Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Michael Beasley began serious offseason workouts Monday, starting a long process in which Heat coach Erik Spoelstra will determine if he is suited to playing a lot at small forward. Besides needing to improve his defense for that position, ''he must improve his passing,'' ABC's Jeff Van Gundy said off the air.
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
LUTHER HEAD SIGNS WITH THE MIAMI HEAT
The Miami Heat added scoring guard, Luther Head, to their roster, taking the spot left vacated my Marcus Banks when he was traded at the deadline to Toronto in a 2 for 1 deal. Since the All Star Break, the Heats bench has been struggling to find some consistent scoring. Forward Michael Beasley has been the only threat, because Daquan Cook seemed to leave his shooting stroke in Phoenix at the 3-point contest. In hopes to fill this need the team has signed Luther Head. Head is a 6-3 guard out of Illinois who has played both guard positions in his 3 year career, but will be used primarily for the Heat at the point guard spot. The combination of Mario Chalmers and Chris Quinn has not been working out recently, so Head could get lots of minutes right away. Head is not a traditional point guard, but that is probably not needed with Dwayne Wade being the lead guard in the 4th quarter. Head can focus on what he does best which is space the floor with his outside shot, while Wade penetrates and dishes. He is a career 39% 3-point shooter, who connected on 177 3's only 2 seasons ago. He is never going to be thought of as a lock down defender, but he has the size and quickness to make much more of a mark on that end than Quinn had been. Opposing point guards eyes light up when Quinn covers them, and that has been an issue for the Heat all year. Chalmers has been great as a rookie, but as we saw the other night in the Cleveland game, he is still just a rookie, and can not be expected to be at the top of his game on a consistent basis. The Heat hope that in adding Head they can put a 2nd unit on the floor that can really fill up the hoop, with Head, Cook, James Jones, Beasley.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
With their 99 to 94 win over the Nets last night, the Heat are above .500 for the first time in what seems like an eternity. Heat fans know how bad last season was, which makes these little victories that much sweeter. While this team might have no shot against the Hornets or the Celtics yet, it is nice to pick up the wins you should get, like against the Nets. Coach Erik Spoelstra put the win in perspective last night, "It's significant with what we're trying to build at home. We're trying to make this a tough place to play, and we're trying to win our fans back." At the end of the day a W is a W and each one will help bring fans back to American Airlines Arena, and make teams worry about playing them.
The Heat needed a big fourth quarter comeback to win, and it was nice to see more than just Wade step up to propel it. Daequan Cook's defense on Vince Carter was huge last night, as was his stroke from the outside. I think it is safe to say now that last years first round pick was not wasted on Cook. The guy took some time to mature and learn how to play the right way, but he now is a consistent threat from the outside and turning into a defensive key as well. Another key off the bench last night was Chris Quinn, providing solid ball handling and clutch free throws down the stretch. As much as all of the fans think there are better options out there than Quinn, the guy is steady. He might not be a threat to ever take over a game, but he is good as a backup, because he will never do anything to lose you a game either. While Mario Chalmers develops, Quinn is a great stopgap.
MVP awards for the game go to Michael Beasley in the first half and Dwayne Wade in the second half. Beasley kept the team in the game last night in the first half with 15 points on a wide array of baskets. There were times in that half that he looked like an all star, but as the second half got going he seemed to run out of steam. When he is not involved in the offense, he seems to just float around on the court. Spoelestra needs to find ways to keep him active throughout the game and not just when he has the hot hand. Luckily for Beasley and the Heat, the 4th quarter belonged to Dwayne Wade as he scored 19 of his 33 points in the quarter. What was most exciting about those 19, was that 9 of them came on three pointers. Wade will never be mistaken for Glen Rice, but if he can hit a three pointer every now and then, it will open up the driving lanes as defenders will have to play him closer on the perimeter. Wade had his third consecutive 30 point game, which should put to rest all of the talk that the Olympics were an aberration and that Wade really is finished. The guy took some time to get into the swing of the season, but I think it is fair to say that he is in fine form, and that if this team can stay healthy, the playoffs are not out of reach.
- Joel Anthony has taken over for Mark Blount as the backup to Udonis Haslem, but he is just as bad. He had 4 rebounds, which for Blount could be a seasons worth, but the guy has rock hands and can't score on my mom. He is supposed to be a shot blocker, but the guy looks no taller than Beasley out there.
- The LA Clippers have put Chris Kaman on the trading block, which should intrigue the Heat. He is a legit 7-footer, who can score inside and get on the boards. Pat Riley has always been intrigued by Kaman, so much so that they almost drafted him over Dwayne Wade. With the addition of Marcus Camby in the offseason, Kaman has become expendable, and the Clips are either looking for a bruising power forward or expiring contracts to take in exchange. The Heat have both in Haslem and Shawn Marion. Haslem has been the heart of this team, so it would be tough to see him go, but with Kaman in the starting lineup with Beasley, Marion, Wade, and Chalmers, there is balance.
- Marcus Banks was active last night, but seems to have fallen out of the rotation already.
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Big time performances from a lot of superstars last night, but the one I want to focus on is Tony Parker of the San Antonio Spurs, who had 55 points and 10 assists in a double overtime win against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Parker's big night could not have come at a better time for the Spurs, as they had started the season 0-3 and could not afford to keep digging themselves into a ditch, while waiting for Manu Ginobli to return in December. The Spurs have had to rely so heavily on Parker and Tim Duncan to create all their offense that by the time the 4th quarter came around each player was worn down. Roger Mason Jr has been their only other consistent performer, and he is the type of player who you can't expect to do that on a nightly basis. So while Parker's big night was great, there is no way he can do that consistently.
Ginobli is not going to be back for a while, so the team is going to need consistent play out of the other guys, but I just don't see where that is going to come from. Michael Finley used to be a big time scorer, but that has not been for 4 seasons, so you can't expect him to get his legs back all of a sudden. The other players that log big minutes for them, Fabricio Oberto, Kurt Thomas, Bruce Bowen, and Jacque Vaughn are all specialists, who do not specialize in scoring. All of these guys focus more on defense, which has been great over the years, but without Ginobli, their offensive defiencies really hurt the team.
Parker and Duncan are All-NBA performers, but if the start of the season has shown anything, it is that they need more help these days, cause they are both getting older. Ginobli is a great player, but is he on his last legs as well? He has fizzled out the last few years in the playoffs, and recovering from an ankle injury should not help that from happening again. Is there a way to breath some life into this squad via trade? Maybe adding some fire power to the bench would help. What do you think?
Talk About Your It!
Monday, November 3, 2008
One week into the NBA season and there are just as many questions as there are answers. It has been great to see the offseason deals come together, whether good or bad. It is way to early to get a read on which teams are the real deal and which are going to be bottom feeders, and that is what is going to make this season interesting. Are the Lakers and Raptors really this good? Here are some thoughts from the first week:
- I think it is safe to say that Shawn Marion has lost a step, and now has left himself in a precarious position while heading into free agency. (Hoopshype)
- Memo to Jim Dolan, if you ever want to bring a winner back to NYC, it is best to open up your wallet and get rid of some deep weight. Stephon Marbury has been nothing but trouble for that organization and they need to make an example of him, before he acts out again. (NY Daily News)
- Jermaine O'Neal brings the type of toughness to the Toronto Raptors that they have been missing for umm...forever. (The Star)
- The Suns have an opportunity to be beasts in the West, while Portland is quite a ways away from being a force in the league. When Shaq and Amare are healthy and not in foul trouble, the Suns can erase that title of softest team in the West. The only problem is, those 2 variables usually don't work out in the Suns favor. Outside of those 2 guys, there is not a player on that team that wants to mix it up down low. (azcentral)
Friday, October 31, 2008
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Opening night for the NBA was Tuesday night, but for most teams, including the Miami Heat, they laced up the shoes last night. It marked the beginning of the Eric Spoelestra, I mean Michael Beasley era, but it looked more and more like last years incarnation of the Heat. A squad that gives up 120 points and often times looks like it does not belong in the NBA. They ended up making a comeback in the 4th quarter to make the final defeat a respectable 5 points, but it was too little too late. Here are my thoughts from the game.
-Most members of the team looked pretty bad, with the exception of Udonis Haslem, Marion Chalmers, and Daquan Cook.
-Even against Knicks, who do not have a prototypical Center, Haslem looked undersized. His effort will get him by on a lot of nights, but you got the idea last night that this team is really going to struggle against any kind of height. The small ball lineup will only work if Haslem gets some help on the boards.
-Chalmers was a revelation last night, looking as if he were in the league for 7 years and not just 7 pre-season games. He was a little shaky early on, but as the game went on he controlled the tempo and got his teammates in position to be effective. It was surprising how well he did on the boards, but it was also a blessing, cause Michael Beasley was nowhere to be found.
-Beasley admits to having some first game jitters, as to be expected when suiting up for the first time at Madison Square Garden, but the Heat need to do a better job of getting him shots in his comfort zones. He spent too much of the game hanging out at the three point line, which helps account for his 4 rebounds. It is difficult to get boards when you are hanging out on the perimeter all game. You could see Beasley's talent when he took it too the hoop, but too often he looked like he was lacking the drive/hunger that makes a player great in this league. He needs to attack the hoop with regularity which will open up the outside shot, instead of the other way around. I think Spoelestra needs to find a way to get Beasley playing from the high post and in, until he gets comfortable in the league.
-Dwayne Wade finished the night with 26 points, 9 assists, and 7 rebounds, but spent too much of the night complaining about not getting a call or not getting a ball when he wanted it. If he is going to be the leader of this team, he needs to show his young teammates a better example than the one that was on the court last night. For all the yelling that Michael Jordan did at referees and his own teammates, you never saw him out of position on defense. Too often Wade jogged back down the court complaining while the Knicks were playing 5 on 4. This criticism of Wade has been around for 3 seasons now, and it is about time that some coach figures out a way to get it figured out. Jamal Crawford had 29 points last night mostly by beating Wade up the court and taking advantage of the Heat scrambling around to cover up. At the end of the night, Wade will consistently fill the stat sheet, but if he is to lead the Heat back to the playoffs, he is going to need to start doing the little things that make the difference.
-Shawn Marion is a fantasy basketball dream come true, but in reality the guy should be nothing more than a 3rd or 4th option on a team. I think my 7 year old cousin could beat him in a shooting contest. His points come off of hustle plays, which is great, but to have him spotting up on the perimeter is a waste of a possession. He should be slashing to the hoop and playing the baseline only. How he ever got this far without learning how to shoot a jumpshot is mind boggling. On the positive side, he does help us a lot on the boards and he gets back on the defense all the time. His on ball defense leaves something to be desired, but so does everyone else on the teams.
-Daquan Cook is a very good shooter, who needs to play more. He spreads the floor nicely, which will help Wade and Beasley get to the hoop easier.
-Marcus Banks looked good going to the hoop, but he struggled shooting from outside. Hopefully his shooting in the preseason is more typical of what we will see this season. He is able to play the point or the shooting guard, which is something that will come in handy on this squad filled with mostly multi-position players.
-It was good to see Sean Livingston back, but he has a ways to go before he is in basketball shape. After such a horrific knee injury a few years back, it will be interesting to see if his body will ever catch up with his mind. It was a good gamble by the Heat to bring him in, and hopefully pays off before the season ends.
-Mark Blount is useless. He was in the game for less then 2 minutes when he hoists up a 3pointer. Someone needs to tell him he was the tallest guy on the court, so he should hang out under the hoop.
-The Heat struggled a lot last night, but there were still things to get excited about as a fan. My gut tells me that they are going to be a .500 team heading into the All Star Break, and then come out playing much better in the second half. Chalmers and Beasley will have great games just as often as they have bad games, but the key is to be patient with them. They both look like they will be starters for years to come, which will be amazing for the Heat. We have not had guys stick around since those Tim Hardaway squads that battled the Knicks in the 90's. If you notice around the NBA, most teams that win championships are teams that are built through the draft and are allowed to grow together. There is always the exception, last years Celtics, but the Heat should take a page out of the book of the Spurs and the Pistons. Let these guys grow up together, while adding complementary pieces around them. The core of this squad is Wade, Beasley, Chalmers, and the heart is Haslem. See ya Shawn Marion!