So how big a deal is this Heat acquisition of Mike Bibby, who you presume would be the team's starting point guard once he's ready?
Well, most people want to call it a minor upgrade over Mario Chalmers.
That's fair. It's not as if Bibby is the same guard he was five years ago, or even the same guy who averaged 16 and five in his first year in Atlanta.
However, the difference between Bibby and Chalmers remains significant enough that it can greatly affect the outcomes of games the Heat plays against the better teams in the league.
If you look at the Heat, the most important things a point guard can do to help is shoot the three well and not turn the ball over.
Well, in both those areas, Bibby is significantly better than Chalmers. Since Chalmers began starting this season, his assist-to-turnover ratio is 2.13 to 1, whereas Bibby's in his time with Atlanta this year is 2.87 to 1. And last season, his ratio was 3.4 to 1, which is very good for 80 starts on a playoff team.
This season with Atlanta, Bibby knocked down threes at a 44 percent clip, career-wise has shot 38 percent from three and last year in the playoffs was 54 percent from distance. Chalmers is at 36 percent for the year, 35 percent for his career, and he's right around that career mark (34.5 percent) since being named a starter.
Why are those differences so important? Well, for starters, the three-point number is a very big difference, and can easily mean the difference between a close game and a comfortable margin.
But overall, those numbers can translate into victories. Consider that the Heat's last six losses, all of them against winning teams, have come by an average of 4.0 points, and none of them have been by more than five points. By avoiding a turnover or two in those games, and making an extra shot or two, you easily could be talking about the Heat losing none of those games, or at least winning a few of them.
And in that case, we're not talking about the sky falling around this team.
Not to mention that, with that trust, the Heat can start a play late in games with Bibby rather than LeBron James or Dwyane Wade, therefore making both of them an option off the ball. That takes pressure off Wade or James to both create and finish when it matters most. That's not even taking into account that Chalmers has been better this year coming off the bench anyway.
As for the defensive side of the ball, yes, Chalmers is theoretically the better defender. But for every good play he makes, he also will commit a senseless foul or gamble for a steal and cost the team overall. Bibby at least knows his limitations. And as long as he understands the Heat's defensive system, he won't be a liability on that end while on the floor.
As for Troy Murphy, yes, that would've also been a big get for Miami, but only if he didn't mind playing some center and banging with bigger guys. Because at the PF spot, Chris Bosh will be taking up 36 to 40 of those minutes. With the Celtics, Murphy can play a tad more minutes at PF, because backup Glen Davis essentially moves to center at times anyway, and was going to be doing that a lot now that Kendrick Perkins is gone. But once Shaquille O'Neal is healthy, the Celtics are going to have to decide whether they want to stay big, meaning O'Neal on the floor heavy minutes, or go to a lineup that includes some combination of Murphy, Davis and Kevin Garnett on the floor. Theoretically, that would favor the Heat come playoff time because Miami can use a smaller lineup itself and still compete inside (that's assuming Udonis Haslem is healthy and can play 20-plus minutes by then). Of course, that would require limiting Davis, who's one of the newest Heat killers in the league.
The point is, Murphy makes the Celtics deeper and gives them a stretch-four, but that team will have to make sacrifices if it wants to make him a big-minute regular. The Heat, on the other hand, fills a need with Bibby without making any significant sacrifices.
As for Carlos Arroyo being cut, it would seem like an unfair/unprecedented act to cut the man who was once the starting point guard. But Arroyo has a history of falling out of favor with teams, whether it's because of his play or for being tough to deal with.
Could the team have cut Jamaal Magloire? Yes, but chances are the Magic would've picked him up for some depth at center. Could the team have cut Juwan Howard? Yes, but he shares an agent with Bibby, and knowing one of his own would get cut could've nudged Bibby in another direction.
Overall, the team had less reasons not to cut Arroyo, so that's where they went with it.