ReviewOctober 11, 2008

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Team Preview: Miami Heat

By Brett Roberts

The Heat were a disaster last year. Playing without Dwyane Wade for most of the season, they struggled to score and often looked lost on offense without any go to player. They did, however, make quite a heist when they dealt Shaq and received the dynamic Shawn Marion in return. Marion had grown discontent with his role as a supporting player in Phoenix and sought a larger role. He’ll get that on the Heat since their only other proven scorer is Wade. They managed to land the number two pick and pick a stud, Beasley, which gives them one of the best trios in the league. The problem is that outside those three the rest of their team is dismal.

Projected Starters:

PG – Chris Quinn
SG – Dwyane Wade
SF – Shawn Marion
PF – Michael Beasley
C- Jamaal Magloire

Key reserves: Udonis Haslem, Marcus Banks, Dorrell Wright, James Jones, Alonzo Mourning, Mark Blount

Players to watch: Mario Chalmers & Daequan Cook

As mentioned, when one considers solely the starters of the Miami Heat, they have what might appear to be a playoff team. They are weak at PG and C in the starting lineup, but sport one of the best trios in the league. Unfortunately, it takes more than a nice trio to win the championship, unless they are three future hall of famers (See: Celtics). The starting lineup is kind of up in the air, and Quinn is hardly guaranteed the starting spot at point guard. Moreover, many nights they will suit up with Haslem at Center and play small ball. I expect free agent signee Jamaal Magloire to play the bulk of the center minutes, though he is not worlds better than journeyman Mark Blount. Somehow, Magloire made an all star team a few seasons back, but he has made his descent to being a marginal starter since that time. Alonzo Mourning could start in some circumstances, but due to the kidney ailment he will never play more than 30 minutes a game regularly again.

Looking at the fantasy implications of the roster, Marion is a perennial top 5 pick in fantasy drafts, and while many expect his production to fall off without Nash distributing the ball, it won’t fall off by much. Many forget, Marion was a beast prior to Nash coming to Phoenix and because most of his value doesn’t come from his scoring anyway, he should remain a top 8 pick in all leagues. Few offer the stat stuffing potential of Marion. After Marion, the next guy to be drafted will be Wade. Wade looked great in the Olympics and showed that he still will be a force to be reckoned with. He’s the only one of the great trio (King James & Melo being the other 2) of his draft class to win a championship so far, and even with a bad supporting cast now he should still offer the same production he did prior to being injured. It’s easy to forget just how great those numbers were: 27 ppg, 7.5 apg, 5 rpg, 1.2 bpg, and 10.5 FTs per game at an 80% clip. Expect Marion and Wade to both be first round picks. The other of the trio is a rookie, and as with all rookies, temper your expectations. Last year in college he put up ridiculous numbers – 26.2 ppg, 12.4 rpg, 1.6 bpg, 1.3 spg, while shooting 53% FG and 77% FT. I’d project his NBA stats to work out to about 16-17 ppg, 8-9 rpg, 1.2 bpg, 1.0 spg, and 51% FG. This will likely make him rookie of the year, and he should probably be taken in the 6th round of fantasy drafts, but may go earlier due to manager’s enamorous views towards stud rookies.

Outside those three studs, the only other draftable player is Udonis Haslem. He’s been a quiet but steady player throughout his five seasons in the league, with a career average of 9.1 ppg and 8.1 rpg. He doesn’t hurt you anywhere and is a very consistent double-double threat. Look for Haslem in rounds 9-10. One added bonus is that if the Heat do play enough small ball, Haslem could be eligible at Center.

That covers all the four players worth drafting on the Heat. Keep an eye on Chalmers to see if he can move his way into the starting lineup over Quinn and Banks. He has the tools to be a good point guard for years to come and could be a good waiver pick up for someone this year.

All in all, I don’t expect the Heat to win more than 35 games and they won’t make the playoffs.

Studs: Wade, Marion, Beasley

Solid Vets: Haslem

Others worth drafting: None

Brett Roberts is one of a growing number of fantasy experts who write for the Cafe. You can catch up with Brett in the Cafe's forums where he posts under the name of Nene.
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