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Getting to know the new Heat players - Part 1 of 3: Josh McRoberts

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We're taking a look at three new additions to the Miami Heat roster and what better perspective than the people who saw these players regularly last season. This first post is all about former Charlotte Bobcats forward Josh McRoberts.

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It seemed simple enough - when it comes to Heat players, who else but Heat fans and the people who write about Miami would have a better perspective on what each player brings to the team. So I contacted Ben Swanson, Managing Editor of At The Hive, the SB Nation site for the Charlotte Hornets (formerly known as the Bobcats) and asked about Josh McRoberts.

After 1.5 solid seasons in Charlotte, Josh McRoberts has moved on and signed with the Miami Heat. From being a player on the fringes of the NBA he became a valuable role player on a Bobcats team that made the playoffs. How did he evolve during his time in Charlotte?

I'm not so sure he evolved, but rather found a coaching staff much more willing to implement his skills in the forefront of their offense. His minutes recessed severely in his transition from the Pacers to the Lakers, and then to the Magic, who dealt him later that season for Hakim Warrick in a salary dump trade.

The Bobcats thrust him into their starting lineup, supplanting Byron Mullens who had some ankle and elbow problems toward the end of the season. McRoberts, though he didn't shoot the three as well as Mullens (it hurt to write that), offered significant improvements in frontcourt passing. He showcased an ability to move with the ball and see the floor with a sharp passing eye, which imparted some much-needed inside-outside ball movement to give the perimeter-heavy roster more scoring options. He was a fairly efficient scorer, one much better than any other player in the Bobcats' frontcourt, and showed he could tie together their offense to make them much more effective.

In his first full season with the Bobcats, he also had a new head coach, and under Steve Clifford he saw one of his best seasons. McRoberts had one of his better three-point shooting seasons, which was vital to the team's offensive spacing because they didn't have much help from the perimeter otherwise. He continued to grease the Bobcats' passing lanes and was a massively important part of their offense, especially in facilitating the ball movement between the perimeter and the interior, now boasting the terrific offensive game of Al Jefferson. Much of McRoberts' boon came not as a result of an evolving skill set -- he's been a smart passer with versatile talent -- but Clifford trusted McRoberts to be a significant foundation of the team's ball movement, especially key in their offense short on scoring.

Is there a sense that McRoberts' growth might have been due to first-year coach Steve Clifford's schemes, both defensively and offensively. How much would you say Clifford had to do with McRoberts' development?

As mentioned above, I think Clifford's confidence in McRoberts was essential to his great season. He was dynamic on offense, and the Bobcats' passing suffered greatly without him, which is evident as no Bobcat had a bigger differential in assist-to-turnover ratio between when he was on and off the court.

The defensive side of McRoberts doesn't get much of the spotlight, but he was solid. He rotated well in the top-five defense, though he's no threat to defend the rim. He's athletic and he's not afraid to use his body, but he's just not a great shot-blocker.

McRoberts' is known for his slick passing and outside shooting (which improved dramatically in Charlotte). What else does he bring to the table on offense and defense? Is there a glaring weakness you saw during his time with the Cats?

The glaring weaknesses in McRoberts game aren't hard to see. But he doesn't try those things too much. He's not going to be Al Jefferson, backing big men under the basket and spinning and faking out his defender, and he's not going to take people off the dribble. He operates most often out of the high post and can do so with his back to the basket or facing up.

However, he can get a little overconfident in his passing, which can lead to turnovers. This wasn't the biggest issue in the Bobcats' slow methodical pace last year, but in a higher-paced offense, he could get a little too pass-happy. And though the Bobcats didn't place much weight in offense rebounding (they preferred to get back in transition), McRoberts certainly hasn't looked like a good offensive rebounder.

McRoberts gives off a kind-of cult hero status...perhaps from his personal style or because of his collegiate playing career? Is that overblown or is that how the fans/media really perceive him? Do you have a favorite story or memory from his time in Charlotte?

McRoberts as a cult hero is probably mostly due to his hair, displays of emotion and athleticism. He can be a bit of a flashy player if you watch closely, equally able to throw an alley-oop dunk as to finish one.

I can't really remember stories from this season, but I did like this one about him playing golf in Chuck Taylors and basketball shorts.

Lastly, I haven't found any strong evidence to prove this but can you confirm or deny that he hates the nickname "McBob"? I've heard this is the case.

It definitely seems like he hates it. "Some dumbass on a blog came up with it." I try to avoid using it since he doesn't like it, but it's so much shorter and easier to type. But then again, I too am a dumbass on a blog so I don't mind it much.

We want to thank Ben again for taking the time to answer questions about McRoberts. Be sure to check out At The Hive for the latest updates on the Hornets, and give Ben a follow on Twitter @cardboardgerald.

Stay tuned for Parts 2 and 3, where we look at Luol Deng and Danny Granger.