NBA Season Wrap Up: Miami Heat
2012-13 NBA Champions: Miami Heat
The Heat have repeated as champs thanks to a bit of good luck and some much improved jump shooting, but what put them in a position to win another title was a balance between offense and defense that carried them to a 66-win regular season.
The Heat were fifth in points per game (despite the 23rd fastest pace) and fifth in points per game allowed. Their 49.6% mark from the field was the best in the NBA and they were top-10 in steals, assists, 3 pointers attempted and made, despite taking fewer shots than any team in the league.
Obviously the Heat's ridiculous efficiency begins with LeBron James, but the rest of the team's shooters helped boost those numbers too.
The real genius of this Heat team is how the depth and redundancy on the roster complement the teams strengths. The "Pace and Space" formula only works when you have shooters and shooters can be inconsistent. Last night Ray Allen didn't make a shot and Mario Chalmers was 1-7 from long range.
But Shane Battier filled the role of punishing the defense for collapsing on James and Wade. Allen, Miller, Battier, and Chalmers were all crucial in this playoff run and you need role players to take turns stepping up if you're going to win.
The glaring weakness, which was costly against Indiana, was a lack of size. Birdman was another integral piece of the team, but he is a free agent now and has likely earned a chance to make more money somewhere else if he chooses too. Even if he does stay, the Heat need to address the fact that they were last in the NBA in rebounding. Ultimately they proved that they could attack the boards when they needed to, but they need to get better in that department and need an answer for Roy Hibbert.
It will have to be an improvement from within. The Heat have a massive payroll and pretty much the entire roster coming back next year. Ray Allen has a player option for next year and Mario Chalmers has a team option, so they could potentially make a little bit of room, but they are still way over the cap.
The Heat's salary situation may mean that they take one more shot with the same group next year, but after that, who knows what will happen. The Big Three have early termination options for 2014-15 and most people believe that they will opt out after next season and either restructure contracts or move in another direction. Right now, the Heat have no one under contact past next season and they will want to cut back spending after next year to avoid the dreaded "repeater' tax, which will take effect in 2014-15.
After winning back-to-back titles, it's unlikely they'll make any major moves. Some have theorized that they might look to move Chris Bosh, but considering the reshuffling that will have to happen after next season anyway, it makes more sense to go for a three-peat with this group and figure it out later.
Additionally, Rashard Lewis also has a player option and Juwan Howard is an unrestricted free agent and is likely heading for retirement.