The Miami Heat has seen how difficult things will be on their way to a three-peat. Despite the quality and the variety of weapons Erik Spoelstra’s team possesses, the competition around the league and also within the Eastern Conference is extremely high. Apart from the Big Three, who are projected to produce one way or another, the Heat have the luxury of possessing some significant role players, whose contribution will be vital to the Heat’s course this season.
Depth is an essential aspect of this Heat team. It’s exactly what puts Miami in a position to be champions instead of simply strong championship contenders. It’s what takes the team to the next level. The essence of the contribution of all those role players is so big that it can really make the difference between winning and losing. Let me explain.
We all know that LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh will deliver. Even if one or even two of them are struggling one night, they will find a way to put up numbers close to their usual. They will find ways to make things work on defense, even if they don’t reach their top level of performance.
Now, when on top of this great performances by the Big Three the contribution of role players is added, the Heat are almost unstoppable. Even the Indiana Pacers can’t hold them down.
We saw an aspect of the force Miami’s role players have during their latest game against the Orlando Magic. There and due to the absence of Shane Battier, Rashard Lewis was the one to step up and record a big performance. Lewis scored a season-high 18 points, connecting on six out of his 11 shots from the field while also sinking three three-pointers. Michael Beasley was also very productive off the bench with 13 points.
This was just one game that Miami’s role players stepped up. But in fact, many times we’ve seen players other than the Big Three recording superstar numbers. It’s the Miami Heat culture, the entire organization and the dynamics of the team that allows such things to happen.
Mario Chalmers has saved the Heat numerous times. He gradually transformed from a clumsy youngster to a reliable point guard, able to outburst offensively. Ray Allen saved the season in Game 6 of the NBA Finals last season. He has also hit a bunch of game-winners since he stepped foot in South Beach. Chris Andersen might not score in bunches but his impact has been huge for Miami.
Thanks to the brilliance and the godfather-like negotiating skills of Pat Riley, the Miami Heat has the luxury to possess players who can be as good as their stars in some games. After all, they don’t have over deliver every night. But since the Heat have so many weapons available, it’s almost statistically certain, that one of those weapons will find bull’s-eye when the team needs it. That’s exactly why the Heat are so powerful and that’s exactly why they should be considered as the favorites to win it all this season, too.