Ever since the announcement in 2010 that the Miami Heat would be bringing LeBron James and Chris Bosh aboard to join Dwyane Wade on the quest for many Larry O'Brien trophies, the phenomenon of what has since been referred to as Miami's "Big Three," has taken the basketball world by storm. Now the Miami Heat are making a solid run at a repeat of last year's NBA Championship title.
But it's not just the "Big Three" who make this team dominant. What we continue to see throughout the Heat's playoff run, is just how deep this Miami Heat roster really is.
Yes, the Miami Heat's big name players are their ticket sellers - and for unquestionable reasons - but what about their bench? The typically less-glorified members of the Miami Heat have stepped up to the plate this post-season in an unbelievable way. We are starting to see key components of a championship team come together; with role players like Chris Andersen, Norris Cole, Ray Allen, and Shane Battier all rising to the challenge when called upon.
The mid-season addition of Chris "Birdman" Andersen continues to prove its genius every time he steps on the court. Though Birdman has averaged only 13.7 minutes per game this post season, his presence has never gone unnoticed. Andersen's post-season averages per game speak for themselves-4.0 rebounds, 6.9 points, and 1.3 blocks-all within his restricted playing time. Birdman's fearlessness and uncanny ability to set the screen then fill the lane make him an ideal partner-in-crime for LeBron James on the pick-and-roll. In addition to all this, and providing the energy and aggressiveness the team needs to compete in highly physical playoff games, he's also shooting 78.2% from the field, leading the team in field-goal percentage: What can't this man do?
Birdman isn't the only impressive aspect coming off the Heat bench, youngster Norris Cole and seasoned veterans Ray Allen and Shane Battier have also stepped in to fill in the gaps when necessary. Norris Cole is right behind Andersen, shooting 64.1% from the field. So far this post-season, Cole has averaged 9.6 points and 2.4 rebounds per game, and get this-the kid has a 3-point percentage of 76.9%. As Cole continues to develop, we are seeing the many diversities of this talented young player begin to surface, making him more and more valuable to this Championship-oriented team.
The addition of Ray Allen this season has also made a positive impact on the team during this year's playoffs, adding his solid 14.3 points and 3.1 rebounds per game and shooting 44.6% from the field. Shane Battier is another, more silent, killer with good post defense. Battier also has the ability to come into a game and provide immediate spacing for players like LeBron James or Dwyane Wade to drive the lane, by being an above average spot up shooter.
It's safe to say the Miami Heat will not be backing down from any opponent this post-season, and for good reason. Not only do they have one of the most prominent starting line-ups in the NBA, they also possess the depth in their bench that most teams would kill for.