As the Heat slide further down in the standings, many are left proclaiming who is letting Miami down and who shouldn't even be playing. However, the casual observer who is busy attacking Chris Bosh's rim protection fails to note that defense is more of a body position concept than being able to jump high and block shots.
Let's take a look at some of the recent talking points surrounding the Heat conversation and their losses.
Josh McRoberts was a waste of money. We should have spent the cash on someone more productive. He's hardly played.
Today marks the sixth week of the season. When we consider how McRoberts missed all of the preseason and four regular season games to injury, you can't be so quick to write him off just yet. To put it simply, McRoberts has been playing catch-up. On a positive note, the defense has been much better when he's on the court, for a team that's struggled to defend all season long. McRoberts has been consistent in that regard. He has also been playing more and more minutes over the last six games, as he finds his way and gets better conditioned on the court.
Early injuries to both Wade and McRoberts have hampered the opportunities to develop much-needed chemistry on the court. When they have had the chance, the defense has been very good and the offense has been building toward making them a much more fluid unit.
Luol Deng needs to be on the bench. He's done. Handy in doses, no longer good enough to be a starter.
The only problem with Deng so far has been that he's failed to fix the Heat's defense. What people aren't talking about is the fact he's shooting a higher field goal percentage than his career numbers and he's an above average 3-point shooter this season, which was a question mark for many heading into this season. While the defense hasn't yet improved while he's on the court the offense has been about seven points per 100 possessions better with him in the game.
He needs time to develop the defensive understanding and trust with his new teammates.
We can't play defense and play too slow. There is no effort from the new guys. Wade and Bosh can only do so much.
Again, we have to take into consideration it's still only six weeks in. If this is still an ongoing issue in February, then it's time to be critical. Inconsistency has been the Heat's enemy this season; it's tricky to mesh and learn to trust your teammates when the rotation is being altered over and over again.
Yes, the Heat aren't a big team but throwing a random big guy into the lineup won't solve the defensive issues. It's about time and cohesiveness. If the Heat can get a few games in a row with the same starters in the next few weeks, I'm more than certain things will improve. You just have to hope Miami get this opportunity sooner rather than later.
Our point guards are being dominated, especially Norris Cole.
While having depth at the point guard position can be a luxury, forcing Norris Cole into the starting lineup when Mario Chalmers is considerably better isn't maximizing the lineups and the strengths at that position. There is a need to balance the bench unit with Chalmers offensive abilities but really he should be playing with the starting unit and being backed up by Shabazz Napier.
Cole is a sparkplug much more than he is a staple of game plans being executed on both ends of the floor. While I'm not sure if Napier is capable of setting himself apart from Cole in his rookie season, he's shown enough to warrant trusting him to run the second unit.
The offense sucks.
I almost agree here. The Heat are currently in the lower half in NBA offensive efficiency, ranking just 17th (yes, the Lakers and Jazz are higher than what Miami is putting out). The offense should and needs to be better than the current product, especially until the defense is able catch up. The Heat are quite successful in making shots. They're the seventh best team when it comes to field goal percentage and the eighth best team when it comes to 3-point percentage. They are also the second best team when it comes to free throw rate. \
So what's the problem you say? Well, the Heat are the second worst offensive rebounding team (same for last year too) and that's' not going to change under Erik Spoelstra. What can improve, however, is the Heat's sloppiness when it comes to taking care of the basketball (I see you, Wade). The entire team has to be more precise with dribbling and passing within the flow of the offensive identity. Being in the bottom 10 in turnover rate is a recipe for mediocrity with this current roster.