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Mario Chalmers takes over as Heat starting point guard

Jan 24, 2011, 4:08 PM EST

Miami Heat v Phoenix Suns Getty Images

Carlos Arroyo is out as the Heat’s starting point guard. Mario Chalmers is in.

But it really doesn’t make that big a difference. These two remain interchangeable parts used depending on the situation. And there is a good chance next season it will be someone entirely new at the point in Miami.

The fantastic Kevin Arnovitz at ESPN’s Heat Index spoke to Erik Spoelstra about the change.

“It’s a tough decision,” Spoelstra said of shuffling the deck at point guard. “It’s not an indictment on Carlos. It’s just something I think will be beneficial for the team right now. Mario has been giving us solid and steady minutes, and he’s been getting better at things I’ve wanted him to do.”

Arroyo had been starting but Chalmers often had been finishing games quite often. There’s an easy logic to it — Chalmers is the better defender, and with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh you don’t need the guy who is a little better on offense, you need the guy who is a little better on defense.

Overall, broken down by Synergy Sports, their defense numbers are similar — guys are scoring 0.8 points per possession against Chalmers, 0.84 against Arroyo. But they each have strengths, Chalmers is better at defending the three-point line and is better in isolation. They were very close in the key areas for the position of defending a pick-and-roll ball handler and getting to guys spotting up. What Chalmers is more likely to do is come up with the big steal, he gambles more.

The flip side is Arroyo gives the Heat a little more offense — he better from three, which is key. Arroyo is the slightly better pick-and-roll player, but that is sort of moot because when the game really matters these two will be in spot up situations. And they shoot about the same there, but Arroyo is more likely to drain the three.

But the fact of the matter is, neither has been good enough to grab the job and make it theirs. Arroyo sums up the Heat situation for all but three players on the roster well.

“The reality is that the only starters here — the only guys getting starter’s minutes — are Chris, Dwyane and LeBron,” Arroyo said of adjusting to his new role coming off the bench. “Everybody else is in the rotation. The rest of us are rotation players. It’s been like that all year. It’s part of the process. No excuses. Whoever is playing better will stay out there and help the team win. It’s as simple as that.”

  1. thestudiokida - Jan 24, 2011 at 9:38 PM

    Arroyo has no moves going to the basket and tends to be wide open all the time. He still doesnt take many shots. Chalmers is more aggressive on D and generally seems to fit well. Let’s hope he keeps up the good 3-point shooting.

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