Now that the season is a couple weeks old we're starting to get a little clearer picture of how some aspects of the Heat are panning out. Obviously its still very early and as we all know it's going to take some time before our ‘Big 3' superstars get used to playing on the same floor as one another. Once they do hit their stride then these highlight reel plays we've seen thus far will become more frequent and more ridiculous.
That being the case, combined with the fact that Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh are all still finding ways to produce, I think we can all agree that they are just going to keep getting better with time. I can also understand the adjustment is a little harder for Bosh because he is in a situation that hasn't happened to him during his 7 years in the NBA.
Ever since he was drafted Bosh has been the number 1 scoring option on his team. The offense would always run through him so naturally he's very used to getting a lot of touches. But now as part of the Miami Heat, Bosh finds himself the clear-cut 3rd option in this potent starting lineup. I have no doubt that they will all adapt and learn how to get the best out of one another, but Bosh's ‘struggles' (if you want to call them that) don't come as a major shock to me.
What is bothering me though is the how the Heat's natural point guards are finding it very difficult to contribute. The majority of the struggles have been by Carlos Arroyo because he is getting way more minutes then Mario Chalmers. It isn't like my expectations for Arroyo are all that far fetched, I'd just like for him to produce the same way he did last season.
He was pretty consistent last year when it came to hitting uncontested jumpers. With a hand in his face is another story, but judging from what I saw last season I figured that Arroyo would benefit just as much as anyone from the open looks coming his way. Keep in mind that he is coming off of the best shooting season of his career, hitting 47.5% from the field.
Carlos is actually shooting better this season at 48.5%, but he has been very hesitant to take shots and that throws things off for the whole offense. When the ball is moving around and it gets to Arroyo with nobody around him, several times I've seen him start to shoot but then get rid of the ball to a very surprised looking teammate.
That is part of the reason his assists per game is down by over 1 and why he hasn't looked comfortable taking the 18-20 foot jumpers that were almost automatic a year ago. Part of the problem could be that Arroyo is still recovering from a very long and tiring offseason.
He spent summer playing for team Puerto Rico and in the FIBA 2010 Centrobasket tournament, despite suffering a very painful quadriceps injury, Carlos led his team to the gold medal and won tournament MVP. He couldn't have come to the Heat with more confidence behind him, but maybe all that work during the NBA offseason is the reason for him struggling now.
I would like to see the Heat utilize Mario Chalmers a bit more but Coach Spo has kept him on a very short leash. I'm not sure how much that has to do with the ankle sprain tat is hat kept him limited throughout training camp and into the preseason. After seeing him get a good amount of minutes during the preseason though, I expected him to be more of a factor at this point.
That hasn't been the case for Rio. He's played in four of the Heat's seven regular season games, but in three of those four he was only off the bench for a handful of minutes (3:40, 3:09, 4:18). The one game he was able to really contribute wasMiami Heat schedule against Minnesota last Tuesday. Chalmers played just under 18 minutes, scoring 8 points and dishing out 8 assists while hitting 2-of-4 from downtown.
Those 8 assists are what really stand out to me because that is an area where Carlos Arroyo has struggled. Despite starting every game for the Heat, Arroyo has yet to accumulate more then 4 assists in a game and finished with just 1 assist in three of his seven starts.
These problems have led to LeBron James taking the some of point guard duties, and he's responded with a good amount of assists while still averaging over 20 points per game. LeBron has picked up at least 7 assists in each of the last 6 games, but in the last 3 games he's really picked things up, dishing out 12, 10 and 9. If he keeps this up we'll be seeing his first triple-double of the season real soon.
I'm not sure if James taking over the ball carrying duties for the Heat is the long-term solution though. It's a great change of pace and keeps opposing defenses off guard, not knowing where James or Wade or whoever is going to come from. That move gains even more value if Miami has a true point guard option that teams have to respect. Do they have that now, in Arroyo or Chalmers? Hopefully we find out that answer sooner rather then later.