Don't Expect Much Sympathy for the Hurting Miami Heat
To say the least, things are not going well for the Miami Heat in South Beach.
At 8-6, they are just two games behind the Boston Celtics for the best record in the Eastern Conference. But many people expected them to be 13-1 or 12-2. Maybe 11-3 could have been expected as the worst case scenario. But they are certainly underperforming, and the news just continues to get worse.
Pat Riley had no difficulty in bringing in "Heat Three Kings," but he may have underestimated what size can do for a team. Or in this case, what happens when you are lacking size.
LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh are definitely nice centerpieces. They could all score 30 plus points on any given night, and have demonstrated that already. James and Wade are the leaders, but Bosh has seen improvements in his play as of late as well. In last night’s brutal home loss to the Indiana Pacers, Bosh recorded his third straight double-double.
But after those three, the talent dwindles drastically. That is, at least the players who are healthy enough to suit up for the Heat.
Udonis Haslem suffered a serious injury when he tore a ligament in his left foot during the fourth quarter of a Heat loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday night. Without even knowing the severity of the injury, Miami knew it was bad news when Haslem needed to be carried to the locker room. He has been known for his toughness after playing through separated shoulders, sprained ankles, broken fingers and numerous ailments throughout his career. Unfortunately for them, their fears were well found.
Haslem will be out until February at the earliest. He could return before the All-Star break. He could return shortly after. He could also miss the majority of the regular season now that we found out that the injury does require surgery. For a team who has shown that they are already undersized, this is a major blow to their chances this season.
With Haslem now on the shelf, he joins good friend and former Florida Gator teammate Mike Miller as big free agent signings who will miss a significant amount of time. With Joel Anthony serving as a major disappointment and flat out awful signing so far (5 yr/$18.2 million), the Heat will reportedly sign free agent center Erick Dampier to help bolster a very weak frontcourt. While he will surely help, an aging Dampier is not the answer.
James can come close to averaging a triple-double every game. Wade was off against the Grizzlies and completely off against the Pacers, but he can still lead the team in scoring on most nights. Bosh is getting better in the middle. But you cannot win a game against good teams with just three players. Zydrunas Ilgauskas will have to see more minutes, even with his aching knees. Anthony will have to somehow step up his game. Juwan Howard will also be counted on for bigger minutes, but he has not seen that much time for a few years now. Dexter Pittman may see an increased role as well, and he will be the youngest body the Heat can throw in the paint, so he may be counted on more than expected as a rookie. Jamaal Magloire is most likely the odd man out with the addition of Dampier.
At this point, it will be awfully challenging to pull off a trade of any significance. Signing "Heat Three Kings" was huge, but it leaves little money and maneuverability for the rest of the roster.
Needless to say, this is a team in a little bit of trouble. While we can certainly not call this experiment a failure, we can absolutely call it a disappointment.
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