Thursday, June 17, 2010

Answers to Thursday's Heat Q&A

Q: I think Bosh is more than likely somewhere else with a better sign and trade opportunity as opposed to the Heat. If that is the case, I personally would prefer a Boozer/Joe Johnson combination than just getting Amare or Amare with Johnson. What do you think? Also, do we have the cap space, or can we attain it through a Beasley trade, to get a Brendan Haywood, Earl Barron, or bring JO back at a discounted rate to be our center?

Answered 06/17/10 14:33:27 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: I'd take Haywood, but I'd rather keep Beasley than let him walk for a reunion with either Earl Barron or Jermaine O'Neal. And I'm with you on the Boozer, Johnson pairing, although you'd then certainly need a center presence, which, I guess, would bring J.O. into the equation again.

Q: Great work Mike. Look into your crystal ball and tell me who you see Lebron, Bosh, Stoudemire, J.Johnson, and Boozer signing with?

Answered 06/17/10 14:31:32 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: Not sure I can afford crystal in this economy. But I'll look into the knockoff I got from the Opa-Locka flea market last week and tell you that ... LeBron will be back in Cleveland. Stoudemire will be in Miami or Chicago. Bosh will be in Chicago or Miami. Joe Johnson will be in New York. And Boozer will join Johnson in New York. But don't put too much stock in that ball. It was $2 bucks and doesn't have a return policy.

Q: Is Ricky Williams Smoking Ganja again? Or, just Mr. Ross? They both are predicting the Dolphins are going to the Super Bowl next season. Do you think the Dolphins are capable of playing in the Super Bowl next season?

Answered 06/17/10 14:28:24 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: You've reached the wrong Q&A. Press "0" for Jeff Darlington, Dolphins beat writer.

Q: Hi Michael, if Lebron and Wade team up and say Bosh decides to go for LAL who would be a better choice Boozer, Amare (most like not since he wants max contract) and I think Scola is available? Tnx.

Answered 06/17/10 14:27:13 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: In that scenario, I'd have to go with Boozer because he'd be cheaper and plus he's a better spot-up shooter than Amare. Playing alongside attack-the-basket players such as LeBron and Wade would create plenty of open looks for kick-out, mid-range jumpers. That's Boozer's game, in addition to his rebounding.

Q: hey mike when july 1 is here how long do u think it will take before the fireworks begin and in your expert opinion what do u think is a realistic scenario for the heat also if we can't build the team with sign and trade and we have to sign free agent directly which will prevent us to go over the 56 millions cap this year isn't it better to keep beasley for one more years and see how it works around 2 stars and then go all out in the next free agency when mr arisson will be able to go over the cap and finish to build a championship team cause i don't know how much over the lakers and celtics are but it doesn't looks like u can make it to the final round with a cheap salary team by the way when was the last time that a team won the champs and stayed under salary cap rule if it ever happen ? thank you for your time

Answered 06/17/10 14:25:37 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: I really wish I had the answers. But I don't. I have educated and slightly-informed opinions. But Pat Riley is better than just about anyone in the league at keeping things close to the vest, despite being in on just about every available player. My guess is that Miami will end up with either Bosh or Stoudemire, make a strong play for Gay, look for a veteran pg in a trade, use at least two of its four draft picks to fill out roster spots and convince a proven league vet or two to come on board for a shot to contend in the East and unseat Boston and a weakened Orlando/Cleveland/Atlanta for a shot at the Finals.

Q: Just read somewhere that not only is Amare here but Rudy Gay is here with him working out this summer. Can you envision the Heat signing Amare and sign-and-trading Beasley/Cook for Gay? I think Gay, Wade, and Amare would be a great core if the Heat cannot land LBJ/Bosh.

Answered 06/17/10 14:22:56 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: That certainly would be the most explosive 2, 3, 4 trio in the league in my opinion. But I'm not sure the Grizzlies will allow Gay to walk this summer. If Gay doesn't want to be there, which I'm told he doesn't and wants out, he might have to take the one-year qualifying offer and then wait for unrestricted free agency next year - or a trade at the Feb. deadline.

Q: Good day mate! At least Amare was honest that he is NOT signing any contract that is not a maximum deal. 1st question is do you think he deserves one? Because I don't think so, I'd rather have Boozer if Amare's asking for a max. 2nd question is do you believe what these max-contract deserving FA's (LbJ, Bosh, etc.) whenever they say that winning is the most important thing and getting that max isn't that important to them? Do you really believe they would sign anything under the max?

Answered 06/17/10 14:20:30 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: I don't think any of the top five free agents (LeBron, Wade, Bosh, Stoudemire, Dirk) is signing for anything less than the max. I think there are only about 7 max slots available throughout the league at this point. Boozer, Johnson, Gay - those guys might have to settle for less than the max, even though there might be money out there.

Q: It seems as if Bosh to Miami is gaining some steam since he and D-Wade had dinner together. At the end of free agency, do you think Wade convinces Bosh and Johnson to join the Heat? If they do, would be a be top 2 team in the east?

Answered 06/17/10 14:17:21 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: I'm not sure I'd go that far just because they had dinner together. Heck, Wade attended a tennis tournament with Star Jones a couple years back, but that didn't mean they kicked off a commitment. I believe the Heat would face more competition and difficulties getting Bosh than they would Stoudemire. As far as Johnson is concerned, it's just a matter of how much he's willing to win and at what cost in terms of a less-than-max salary from Miami.

Q: So the New York Times published a article saying that Ray Allen wants to come to miami. It says that he knows Chris Bosh will sign too. So all the cap space for Ray Allen, Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade? Is it really worth it to spend it on them? What would be the line up? Would dwayne wade switch to point guard?

Answered 06/17/10 14:14:31 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: It was the New York Daily News that published the rumor as part of a weekly NBA gossip column. Here's a tip. Only believe 1 percent of half of the rumors you hear about NBA free agency.

Q: will stoudemire go with the heat

Answered 06/17/10 14:12:12 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: The fact that Amare is here now working out, has established an offseason residence here and went as far as to get those MRIs at a clinic that just happened to service other Heat players certainly leads one to believe that something is in the works come July 1.

Q: trade Beasley,Jones,Cook with #1 pick to the pacers for Roy Hibbert and T J Ford. Then trade Ford to the warriors for Correy Maggette. Sign Steve Blake as the point guard. Starting 5: Blake,Wade,Maggette,Bosh,Hibbert bench: Chalmers,Raja Bell,Henry,Haslem,Jerome Jordan,Joel Anthony,other draft picks Or Trade Beasley,Jones,Cook and #1 pick to the hornets for Darren Collison and Okafor. Resign Wright. Starting 5: Collison,Wade,D Wright,Bosh,Okafor bench:Chalmers,Raja Bell,Henry,Haslem,Jerome Jordan,Joel Anthony,other draft picks Mike..

Answered 06/17/10 14:10:43 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: There you go. Spin again.

Q: Hi Pat-riley! i know that you have been busy to try to improve our team this summer. but my point view is : whoever at the power foward ,rudy gay at small forward,wade,whoever at the point guard or mario charmers and the center spot draft pick or O'Neil. reserve at the bench wright,haslem,patrick,draft pick at center,richardson,beasley or another draft pick.

Answered 06/17/10 14:09:45 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: You've got the wrong email if you're trying to reach Pat with another roster request. Try priley@whyinhellwouldItaketheseemailsfromfans.com

Q: Hey Mike, another question, is there any chance or way that Riley can bring Ricky Rubio here? I tend to think that he's not going to play in Minnesota and Minnesota is not going crazy for him, so can Riley work out a trade? If so, can he get him out of his European contract to get him here? I guess I'm asking if a) can this be done, and b) do you think it is a good PG option? Rubio looks like he's got good vision, can get the ball in the post and has a nice shot/range if Wade kicks out to him. What do you think?

Answered 06/17/10 14:07:22 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: I won't be sold on Rubio until I see him getting it done in the NBA, against superior athleticism and quickness on a night in and night out basis. That's not to disrespect what he's doing overseas, but I need to see more than a few highlights. I believe Riley would rather go with a more proven vet at the point guard position. Even though J-Will and Payton drove Riley crazy with their attitudes and actions at times, there was a trust factor there that hasn't existed at that position since the championship team disbanded.

Q: After resigning Wade and Bosh trade Beasley,Cook,Jones to hornets for Collison and Okafor. Keep Collison and seeing as the pacers are interested in Okafor trade Okafor for Hibbert and Troy Murphy. Imagine having Murphy to backup Bosh. starting 5:Collison,Wade,D Wright,Bosh,Hibbert bench:Chalmers,Raja Bell,Gordan Hayward,Murphy,Jerome Jordan,Joel Anthony,other draft picks Mike...

Answered 06/17/10 14:04:39 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: I like. I like. But the question you have to ask is this: why would New Orleans need Beasley, Cook and Jones when they have David West, James Posey and Peja filling those exact same roles already?

Q: Hi Michael, hope u'r welle this week, as usual, under the florida sun... i have two questions for you today... first one : what choice would you do if you were in charge in the organisation, for the draft(choices which for you, would have the best sense)? second question: admitting bosh wants to come and Pat riley wants bosh to wear a heat jersey... it looks like a S&T is not so easy to do... so what is your thought about a three or four team deal to get every one happy?thanks for all...and take care. "bonjour de la france!"

Answered 06/17/10 14:03:07 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: If I'm Miami, I simply take the best player available, regardless of position, with the NO. 18 pick. The Heat has needs at every position, considering only two players are under guaranteed contract right now moving forward. Depth was an issue with this team the past few seasons. Having said that, I'd go with a Big with the first-round pick, either Whiteside or solomon kid from Florida State.

Read more: http://www.miamiherald.com/qna/forum/heat_chat/index.html#ixzz0r8XucaC1

Friday, February 19, 2010

Postgame Breakdown: Heat 100, Grizzlies 87

For a night, the Heat's supporting cast played a collective starring role. Grizz-Heat-Main

With Dwyane Wade out with a calf injury and starting point guard Rafer Alston also sitting with a hand injury, Michael Beasley stepped up. And up. And Up. And up.

Beasley led the way with a career-high 30 points to help get the Heat past the Memphis Grizzlies 100-87 in double overtime Friday at FedEx Forum. A day after Heat owner Micky Arison and team president Pat Riley emerged from the trading deadline with the roster intact, the team showed it was the right move.

For a night, at least.

The ultimate team-wide effort allowed Miami to extend its winning streak to five games, including three straight Ws on the road. That five-game losing streak before the All-Star break has been answered by a five-game victory streak that started with two wins going into the break and three coming out of it.

The Heat can sweep the four-games-in-five-days stretch with a victory Saturday in Dallas.

Not only did Beasley respond with a career night, guard Mario Chalmers also came back from a three-week injury absence to score a season-high 18 points. There were the 10 points and team-high six assists from Carlos Arroyo in his start for Alston. There was the all-around play from Quentin Richardson, who got eight points, nine rebounds, three assists, two steals and a block.

There was the consistent effort in regulation from Jermaine O'Neal, who closed with 18 points and nine rebounds. And after O'Neal fouled out in the first overtime, forward Udonis Haslem took over in the second overtime period, scoring eight of his 10 points as Miami (29-27) pulled away.

Two months ago, the Grizzlies exposed everything that was wrong with the Heat in that 28-point thrashing in Miami. On Friday, the Heat avenged that loss by displaying reasons to believe in this supporting cast.

"We just want to show the world that we can actually play the game of basketball," Beasley said. "With D-Wade being as good as he is, people sometimes don't think we can play. But we can do it."

D. WADE'S DOINGS: The recovery process from that sprained left calf continues for Wade, who missed his first game of the season on Friday and also is expected to sit out Saturday at Dallas. Wade underwent his third consecutive day of extensive treatment. Wade remains sore, but he is regaining his range of motion in his lower left leg. The team reported that Wade can raise up on his toes, something he was unable to do when he sustained the injury in Wednesday's victory at New Jersey. Should he sit out on Saturday and in Tuesday's home game, Wade would have another three days of rest before the Heat plays again Saturday afternoon at home against Milwaukee. This isn't the type of injury you can rush back from, especially a player who relies on his lower body and explosion to make plays on both ends.

TURNING POINT: The Heat had a chance to win it in regulation, but O'Neal missed a jumper at the Grizz-Heat-Second buzzer. Miami also had a chance to put it away in the first overtime, but Beasley fired an air ball under pressure. The Heat made sure it would not come down to a final shot in the extra, extra session. The Heat outscored the Grizzlies 15-2 in the second overtime period.

WINNING EDGE: The Heat held the Grizzlies to 31 points in the first half and 38 percent shooting for the game. This is the fifth consecutive game the Heat has held its opponents below 40 percent shooting from the field. The defense has been outstanding the past two weeks for the Heat. Miami also forced 21 turnovers, although it committed 20.

HEAD-SCRATCHER: With Alston out and Arroyo inserted as the starter, it's going to be interesting to see what coach Erik Spoelstra does at point guard moving forward. It's become clear over the past few games that Arroyo is the more effective threat at the position. Alston has struggled extensively with his shot since he arrived from New Jersey last month, and has been erratic. Mario Chalmers, who returned Friday from a torn thumb ligament, has regressed in some ways from his rookie season. The better Arroyo performs, the more pressure it places on the coaching staff to make a firm decision with the rotation. Spoelstra values the contribution of a productive second unit, and would probably prefer Arroyo's offense with that unit. With Wade and Alston ailing, this is a decision Spoelstra can sidestep for another few games. Chalmers comfort level when cast at shooting guard Friday was a pleasant surprise. But eventually, something's gotta give, right?

KEY CONTRIBUTION: Is Beasley a keeper? You certainly had to have him Friday. And it's hard to argue against that these past couple of games.Beas All-Star Dunk The fact of the matter is Beasley is putting up Amare Stoudemire numbers right now. As his confidence grows, so will his game. Beasley understands how heavy of a burden Wade has had to carry. The key now is that Beasley and Wade learn to play together at a high level on a consistent basis. Coach Erik Spoelstra said he saw a different side of Beasley during the pre-game film session going into Friday's game. "He was as quiet and focused as I've seen him," Spoelstra said. Beasley knew the challenge he faced, and he stepped up to that challenge for a second game with Wade out for the duration. Much like his team, the next step for Beasley is doing it consistently.

NEXT UP: Heat at Dallas Mavericks, 8:30 p.m. Saturday, American Airlines Center

(For live news, notes and updates on the Heat, follow me on Twitter @ twitter.com/wallacesports. To post a question or join our live Heat chat each Thursday from 1-2 p.m., click here.)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Heat 99, Grizzlies 93 (Preseason)

Forget about the rib injury, the sore left calf and the other nagging ailments that have bothered Dwyane Grizzlies_Heat_WadeWade during the preseason. By now, it's official. Dude is regular-season ready.

Wade completed another test run for the Oct. 28 regular season opener against New York by toying with Memphis for three quarters and then putting away the Grizzlies down the stretch of Wednesday's 99-93 victory at AmericanAirlines Arena.

But even beyond Wade's 35-point effort were encouraging signs from the Heat. After an awful start in which Miami trailed by 18 points in the first half, the Heat rallied and used a 30-point swing to take a 12-point lead midway through the fourth quarter.

Wade had to work a bit harder with Michael Beasley, the team's second-leading scorer, sitting out with a sore shoulder and sprained right thumb. But there were plenty of "step-up" efforts from the supporting cast. The most encouraging sign has been the Heat's ability to put points on the scoreboard over the past three preseason games. Miami has scored 91, 97 and 99 points over its past three games.

There are still some concerns that need to be addressed. The Heat's perimeter defense is still spotty and opponents are also controlling the offense glass. But with the preseason wrapping up Thursday against Atlanta in Jacksonville, there is time to get those issues corrected before the games actually count.

D. WADE'S DOINGS:Wade provided a quick start and a lethal finish. The league's returning leading scorer tossed in a preseason-high 35 points on 13 of 23 shooting from the field and a 9 of 14 clip from the free-throw line. He also had six steals, five rebounds, three turnovers and two assists in 30 minutes. Wade scored 11 in the fourth, including the game-clinching conventional three-point play with 26 seconds left. Wade insists he doesn't want to work this hard night in and night out, which is why he tried to call for roster upgrades this season summer. But there are going to be plenty of games where Wade's best is barely going to be enough to get Miami by. Beasley's absence increased Wade's workload. But Wade would prefer to score in the mid-20s and put his teammates in position to make more plays rather than dominate the scoring column. Don't be surprised if he decides to take Thursday's game off and rest up.

TURNING POINT:There were many in this game. Memphis jumped out fast and led by as many as 18 early on. The Heat rallied and led by as many as 12 midway through the fourth. But the final momentum swing was the biggest, obviously. That's when Memphis used a 15-4 run to cut its deficit to a point with less than a minute left. Wade then closed the door with a three-point play and a breakaway dunk. Also credit Udonis Haslem with the hustle play to get a key loose-ball rebound in the final seconds.

Grizzlies_Heat_JO-Block WINNING EDGE:The Grizzlies were the team with four 7-footers, but Miami held a 7-3 edge in blocked shots thanks in large part to Jermaine O'Neal finally getting his defense going after a rough preseason that had been derailed by nagging injuries. O'Neal provided the type of defense the Heat will come to expect this season. He finished with eight points and added eight rebounds and four blocks. His offense will come around eventually. But the 8 boards Wednesday were five more than he's averaged in the preseason. It was a much-needed effort from J.O.

HEAD-SCRATCHER:The preseason is supposed to be when you settle on a rotation and establish some chemistry and continuity. That hasn't necessarily been the case for the Heat, which started its sixth different lineup in as many games. Miami hasn't opened with its expected regular-season starting lineup since the opener against Detroit. On Wednesday, the starters were Mario Chalmers, Wade, Quentin Richardson, Udonis Haslem and Jermaine O'Neal. This time, Beasley was the missing man. Last time, it was Haslem. The time before that, it was Wade. And the time before that, it was O'Neal. You have to wonder if this might affect the team early in the season until things get settled.

KEY CONTRIBUTION:Haslem continues to prove why he should be left alone as the starting power forward. He turned in another effective, efficient performance, with 17 points on 7 of 9 shooting. He HASLEM_UDONISalso grabbed a team-high nine rebounds and handed out three assists. You can pretty much count on Haslem to give you this type of effort every night. He vows to be more aggressive on offense this season, which is where the nine FGAs came from. He'll continue to play within the team concept. But keep in mind, it's a contract year for UD, too. Beasley and Haslem should be able to co-exist at the forward spots. Beasley is versatile enough to play small forward and Haslem is too reliable to move out of the starting lineup at power forward right now.

NEXT UP: Heat vs. Atlanta Hawks (Jacksonville), Thursday - 7 p.m.

(For live news, notes and updates on the Heat, follow me on Twitter @ twitter.com/wallacesports. To post a question or join our live Heat chat each Thursday from 1-2 p.m., click here.)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Let's Make a (Draft Day) Deal

This has to be eating away at Heat president Pat Riley.

The East is rebuilding and reloading around him right now, while the Heat maintains its position with a 2010 view of the landscape.

In just the past few days, Shaq has gone to Cleveland to help bolster LeBron James' front line, one that Shaq2 fell flat in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Within the Heat's division, Washington's Gilbert Arenas is getting healthy and the Wizards just got deeper by trading for Randy Foye and Mike Miller. Atlanta, the team that eliminated Miami from the playoffs, just got a bit more explosive by adding Heat headache Jamal Crawford.

The entire conference - or at least the teams that matter - all seem to be on the move. Riley has said he would speed up the team's roster overhaul, but not before he has Dwyane Wade's signature on a contract extension, which could happen as early as July 12. Otherwise, things will have to wait a year.

Although the Heat's stated goal is to avoid doing anything that would jeopardize its flexibility during the mega free agency period of 2010, there are some solid moves the team can make to improve right now.

With the NBA Draft set to start in a few hours, here are three moves I would consider making if I'm the Heat. They would make the team better next season. A few might send the team a bit deeper into the luxury tax for a year, but none of them would compromise the team's 2010 spending flexibility.

DEAL 1: Trade Dorell Wright, James Jones and the 43rd overall pick tonight (the $4.2 million tradeCamby exception)to the Clippers for Marcus Camby. (UPDATE - I stand corrected. I initially had the Heat sending its $4.2 million trade exception instead of Jones in this deal, but upon further review, such exceptions cannot be combined in a deal with another player. It has to be a separate transaction) The skinny: Camby is on a convenient contract that expires after the season. He is also still a dominant shot-blocker and rebounder who would be insurance for Jermaine O'neal. Both have had injury issues the past few seasons. Both are off the books at season's end. But Miami, for now, has absolutely nothing in the post behind O'Neal. The Clippers get to clear out room for Blake Griffin. If the Heat could find some way to ship either its $4.2 million or $800,000 trade exceptions in a side deal, it would sweeten the pot for the Clippers. It's also money the Heat probably wouldn't use otherwise. Wright gets to go home for a fresh start to a career that never materialized in Miami after he was taken with the 19th pick in 2004. Jones would be another kick-out option for Baron Davis who could also balance the floor for an improved inside attack. Plus, Jones has an option-friendly deal after next season that could be terminated with a reduced guarantee.

DEAL 2: Trade Mark Blount and Daequan Cook and the 43rd pick to Indiana for Marquis Daniels and Jarrett Jack. The skinny: The Heat gets back two playmaking-type perimeter players (Jack, a young backup PG to push Mario Chalmers. Daniels, a poor man's Josh Howard) and gives up very little aside from Cook's promise. There are contract options that make this a comfortable move for the Heat. What does it do for Indiana? Blount reunites with Jim O'Brien, the coach that got plenty out of him in Boston. Cook's shooting - Blount's, too - would be tailor made for Indiana's inside-out system. The moves would also settle the point guard logjam in Indiana and also give first-round pick Brandon Rush a chance to develop faster.

DEAL 3: This one hurts because I truly respect what Udonis Haslem means to this team. He's taken over Marc gasol for Zo as the heart and soul of the organization. However, trade Haslem and the 43rd pick to Memphis for Mike Conley and Marc Gasol. The skinny: Again contract options on both Conley and Gasol give the Heat an out if necessary. But Conley, who could use a fresh start after a turbulent two years in Memphis, is another young guard who could challenge Mario. The Griz could also use the 43rd pick to take a point guard, move O.J. Mayo to the point or bring in a veteran with their cap space. Gasol is a skilled, big body and a banger. But if the Griz take Hasheem Thabeet at No. 2 tonight, there won't be room for Thabeet, Darko and Gasol. Haslem would give the young and promising Grizzlies the proven, rugged, veteran power forward who brings a winner's resume. This deal also opens the gates for Michael Beasley to take over in Miami at forward. Haslem has an expiring contract and could also consider coming back to his hometown team a year from now.

Pat might possibly have a lot on his plate tonight. Or, he could stand pat and maintain the patient approach, with a focus squarely on 2010.

(For live news, notes and updates on the Heat, follow me on Twitter @ twitter.com/wallacesports)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

And the Forecasts Says ...

With the Heat set to open regular-season play in New York on Wednesday against the Knicks, there's no better time than now to get those last-minute league predictions in for the season.

Lebron_pose Most Valuable Player: LeBron James - It's his time. He's got a bit more help on the roster this season, which means his stats might dip just a bit. But that didn't seem to hurt Kobe last year. Plus, James is two years overdue. He should have earned MVP two years ago when he carried the Cavs to the Finals.

Rookie of the Year: Greg Oden - Michael Beasley and O.J. Mayo, provided everyone stays healthy, will put up far more impressive numbers. But Oden's team has more overall talent and almost made the playoffs last year without him. If they get into the postseason this time around, guess who will get most of the credit for making the difference?

Coach of the Year (East): Stan Van Gundy - His grinding style might wear on his players quickly, but that seems to be just what the Magic needs to get the most out of Dwight Howard and his supporting cast. The Magic is coming off its best season in a decade and a second-round playoff berth. Van Gundy was upstaged by Doc Rivers and Boston's more miraculous turnaround. The Magic still has the luxury of flying a bit under the radar.

Coach of the Year (West): Nate McMillan - It's the no-brainer choice here if he gets the Trail Blazers one step further than last season and into the playoffs. He did the best job out of any coach in the league last season not named Byron Scott.

Defensive Player of the Year: Tyson Chandler - Shot-blocking, rebounding and athletic finishes at theTyson_chandler_2   rim have become his specialty. The Hornets beefed up their defensive rep already with the addition of perimeter specialist James Posey. Chandler could benefit from the Hornets' even stingier team numbers this season.

Sixth Man of the Year: Lamar Odom - If Full-of-it-Sometimes Phil Jackson follows through on his bluff to bring Odom off the bench, it could be a move that pays off personally for Odom and overall for the team. Odom's versatility almost ensures he will produce the kind of all-around numbers that will keep him in the race. And the Lakers success as a team could put him over the top - if he buys in.

On to the Heat ...

Projected win total (range): 36-42

Division finish: 2nd

Conference finish (range): 7-10

Beasleywade Dwyane Wade: Second-team All-NBA, All-Star starter, 30.2 ppg., 6.4 apg., 4.8 rpg.

Michael Beasley: All-Rookie Team, Leads the Rookie team in scoring against the Sophomore squad at All-Star Weekend, 17.5 ppg., 7.3 rpg. (season)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

NBA GM survey: What they're saying about the Heat and more...

The Heat-related items that came out of the NBA GM 2008-09 survey released Wednesday:

  • Portland Trail Blazers and Miami Heat – most improved team (each 26 percent)
  • The second overall draft pick in the 2008 NBA Draft, Michael Beasley of the Miami Heat grabbed 48 percent of the GM vote to win the 2008-09 NBA Rookie of the Year Award.  2007 top overall draft pick Greg Oden of the Portland Trail Blazers, who sat out the 2007-08 season with an injury, received 30 percent and the Memphis Grizzlies’ O.J. Mayo rounded out the top three with 11 percent of the vote.   

The rest of the results:

  • 46 percent of GMs believe the Lakers will win their 15th NBA title in 2009.  The defending NBA champion Boston Celtics received 19 percent of the vote, followed by the New Orleans Hornets with 12 percent.  For the first time in five years, the majority of GMs did not select the San Antonio Spurs (eight percent) to win the title.
  • Cleveland Cavaliers’ LeBron James (56 percent) was selected by GMs for the third consecutive year to win the regular season MVP.  Reigning MVP, Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers received 37 percent of the vote and the New Orleans Hornets’ Chris Paul garnered seven percent.
  • For the first time, Dwight Howard, center for the Orlando Magic (56 percent), and New Orleans Hornets’ point guard Chris Paul (89 percent) were voted as the top players at their positions, overtaking the Houston Rockets’ Yao Ming and Phoenix Suns’ Steve Nash.  The Cavaliers’ James (93 percent) was viewed as the best small forward, the LakersBryant (93 percent) was selected as the best shooting guard and the Spurs’ Tim Duncan (52%) finished as the best power forward.  Bryant and Duncan are the only players to have been selected as the best at their position in all seven years of the NBA.com GM Survey.
  • After acquiring two-time All-Star Elton Brand, 52 percent of GMs believe the Philadelphia 76ers made the best overall moves this past offseason and 67 percent believe Brand’s move to Philadelphia will be the most impactful player acquisition.
  • For the seventh consecutive season, Bryant (89 percent) was selected by GMs as the player they most want taking the shot with the game on the line.  Dirk Nowitzki of the Dallas Mavericks (67 percent) was voted the top international player and James (67 percent) was voted as the top player GMs would sign to start an NBA franchise.
  • Spurs’ Gregg Popovich - best head coach in the NBA (54 percent)
  • Utah Jazz – best home-court advantage (44 percent)
  • Celtics’ Kevin Garnett - best defensive player (44 percent)
  • Lakers’ Andrew Bynum - most likely to have breakout season (19 percent)
  • New Orleans Hornets – most fun team to watch (27 percent)
  • Knicks’ Mike D’Antoni – head coach that runs the best offense (54 percent)
  • Hornets’ Chris Paul - fastest player with the ball (37 percent)
  • Blazers’ Rudy Fernandez – which international rookie is most ready to contribute this season (52 percent)    

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Heat 102, Grizzlies 85 (Beyond the Box Score)

The Heat's small lineup was effective agains the hapless Memphis Grizzlies. The Griz were without leading scorer Rudy Gay (staph infection). Memphis' O.J. Mayo was the star of all the rookies and had a spectacular performance, scoring 28 points in 38 minutes and adding five assists and five rebounds. Big picture the Heat needed to win this game to re-affirm that all the hard work being done in practice is translating to success in games. The Heat got its first preseason win since 2006. The experimenting may continue as Spoelstra finds which combos are most effective but this was a step.

Player of the game: Udonis Haslem--There were many bright spots for the Heat but Haslem had a second straight double-double. He finished with 14 points and 13 rebounds and showed no lingering effects of the foot injury that sidelined him earlier in training camp. Haslem was effective at center and in 38 minutes gave the Heat the kind of performance it will need from him this season. No one is expecting him to play 38 minutes a game at center, and he didn't Tuesdya. He showed that he could be effective against Memphis' frontcourt of seven-footers. Dwyane Wade had another solid night, scoring a team-high 25 points, and had six assists and five rebounds. Also Mario Chalmers had his best performance so far at point guard, but as Spoelstra noted afterward it may be one step forward, another backward for Chalmers as he develops this season.

Surprise, surprise: Michael Beasley--The rookie got his first start. He started at power forward. Haslem was at center, Shawn Marion was at small forward, with Wade and Chris Quinn at the guard spots. Spoelstra said not to read into starting Beasley. Spoelstra has been pleased with Beasley's play but this seemed to be as much about seeing Beasley with the small lineup to start a game as Beasley earning the time. Beasley picked up two quick fouls within the first four minutes, limiting his playing time in the first half. Beasley had no rebounds, and said it was a career-first but said it was mostly because he was guarding players on the perimeter. Beasley is a natural offensively and had nine of his 19 points in the fourth quarter.

Tough night: Reserve Yakhouba Diawara played 16 minutes and went 0 for 4, including 0 for 2 from beyond the arc and had three rebounds and one steal. The Heat will need more from him. But in all fairness he's a solid defender so he did contribute. Diawara does not look the answer from beyond the arc with James Jones (wrist) sidelined.

Next up: The Heat faces New Orleans on Thursday in Mobile, Ala. at 7:30 p.m.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Draft Mocking For Dummies

Somehow, over the past few days, logic and reality seem to have been removed from the process leading up to Thursday night's NBA Draft. But we'll attempt to wade through the smokescreens, misdirection and muddled mess to deliver our best-guess, updated mock draft.

A lot has changed since our first version of the mock draft on the blog after the lottery order was set. Still, plenty has remained the same. Or at least it should have, especially when it comes to how the top of this draft should - and will - play out tonight.

Bank on it. We'll be right - unless, of course, we turn out to be dead wrong. And if that turns out to be the case, then forget this file ever existed. So with the first pick in the 2008 NBA Draft ...

Rose_derrick 1. Chicago Bulls - Derrick Rose, PG, Memphis: Just like its approach to hiring a head coach, Chicago made this process much more difficult than it had to be. Housecleaning will follow, but Rose is the type of point guard and selfless player who could allow the Bulls to blossom into a serious contender again.

2. Miami Heat - Michael Beasley, F, Kansas State: With two years left on his contract, let's hope Heat Beasley_2 president Pat Riley gets this right. Because he probably won't be around to apologize down the line if he  blows this pick by gambling with a trade.

3. Minnesota Timberwolves - O.J. Mayo, G, USC: The T-Wolves insist they will get an impact player Usc_mayo_basketball_la103 either here or by trading for a spot later in the lottery. Brook Lopez fits a need, but Mayo is the best player - and biggest star - on the board after Rose and Beasley depart.

4. Seattle Supersonics - Brook Lopez, C, Stanford: First real draft surprise here. Until recently, all signs had pointed to the Sonics going small with Jerryd Bayless. Instead, they go big with Lopez, who also fits a need and adds to a nice young nucleus of Kevin Durant and Jeff Green.

5. Memphis Grizzlies - Kevin Love, F, UCLA: Gritty, skilled post player would slot right into the spot Lovek vacated by Pau Gasol in that awful trade to the Lakers. Memphis would prefer Beasley, but Love is a solid consolation prize to team with budding stars Mike Conley Jr. and Rudy Gay.

6. New York Knicks - Jerryd Bayless, G, Arizona: New coach Mike D'Antoni will be tempted to snag Italian star forward Danilo Gallinari because of close ties. But D'Antoni also got a great look at Bayless while coaching the Suns. Bayless would provide a nice transition away from the Stephon Marbury era.

7. L.A. Clippers - Eric Gordon, G, Indiana: Instincts say go with the local product in UCLA guard Russell Westbrook. But conventional wisdom suggests Gordon because his ability to score and light it up from three-point range would far better complement the inside attack of Elton Brand and Chris Kaman.

8. Milwaukee Bucks - Joe Alexander, F, West Virginia: Had him in this spot in the original mock draft and see no reason to move him now. Alexander's athleticism and relentless play give new coach Scott Skiles the same attacking wing play he had in Chicago with Luol Deng and Andres Nocioni.

Westbrook 9. Charlotte Bobcats - Russell Westbrook, G, UCLA: An athletic post presence and point guard depth are the needs, so DeAndre Jordan or even Anthony Randolph could be options here. But Westbrook plays Larry Brown-type defense and would be insurance for the erratic Raymond Felton.

10. New Jersey Nets - Danilo Gallinari, F, Italy: One way or the other, Gallinari is expected to end up in the New York area. But the Nets also are in the market for a big man, which might lead them to Jordan or possibly trading down for Roy Hibbert or Robin Lopez.

11. Indiana Pacers - DeAndre Jordan, C, Texas A&M: Now that the Pacers have addressed the point guard position by trading for T.J. Ford, they must now fill the hole in the middle left by Jermain O'Neal's departure. Jordan lacks an offensive game, but his shot-blocking and rebounding are NBA-ready.

12. Sacramento Kings - D.J. Augustin, PG, Texas: If he's available, this would be a steal for the Kings. Augustine With Beno Udrih headed into restricted free agency, Augustin would be a more-than-capable insurance policy who could start as a rookie. If he's gone, Darrell Arthur or Randolph are fall-back options who would fit other needs.

13. Portland Trail Blazers - Darrell Arthur, PF, Kansas: With a young, deep and athletic roster, the Blazers could be looking to trade and pick up a playoff-tested veteran, preferably a deep shooter to free up space for center Greg Oden to operate inside upon his return. Otherwise, Arthur is the best player available.

Randolph 14. Golden State Warriors - Anthony Randolph, F, LSU: With Baron Davis' situation shaky, the Warriors could use a point guard. But ones worthy of a lottery pick should all be gone. Although his stock has dropped some since the pre-draft camp, the super slender Randolph is an intriguing athlete who could give the Warriors a shot-blocking presence as he develops both an NBA frame and game.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Live from NY: Rose, Beasley, Mayo and Bayless

The top prospects spoke to the media this afternoon and the biggest buzz is about who Miami will end up with Thursday night. Michael Beasley, O.J. Mayo and Jerryd Bayless each thinks they could land in Miami, presuming Derrick Rose is taken first by the Bulls.

Rose was quite humble about being taken first and made a point to say he would not be unhappy if he fell No. 2 to Miami.

Beasley is quite a character and seemed relaxed, finding a way to inject his humor into several answers. Predictably he was asked several questions about his supposed maturity and character issues.

The Beasley show:

*While trying to work his way through the media crush to get to his assigned table, he said playfully: "I can't get through. I feel like Moses. Hey, who knocked down my name card?"

*He told a story about how he did not come to Miami prepared for wet weather, and wound up caught in the rain. "My socks got wet!"

*On whether he should grow up: "I'm a kid. I don't want to grow up too fast. I'm not 25."

*On whether needs to change and what he says to people who say he should mature: "Why change? I think they need to smile more."

*One of his close friends is lottery prospect and UCLA forward Kevin Love. They had a funny exchange as Beasley left his media session and Love entered. Beasley inquired about hanging out and asked, "What are you doing tomorrow?" Love responded: "Getting drafted." Beasley also mentioned that he had lost his room key.

Mayo's take: He said that his Heat workout was the most fast-paced and intense of all the individual workouts he did leading up to the draft. He said he got only one water break and did lots of running. Beasley said his Heat workout also involved lots of running. Mayo said he did not realize he was working out with coach Erik Spoelstra because the 37-year-old looked so young. Mayo thought he was a team trainer until a good way through the session.

Mayo said he is very capable of being a point guard in the NBA, but mentioned that if he ends up with the Heat he would probably share ball-handling duties with Dwyane Wade.

Bayless' view: Although he primarily played shooting guard in college, Bayless said he will be a point guard in the NBA. He said he thinks he would fit real well with Wade.

O.J. Mayo and Jerryd Bayless in the picture (with poll)

All eyes are on the Heat, With point guard Derrick Rose appearing to be a virtual lock to go to Chicago first overall. Keep in mind that the Heat must select a player with the second pick before making a trade, so even if Michael Beasley's name is called that does not guarantee that he finishes the night with the Heat.

Baylessphoto_2 Former Arizona guard Jerryd Bayless and USC guard O.J. Mayo worked out for the Heat in Miami Tuesday, ESPN reported late Tuesday night. (No official word from the Heat yet--as the team did not send out a release like usual with the list of players that worked out after the fact--and team officials were not available for comment.)

Earlier Tuesday, word was the Heat would select and KEEP Beasley. However, team officials continued entertaining trade offers and still really intrigued by Mayo. A few days ago it appeared the Heat's interest in Mayo had cooled a bit, when team officials went to watch Rose workout in LA while Mayo worked out for several top lottery teams in Mayo Chicago. The Heat's interest in Mayo is real but don't bet on the Heat passing over Beasley. I still think it would take an appealing trade package for the Heat to unload Beasley. That is where it gets complicated because if the Heat wants to be assured of getting Mayo it might only be doable if Miami's trade partner is Minnesota. The Timberwolves, which hold the No. 3 pick, are one of the teams that covets Mayo.

Bayless entering the fray suggests the Heat wants to cover as many bases as possible should the team trade for the guard.

The problem is the Heat could regret not ending up with Beasley, if that's what happens. In most of the possible trade scenarios involving the Heat, Miami would be sending the best player--Beasley--to another team, and it's hard to think of a trade where the team that get less in return made out better. All of this goes back to the dilemma. The Heat has several pressing needs--center and point guard. The talented Beasley would fill none of those.

If you're the Heat what would you do? (Vote below).

I'm in New York, check back for updates. The top prospects including Beasley, Rose, Mayo, Bayless, etc. are scheduled to speak with the media Wednesday afternoon so stay tuned.


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