami. If you thought it was as simple as just rolling out the basketball, well, you’re one of those people that thinks Phil Jackson has just been lucky. Eleven times.

It was going to take time to figure out how to activate both LeBron James and Dwyane Wade at the same time, with one playing off the ball (something neither has done much of since junior high, at best). It was going to take time to figure out how to best use Chris Bosh in the offense. To see where the other parts fit in.

But right now, the parts aren’t fitting. Heat coach Erik Spoelstra is open to the idea of making lineup changes — putting in new starters — he told ESPN’s Heat Index.

“I’ll evaluate it all,” Spoelstra said after Friday’s practice at American Airlines Arena. “I’m trying to keep it consistent. But when you’re not having success, it makes you re-evaluate and you might have to make some changes. We’ll see. You’re always allowed to make changes if needed.”

The problem is — what changes can he really make?

Ira Winderman broke it down at the Sun Sentinel and the options are limited Wade, LeBron and Bosh will start. No matter what. (And if you are thinking of suggesting Bosh should come off the bench, I would suggest you need to start taking your meds again, you’re going crazy.) So the only moves are really at point guard and the center spot.

You could start Mario Chalmers at the point and give Carlos Arroyo a rest, under the theory that Chalmers is a better defender and three point shooter. But so far this season Arroyo has shot better — Chalmers has shot nothing but threes this season and has hit 28.6 percent of them. Not good. Arroyo has taken less but has hit half of them.

Basically, you don’t get a big improvement there. You could start James Jones — who has been the best three-point shooter on the team — but then you are asking Wade to cover the Rajon Rondos and Deron Williams. He can’t hang with them and risks foul trouble.

At the center spot, you could start Zydrunas Ilgauskas, who ha probably been the best of the Heat centers so far. But then you lose his punch off the bench and at age 35 with a dozen years under him he can’t play big minutes anyway.

So how about Jamaal Magloire at the five spot? He’s taller than Joel Anthony, he’s more physical if someone is the post. But again there is no offense to speak of from him, so you’re just getting a bigger but slower center. Is that an upgrade? Start Udonis Haslem and slide Bosh to the five, but as Boston showed that could lead to a softer Heat defense.

The real upgrade will come sometime around Christmas or the first part of next year when Mike Miller and his shooting return. Then you may well see the Big 3, Miller and somebody at center.

Until then, the Heat will have to get by with what they have now. And figure out how to make it fit together.

  1. thestudiokida - Nov 13, 2010 at 1:32 AM

    Agreed that there doesn’t seem to be many options, but take a mental note now that having Arroyo or Chalmers on the court with Wade & LeBron is just taking up space. They can’t shoot and have no business handling the ball. Ideally they would have signed a guy like Raja Bell who can defend anybody and doesn’t need the ball on offense. Maybe there will be a trade scenario for Shane Battier or some other gritty wing player.

    • henryd3rd - Nov 13, 2010 at 7:45 AM

      There are a lot of people around the league smiling at what has transpired in Miami with the Heat. There will be change and I can envision Riley bringing in a power forward and a decent center to help the so-called “Big Three”. Sadly Erik Spoelstra had better watch his back because there is a history of changing coaches when things in mid season.

  2. ericreives - Nov 13, 2010 at 1:56 AM

    Earl Barron FTW? Seriously, the Heat need size and Barron provides that a discount. He’s decent and that’s all the Heat need at this point. Barron provides a jumpshot, rebounding, and some blocks. Athletic enough to run the floor with Wade and James as well. Or they could take a look at Dwayne Jones who has been a rebounding machine in the D-League yet can’t get a look anywhere. Marcus Thornton should also be on the radar of the Heat. Get some scoring off the bench at a cheap price, if they can matchup with the Hornets.

  3. davidly - Nov 13, 2010 at 7:38 AM

    Here’s a thought: by signing all three stars at once, the Heat kept each’s salary below what they would have gotten anywhere else. That’s the brilliance of the move they made and I think they did it intentionally.

    Think about it. If Bosh functions well in this line-up, great, if not, they can trade him to a team that would’ve have had to have given him a bigger contract had they acquired him prior to this season.

    What d’y’all think about that?

  4. metalhead65 - Nov 13, 2010 at 12:02 PM

    I love how the season is going so far for the heat and hope it’s great reading about miami fans being in a panic over the start.that’s what you get when you act like you are entilted to a championship without having to earn it. as for just rolling out the ball and having them win it all I thought that’s all they had to do with the way they talked after the decsion. and sorry but until jackson does his coaching magic with the clippers or twolves or some other team that does not employ the best players then he will always be over rated in my book.seriously what other coach would consider coaching jordan and pippen,shaq and kobe a challenge?how about becoming the coach of the pacers or one of the other lousy teams I mentioned and win something?what could be a bigger challenge than taking over a franchise that has never won and making them a winner?he may be a good coach but the championships he won were because of the players he had/has and not him!

    • ocgunslinger - Nov 13, 2010 at 9:58 PM

      You are aptly named……unless it would be knucklehead. Kobe has not always been the balanced team player and leader he is today. It took a year away from Jackson for Bryant to realize what a great coach Jackson was for the Laker’s and himself and openly campaigned for Jackson’s return. Name a successful coach in any sport who has not had some great players. It takes players and coaches working as a TEAM. It is usually the coaches that develop that chemistry and it is called off the court leadership.

  5. zblott - Nov 13, 2010 at 3:02 PM

    Here’s an idea (just an idea): bench Bosh. This article looks at how poor his play has been this year, causing a rational observer to think he’s not even a top-10 PF (and probably wasn’t before now either).

  6. silencegooddoer - Nov 15, 2010 at 11:21 AM

    T-R-A-I-N-W-R-E-C-K !!! Just as you cannot sustain wining games with trick or gimmick plays, the same appears to apply to trick or gimmick off-season moves. It is now apparent, that this has been a “throw a bunch of mud against the wall and see what sticks” kind of experiment! The problem is, these were huge contracts signed with no game plan; very wreckless and unresponsable. This shows how good “ALL” of the active players in the NBA are as opposed to those that fill the teams of International play. For LeBron, Wade, and Bosh to think this would be like thier days of team USA beating up on the competition is a blatent sign of disrespect for thier fraternal NBA brothers!

  7. fouldwimmerliak - Nov 17, 2010 at 12:24 PM

    I agree with the first paragraph of this article. Phil Jackson is a god and he is not just lucky. That is the way it is. Don’t anyone ever go bashing Phil.

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