clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Taking a look at what the Heat's postseason rotation should be

- Guest writer Danny Martinez The Miami Heat’s 2010-2011 season has been marred by injuries to eight different players. Two others joined the roster after the beginning of the season, with Mike Bibby coming on only a few weeks ago. With all the roster turnover from last season and all of the speed bumps this season, the Heat haven’t had the luxury of having a set starting lineup or rotation. While there are numerous negatives to all the changes, they’ve allowed coach Erik Spoelstra to experiment with the roster. This season the Heat have had six players that have made the Heat better while on the floor. This means that the team’s overall production drops when they sit on the bench. The top most "valuable" players on the Heat this season have been LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade. Bosh ranks ahead of Wade primarily because the Heat have no post player that can produce at a similar level (especially with Haslem’s injury). The other three positive value players have been Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Udonis Haslem and James Jones. James Jones may be a surprise to some, but that’s already been covered here. There’s a clear divide between the top nine players and the final five. Mike Bibby is in the lower tier, but his numbers with the Big Three have been fantastic so his increased role the next few weeks will move him to the upper tier. ..

..

The names highlighted in orange are the ten players who should make up the Heat’s postseason rotation. Here’s how the rotation would work:
  • Point Guard: Minutes would be split between Mario Chalmers and Mike Bibby. Bibby would get the starting nod as his floor spacing provides a huge boost when playing with James, Bosh and Wade. Against more active point guards like Derrick Rose and Rajon Rondo, Chalmers would get the majority of the minutes to allow for Wade to get some rest on the defensive end. Wade could possibly play some point guard when the Heat go with an orthodox lineup.
  • Shooting Guard: Dwyane Wade would obviously get the vast majority of the minutes at the two. He will average around 40 minutes per game in the post season. Spelling Wade should be James Jones.
  • Small Forward: Just as Dwyane Wade will play 40 minutes, LeBron will do the same. The Heat may use some small ball lineups so he may get limited run at power forward. Backing up James should be James Jones. By splitting his minutes across the two positions Jones will average just under 20 minutes.
  • Power Forward: Chris Bosh’s role will be very similar to what it is now, just with a few more minutes. Health permitting, Udonis Haslem will take over the role Juwan Howard has held recently. Should the Heat play the Celtics or Knicks in the playoffs, expect Bosh to slide to the five with Haslem at the four.
  • Center: Zydrunas Ilgauskas has been the Heat’s most effective center this season. Erick Dampier will probably remain the starter, but the minutes will likely be evenly split among the two as long the matchup allows it. Against athletic or undersized big men expect Joel Anthony to get the bulk of the minutes. Also, as expressed earlier, look for Bosh to finish games at the center position against certain teams.
The basic rotation explained above would best suit the Heat’s playing style. In fact, most of the lineup possibilities (all excluding Bibby and Haslem together) have been used. These lineups have had an offensive rating of 124.93 and a defensive rating of 96.08 for a net difference of 28.84. None of these figures are ultimately sustainable, but they do indicate the strength these lineups possess. James Jones will probably not be in the regular rotation come playoff time. Instead, Mike Miller most likely gets those minutes. While the possible lineups used above with Miller not Jones are not as strong, they still are potent. They have an offensive rating of 121.43, a defensive rating of 108.06 and a net difference of 13.36. The biggest difference, as expected, is on the defensive end. If I were calling the shots, I’d use the rotation of Bibby, Chalmers, Wade, Jones, James, Bosh, Haslem, Ilgauskas, Dampier and Anthony. I would mix and match both the point guard and center positions depending on the opponent. The Heat’s roster is full of below average players that have a relative specialty. I would hope Spoelstra uses them judiciously. I would always have Wade or James on the floor and would do my best to stagger the three point shooters. What would you do?

Danny can be followed on Twitter @DannyMartinez4