Here’s a new look at the Miami Heat position-by-position as we head into training camp and a new season. Each day we will follow with a new position until we have dissected the entire roster.
And we are starting with Point Guard.
With the absence of Dwyane Wade, the Miami Heat offense is going to change drastically. Wade was a ball dominant guard who enjoyed being able to create off of his own talent. Late in games, Wade would take over the point guard responsibilities on offense and be in complete control. That often worked in our favor, but other times did not.
Without Wade, the Heat will likely revert back to a more traditional approach to the offense — one in which should have them running an actual offense with plays instead of just a high pick and roll for a NBA superstar.
The point guard position is going to set the tone for the team and ultimately be the catalyst to success if these individuals can mix all of the talent surrounding them and make other players better.
The Heat have some options when it comes to point guard. Clearly, Goran Dragic is currently on top of the pecking list. Miami has invested quite a bit of money in him. After that, the Heat only have Beno Udrih as a proven and natural point guard on the roster.
Josh Richardson and Tyler Johnson are two guys who will likely see a mixture of time at the position and at shooting guard. The Heat also will have Briante Weber who is fighting for a roster position, but will most likely end up in Sioux Falls with the Skyforce.
It’s clearly Goran Dragic. Dragic is going to be the offensive leader for this team — and he needs to be ready for it. Last year, Dragic averaged 14.1 PPG and 5.8 APG. Dragic ended 2014 averaging 20 PPG in Phoenix. He is a capable scorer, and we have seen that.
He is a natural gift at getting to the basket, using his body to shield off defenders and scoring. He’s also a pretty good floor general, but not elite. He can run an offense, but he does it most effectively when it is his way. And this year might be the first time that he will have that chance in Miami. He won’t have Wade telling him to slow it down or taking the ball out of his hands.
Even last year there were times when Dragic was sitting the bench to end close and important games. That isn’t going to happen this year. The emergence of Josh Richardson as a serious candidate to challenge Dragic is real, but Dragic’s offensive capabilities, leadership and drive will ultimately make him too valuable for this Heat team.
Richardson will get better and some attention, but Dragic will not be challenged for the starting spot this season.
I think primarily head coach Erik Spoelstra should and will use Tyler Johnson as a back-up to Goran Dragic. This should get sorted out in training camp. And I could be 100% wrong, because TJ may end up starting at shooting guard! Who knows?
But I think that Josh Richardson may earn that, eventually, and that the Heat would like to see Dion Waiters off the bench. That means a depth chart that looks like this:
PG — Goran Dragic, Tyler Johnson, Beno Udrih
SG — Josh Richardson, Dion Waiters, Wayne Ellington
And when you look at it like that, I think the point guard play has a steady top, and an intiriguing back-up. Remember, Tyler Johnson before his injury was putting on some pretty amazing games as a backup. That guy can shoot, score, and run the floor well and has a motor. I guess it’s why they gave him a $50 million contract — they believe in him.
And when you take that into account, the Heat have a nice piece of depth right there that could potentially explode. Add in Beno Udrih as insurance in case of injury and the Heat seem to have some stability at point guard.
The Grade — B
Last year, Dragic ranked 15th in the NBA in scoring for point guards. There’s a healthy list of 11-13 points guards in the NBA who are clearly a more valuable asset than Dragic. But that still leaves him in the top half of the league.
Add in the potential for TJ to be a big time player and a valuable veteran presence as a third string and the Heat are doing OK.
Stay tuned for Shooting Guard preview tomorrow!