(Credit: Bleacher Report)
After four games of the 2014 NBA Finals, one thing is obvious. Miami needs to revamp their roster if they want to continue to win championships in the future.
Pat Riley and Co. will have plenty of wiggle room to add some major pieces to help LeBron James as the Heat will have a fairly decent amount of cap space. The only two players on the Heat’s roster who have guaranteed contracts for next season are Norris Cole and Chris Anderson. James, Chris Bosh, Dwayne Wade and Udonis Haslem all have options. If those guys opt out and leave, Miami will be in serious rebuilding mode. For the sake of this article I’m going to assume all of those guys stay in South Beach.
Twenty-four hours ago, people seemed positive Carmelo Anthony was going to end up in Miami. The LeBron haters were out in full force the minute Stephen A. Smith declared Anthony would probably be joining the Heat while LeBron Apologists were defending the idea as if Anthony was already on a plane to South Beach. Nobody seemed to be arguing how much Anthony could or could not help the team but preferred to argue whether it was fair that Miami would certainly be holding up the Larry O’Brien trophy at the end of next season.
Well, I’m here to argue that Anthony is not the best option for the Heat moving forward (even though Adrian Wojnarowski wrote Anthony probably won’t end up there anyway.) Miami needs to look elsewhere in free agency. While I do think Anthony would take some of the scoring pressure off of LeBron, he doesn’t answer their biggest needs. Miami is in dire need of a point guard and a post presence. Anthony is neither. Miami also needs to find a way to ramp up their defense back to where it was in 2012 and 2013, and Anthony adds another defensive liability to a lineup that already features Wade’s now infamous lack of defense.
There are two key players Miami should look to add; Marcin Gortat and Kyle Lowry. Both players are unrestricted free agents and could help Miami fill needs. Gortat provides an inside presence to play alongside Bosh and gives the Heat something they’ve lacked since the departure of Shaquille O’Neal.
While there are other centers available with better size than Gortat, there aren’t any available with better skill. The combination of Bosh, James and Gortat would rejuvenate the Heat’s inside game. Gortat averaged 14.5 points, 10.4 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game last season.
If the Heat aren’t able to talk him out of re-signing with the Wizards, there aren’t a lot of centers available who they could target. Jordan Hill is one possibility and Andray Blatche is another. However, Blatche has an option in Brooklyn, and his limited ability on the defensive end should be concerning to Miami.
Miami’s biggest need is a point guard. Chalmers’ play has been atrocious, and lucky for them his contract is up. They still have Norris Cole who is a good option off the bench, but Cole doesn’t have the size or skill to be a starter. The Heat have several options here. They have the no. 26 pick in the draft and will more than likely draft a point guard. If they’re lucky, Shabazz Napier will slip, and they can take him. But even if Napier goes before their pick there are other options. Missouri’s Jordan Clarkson is a point guard with good size who could help them in the future, and he will more than certainly be available at their pick.
Even if the Heat draft a point guard, they will still need to find someone who can start right away. Kyle Lowry could fill that void. In 2014, Lowry had career bests in points per game, assists per game and PER. Lowry could be a player the Heat count on to score and can also help James run the offense. There are other point guards available, but Lowry would be the best option for Miami. Isaiah Thomas had a huge year, but he is a restricted free-agent. The Kings won’t let him slip away. Same with the Suns’ Eric Bledsoe. Miami will need to continue to surround James with shooters, and Jimmer Fredette or a handful of other players could fit that need.
Miami has plenty of options to improve their roster, but Anthony isn’t the best fit. Sure, he’s talented on the offensive end, but Lowry and Gortat are, too. And they fit the Heat’s needs. Miami will have to be active this offseason if they want to continue to be title contenders, and there aren’t any signs telling us they won’t be.
Sports-Kings Pass the Pill Contributor: @THEMarkPace
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