Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire
Over the course of the Miami Heat's training camp, Hot Hot Hoops will give player profiles for all Heat players. Next up is "U.D."
Who is he?
What will his role be?
In the 2012 Finals, Udonis Haslem essentially played the role of a backup center. Erik Spoelstra used the vast majority of the Finals games with only one "big" on the court – Chris Bosh or Haslem. In the regular season, Spoelstra probably won’t have LeBron James and Shane Battier playing the power forward a lot, though.
That leaves the power forward spot open, as Bosh will become Miami’s full-time five. Rashard Lewis didn’t show that he had much lift during Miami’s scrimmage Tuesday night and shot 0-for-5 from the field. Although Lewis was once an All-Star, he was available for the veteran’s minimum for a reason. With signs that Haslem may finally be over his season-ending foot injury in 2010, perhaps the 6-foot-8 Miami native will recapture the starting power forward spot.
What are his strengths and weaknesses?
Haslem had an unusually inefficient shooting season last year, only converting 35.5 percent of his shots from beyond 10 feet. But Spoelstra said that the nine-year veteran is getting the lift on his jumper that he didn’t get last season, possibly due to the remnants of his serious foot injury two seasons ago. Haslem also swished home three of his four jumpers in the scrimmage, so he may again relish opportunities to shoot open mid-range Js.
In an effort to become a better fit with this team, Haslem worked on extending his range to the 3-point line over the summer. If he becomes reliant from long distance, Haslem would become such a boon for the Heat. A power forward who can drag opposing big men to the 3-point line, rebound and defend is the perfect complementary piece for this team.
Some have argued that Haslem’s defense is overrated, but Synergy Sports rated him Miami’s best defender. Moreover, the Heat allowed 2.2 fewer points per 100 possessions with him on the court last season. Haslem is also Miami’s best rebounder and averaged 7.3 boards in just 24.8 minutes per game last season.
On the other hand, Haslem rarely creates his own shot. He needs to run a pick-and-pop with Wade or James to get a good look at the basket. He’s also undersized at 6-foot-8 and is 32 years old. But if Haslem simply becomes a reliable offensive threat while still offering his top-notch defense and rebounding, he’ll make Miami even tougher to beat.
Haslem will make 80 3s this season.