Here at Blue Man Hoop, we’re gearing up for the 2012-13 season by looking around the NBA to see how each team matches up with the Golden State Warriors. We’ll give you an overview of each opponent, a matchup or stat to watch and a measure of just how big a threat each opposing squad represents for the Dubs. Be sure to check out the other previews we’ve done so far on Blue Man Hoop: Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets, Charlotte Bobcats, Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers, Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets, Detroit Pistons, Houston Rockets, Indiana Pacers, L.A. Clippers, L.A. Lakers, Memphis Grizzlies.
Miami Heat Overview
Oh, what’s the point? Is anyone going to argue that the Heat are anything but the best team in the NBA?
Let’s see, they won the ‘ship last year and the only guy they lost was Ronny Turiaf. That’s probably not going to be a big deal. Easing the blow of the departed Turiaf are Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis, who are both quite practiced at shooting basketballs from considerable distances. That pair, in addition to the returning Shane Battier and Mike Miller, ought to give Miami enough firepower on the perimeter to punish teams who collapse on drivers even more severely.
Well LeBron James is really good at basketball, like probably the best that I know of. He posted an all-time top-10 PER last year. And Dwyane Wade gutted out a rough postseason of knee trouble, earning plenty of respect (and a few questions about his declining skills).
Really, a major drop-off in play by one of the big three is the only way the Heat do anything but return to the Finals this year. Their main competitors in the East, Chicago, will struggle through most of the season without former MVP Derrick Rose. And the Celtics are a year older.
Miami scores the basketball with elite efficiency (sixth-best in the NBA last year), and with Allen and Lewis, they’re likely to improve in that area. On the defensive end, James and Wade are terrors in the passing lanes, generating nearly two steals apiece per game. They were the NBA’s fourth-most efficient defensive team, as well. Really, there’s nothing the Heat do poorly.
If you want to fabricate question marks or areas of concern, I suppose there’s still the issue of a lack of legitimate size in the middle, but that didn’t ultimately hurt the Heat last year. There might also be a little competition between incumbent starter Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole at the point, although for my money, Allen and Wade should start in the back court. Miami doesn’t need a conventional point guard to be successful. Just look at the late ’90s Chicago Bulls for an example.
1-0. That was the Warriors’ record against Miami last year. Somehow, the Dubs stole one in Oakland against the Heat on January 10, 2012. They had to go to overtime to do it, but the result was 111-106, Dubs.
Any hope that last year’s fluke win might reveal a recipe for future success is overly optimistic, though. Unless Nate Robinson returns to the Warriors this year and puts in 24 points in 36 minutes—including a ridiculous 14-14 from the foul line—it’ll be hard to replicate that game. And it seems a little unlikely that the Warriors will be able to pull off another win against the Heat, despite shooting just 40 percent from the field. Look at the box score, other than a +4 rebound advantage, there’s really no reason the Dubs should have won that game.
But hey, take ‘em where you can get ‘em.
Threat Level: 10/10
If the Heat didn’t get a 10/10, you’d really have to call the whole threat level system into question. I mean, unless you’d already done that, on account of its almost entirely arbitrary nature. Miami has the best player in the league in the middle of his prime. Until that changes, they’re as good as it gets.