Miami Heat: Shannon Brown Signing Grade

Miami Heat: Shannon Brown Signing Grade
Nekias Duncan, Lead Writer/Hoopstuff…
Terms: 1 season, $1.3M
The Miami Heat made a minor splash by signing combo-guard Shannon Brown to a one-year deal. Brown played sparingly for the New York Knicks and San Antonio Spurs last season, averaging a measly 2.2 ppg in 29 total games between the two teams. Brown signed with both teams with little chance of cracking their rotation, so hopefully for Brown, signing with the Heat is a fresh, fair start for him to regain his Phoenix form, where, in two seasons there, he averaged 10.7 ppg in 23.7 mpg.
With Dwyane Wade firmly locked in as the Heat’s starting SG, don’t expect Brown to get the minutes he got in Phoenix, but don’t expect him to get the miniscule amount of minutes he received in his short stints in New York and San Antonio either. Dwyane Wade will have to take on a bigger scoring load and won’t be able to rest games like he did last season, but he’ll likely miss a few if his knees continue to…

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Guard Shannon Brown signs with Miami Heat (Yahoo Sports)

Shannon Brown signed Wednesday with the Miami Heat, the ninth team the veteran guard has been part of in his career. Brown appeared in 29 games last season with New York and San Antonio. He has appeared in 403 games for seven different clubs, and was briefly with Washington last season though never appeared in a game. Brown played for the Los Angeles Lakers when they won NBA titles in 2009 and 2010.

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Heat sign veteran guard to back up Dwyane Wade

Shannon Brown could play a big role if Dwyane Wade gets more rest time this season.

      
 

 

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Shannon Brown to Heat: Latest Contract Details, Analysis and Reaction

Continuing to bolster their rebuilt core around the margins, the Miami Heat and free-agent guard Shannon Brown agreed to a one-year, $1.3 million contract Wednesday.   

Priority Sports, Brown’s agency, announced the move on its Twitter account, and USA Today’s Sam Amick provided the details:

Brown, 28, spent most of last season as a free agent after being released by the Washington Wizards. He did not link up with a team until February, signing four different 10-day contracts with the Spurs and Knicks before finishing out the campaign in New York. The high-flier averaged 2.2 points and 1.0 rebounds per game while shooting 36.4 percent from the floor.

The Knicks waived Brown in July, choosing not to pick up their second-year option on his contract. His signing comes as a bit of a surprise given the relative lack of interest Brown had received on the open market since his release.

The Heat are nevertheless a natural fit, as Pat Riley has been looking to bolster his wing depth. Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reported earlier this week that Riley and Co. had expressed interest in Chris Douglas-Roberts, Leandro Barbosa, Jordan Crawford and Jordan Hamilton. Douglas-Roberts and Hamilton, the latter of whom signed with Toronto, both worked out for the team in Miami.

Prior to signing Brown, the Heat had no one on their depth chart listed behind Dwyane Wade at shooting guard. With Wade a near-guarantee to miss 10 or more games next season, that was obviously a less-than-ideal situation. Brown is nowhere near an adequate replacement for a healthy Wade in the event of an injury, but there is some hope his lost 2013-14 campaign was a fluke.

An elite athlete with some interesting off-the-bounce creation skills, Brown averaged 10.7 points per game during his two seasons with Phoenix as a part-time starter and sixth man. He excelled in the Suns’ uptempo system and even flashed an improved outside shot in 2011-12 before descending back to earth a year later.

In five games with the Knicks’ summer league team in Las Vegas, Brown averaged 7.4 points per game and seemed to relish in getting back on the floor.

“I thought coming to Summer League would give me a chance to get back in the groove a little bit of actually playing basketball,” Brown told Bleacher Report’s Josh Martin.

The Heat are unlikely to be finished adding pieces even with Brown in the fold. Their roster desperately needs help in the defensive middle, and they might look into another wing player for further Wade insurance. The development of 2013 second-round pick James Ennis will probably play a large factor in how Riley chooses to move forward. Ennis signed a three-year deal this summer but it comes with only $200,000 in guarantees.

In the first year of the post-LeBron era, the Heat remain an interesting team in general. Faced with the prospect of blowing up the franchise, Riley shifted gears and chose to tread water. Signing the likes of Luol Deng, Danny Granger and Josh McRoberts should help keep them well inside the Eastern Conference playoff race.

Should Brown come to South Beach and perform at Phoenix levels, he’ll do nothing but help the cause. If next season proves a repeat of the last, Miami’s wing depth will start looking awfully shaky.

 

Follow Tyler Conway (@tylerconway22) on Twitter

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Report: Heat Unlikely to Add Beasley Due to Several Issues

Recent reports, in particular one from Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, suggest that the Miami Heat are not interested in bringing back free agent forward Michael Beasley from last season. Beasley has been a fan favorite for quite some time now, however his tumultuous career off the court has left many teams wary during free agency. The Heat have actually already given up Beasley’s number 8 from last season to newly signed forward Shawne Williams.
Jackson has has directly reported the following,
“A person with direct knowledge cited several reasons for the Heat’s lack of interest: Inconsistency, lack of trust in his defense (and ability to execute the Heat’s defensive system), and maturity/focus issues, which are still a concern even though he improved somewhat in that regard last season.
“The Heat has told Beasley it has not closed the door on a return, though Miami never really tells any free agent that it has ruled out a return. But Miami hasn’t made an offer to him, either, an…

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What to Expect from Every Miami Heat Player in 2014-15

Although the Miami Heat lost four-time MVP LeBron James to the Cleveland Cavaliers this summer, the 2014-15 Heat are poised to remain one of the better teams in the Eastern Conference.

Miami brought back franchise cornerstones such as Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, while also signing nine newcomers this offseason, such as Luol Deng.

But when evaluating how skilled this roster is, it’s important to look at every part of it—from Wade, Bosh and Deng to rookies Shabazz Napier and James Ennisso we’re going to do just that. 

We’ll be taking a look at and making statistical predictions for every player in our projected 15-man final roster

Begin Slideshow

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Should Miami Heat Fans Root Against the Cleveland Cavaliers?

Miami Heat fans have had a terrible few months.

First came the 4-1 bludgeoning at the hands of the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA Finals—slamming the door on a historic three-peat bid. Then, once the team’s shot at near-term glory was smothered, Miami’s long-range hopes were extinguished as well. LeBron James went home and took the Heat’s title hopes with him.

If they’re not, Miami fans should be angry about this. 

There are a lot of qualifiers here, of course. Anger about the vicissitudes of a professional basketball team, to most right-thinking people, seems misplaced. 

But sports are important to people. The outcomes of these contests affect us. That’s why you’re reading this and I’m writing it. And that’s enough to make them meaningful. Excuse the tautology, but sports matter because they matter.

Rooting for a championship-caliber team is an exhilarating experience. And pulling for a team that actually wins a championship (or two) is even more gratifying. But, oddly, as tremendous as that sort of vicarious accomplishment is, it’s even worse to be stripped of it.

Human beings have all manner of peculiar psychological quirks. One of the strangest is the way we respond to loss. Turns out, as much as people love winning, we despise losing even more. This notion, “loss aversion,” was coined by Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky.

Brian Burke, writing for Deadspin, explained “prospect theory,” a related concept, in a perfectly clear way (h/t Aaron Gordon of Sports on Earth):

Prospect theory simply observes that we are about twice as upset to lose something as we would be happy to gain the same thing. If you misplace a $20 bill, you’ll be twice as pissed at yourself as you would be glad to find a twenty on the sidewalk. Experiments show that this is a universal human tendency.

It’s pretty easy to grasp the implications loss aversion has vis-a-vis the mood of the Heat faithful. What they had was amazing. And losing it was, and will be, even worse.

So there’s going to be anger. And it will be directed at something. But what?

It probably won’t be James himself. He delivered the city two titles, four Finals appearances and the best run in franchise history. And he did in in a maximally entertaining way—dominating, at times, on both ends of the floor, leading fast breaks with locomotive force and generally and unequivocally being the best basketball player on God’s green earth.

Even the way James handled his exit from South Beach was difficult to fault. His essay in Sports Illustrated was thoughtful and measured. While he was clearly happy to be heading back to Cleveland, he lauded the Heat organization and his time in Miami:

I went to Miami because of D-Wade and CB. We made sacrifices to keep UD. I loved becoming a big bro to Rio. I believed we could do something magical if we came together. And that’s exactly what we did! The hardest thing to leave is what I built with those guys. I’ve talked to some of them and will talk to others. Nothing will ever change what we accomplished. We are brothers for life. I also want to thank Micky Arison and Pat Riley for giving me an amazing four years.

He’s a hard guy not to like.

But the Cleveland Cavaliers? They’re a piece of cake to despise. They’re an aggressively, almost singularly dumb organization that’s in a position to contend next season and for the foreseeable future merely because the best player in the world happened to be born in northeastern Ohio and they got obscenely lucky, for consecutive years, on lottery night.

They did absolutely nothing to earn the success they’re almost certainly about to enjoy.

This is an organization that woke up on third base and thought it hit a triple. The entirety of the NBA would be forgiven if it handled the ascent of the 2014-15 Cavs with disdain.

So when LeBron James and his shiny new team come to AmericanAirlines Arena on Christmas Day, Heat fans have permission to boo with abandon. Permission or no, that’s certainly what they’ll do. 

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After Kevin Love Trade, Cavaliers Should Face Same Pressure as 2010-11 Heat

Eddie House, known for his hair trigger jumper and his occasional obscene gesture, didn’t make it to the end of the Miami Heat’s Big Three era, getting the thumb prior to season two. Still, the veteran guard’s quote from Miami’s 2010 training camp, an utterance that many didn’t find endearing, qualifies as among the most enduring. It spoke to the climate of LeBron James‘ first season in Miami, and the players’ quite correct sense that everyone north of Monroe, Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties was against them.

“I think, you know what, honestly, I don’t give a (expletive) about nobody else on the outside,” House told me while I was working for The Palm Beach Post. “It doesn’t matter about anybody out there. I don’t care what their expectations are. We have our expectations and our goals. We are going to achieve them.That’s the bottom line…. So, at the end of the day, middle fingers to all the haters.” 

It is impossible to envision anyone on the current Cleveland Cavaliers roster saying something similar this October, and none of their players have House’s reputation as a provocateur. Rather, if the early reaction to the Cavaliers’ offseason moves is any indication, they will have no criticism to counter. So far, outside of spurned South Florida, there is universal celebration not only of James’ decision to return to his Ohio roots, but of the ways in which the Cavaliers have quickly constructed the complementary roster.   

This comes as quite a contrast to what the Heat encountered, when the organization was declared by many as undeserving (though Miami won just nine fewer total games in 2008-09 and ’09-10 than Cleveland has in its last four bumbling seasons); when its new star trio was accused of plotting events well in advance (though James’ omission of Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett in his July Sports Illustrated letter seemed an early indicator of their eventual inclusion in a swap for Kevin Love); when Heat veterans such as House, Mike Miller, Juwan Howard, Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Mike Bibby were ridiculed for ring-chasing rather than praised for their financial sacrifice (so far, Miller, Miami-area product James Jones and Shawn Marion have joined James in a city that typically attracts fewer free agents, with Ray Allen possibly next).

Oh, and when the entire notion of an NBA “Big Three” was characterized as so inequitable and unfair that it became the basis of the battle for the next collective bargaining agreement, a battle that Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert fully joined, if not led. Gilbert now is on the other side, boasting a Big Three of James, Love and Kyrie Irving that, at the start of the ’14-15 season, will be a collective 77 years old, four years younger than James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh were at the start of the ’10-11 season. 

All of these double standards are enough to make Heat fans double over in anger. But they should know by now that there’s no point protesting. And they should know not to expect anyone to burden the Cavaliers with the same expectations that Jeff Van Gundy placed on the freshly-formed James/Wade/Bosh Heat. 

Here is how the former NBA coach and current ESPN/ABC analyst assessed the Heat prior to the ’10-11 season, in an interview with the Miami Herald: 

They will break the single-season win record [of 72]. And I think they have a legit shot at the Lakers’ 33-game [winning] streak [in 1971-72], as well. And only the Lakers have even a remote shot at beating them in a playoff series. They will never lose two games in a row this year…. They have put together a much better roster than anybody could ever have expected. There is now no good way to defend them. They are unguardable. They are indefensible. They are just too good and have added so much shooting and are so versatile that they will score at will. 

Many naturally took Van Gundy’s comments as the opposite of the “hating” that so irked House and other Heat players. After all, Van Gundy wasn’t denigrating the Heat’s abilities, but exaggerating them. But some in the Heat organization heard them differently, as raising the stakes to unreasonable levels, especially in light of the stars’ limited time playing together, and the patchwork nature of the supporting cast. If Van Gundy, however unintentionally, was setting the team up to fail, he wasn’t the only one doing so. Media overhype built upon the public’s initial outrage, creating a championship-or-flop dichotomy that positioned the Heat for mockery. 

Will the Cavaliers face the same?

If they start 9-8?

If they flop in the NBA Finals, the way the Heat did against the less star-studded Dallas Mavericks?

Unlikely.

The current Cavaliers, unlike the villainous ’10-11 Heat, are the darlings of the NBA’s myth-making media establishment. Charles Barkley, who referred to the Heat team that season as “a whiny bunch” that plays for the “worst fans,” openly rooted for James to return to Cleveland and has celebrated the choice since. While the analytics site fivethirtyeight.com did project the Cavaliers at roughly 65 wins if they acquired Love, you don’t read or hear national NBA pundits writing or shouting that if they don’t win that many in their first go-round, the Cavaliers’ experiment will be a failure. Instead, some have preached patience, taking a cue from James’ homecoming essay, published before the Love acquisition, in which he wrote the following: 

I’m not promising a championship. I know how hard that is to deliver. We’re not ready right now. No way. Of course, I want to win next year, but I’m realistic. It will be a long process, much longer than it was in 2010. My patience will get tested. I know that. I’m going into a situation with a young team and a new coach. I will be the old head. But I get a thrill out of bringing a group together and helping them reach a place they didn’t know they could go. 

James knows full well how difficult it is, because of the struggles of the ’10-11 season, when he and Wade often appeared as if they were taking turns rather than enhancing each other, when his young coach (Erik Spoelstra) hadn’t yet conceived his compatible “pace and space” offense, when the burden on the Heat’s backs was often too much to bear. 

But no one gave him the benefit of the doubt then. If people do now, it may be because they like him better (as a selfless two-time champion) or they like his jersey better (representing blue collar Cleveland), or because they like this story better (coming home to support a community), but it won’t be because that ’10-11 roster was better and deserved less slack. 

Consider the 11 players that James featured on a pair of Instagram posts Saturday, following the official announcement of the Love trade. If you ranked them one through 11, you could seriously argue that the 2010-11 team had an edge in only one spot, that of the top guard, where a then prime-level Dwyane Wade was clearly superior to the current incarnation of Kyrie Irving. 

The others?

Well, James, is a better player and leader than he was then, more effective in the post, more intelligent about his shot selection, more aware of how to get the most out of every teammate. And the top forward, Kevin Love, has a statistical edge—albeit not as dramatic as some argueover what Chris Bosh was producing in Toronto. 

But look at the rest. 

Mike Miller and Udonis Haslem were supposed to fill out the Heat’s Big Five lineup, before each suffered significant injuries; Miller, when he played, did so with one or two injured thumbs and Haslem missed nearly the entire regular season. Miller is healthier now, coming off a season in which he played all 82 games and shot extraordinarily well, and yet he’s not projected to fill as big a role as he was in ’10-11. Haslem was coming off a season in which he averaged 9.9 points and 8.1 rebounds, whereas Cleveland holdover Tristan Thompson averaged 11.7 points and 9.2 rebounds in ’13-14, and is seven years younger than Haslem was then. 

Mario Chalmers was actually fourth on the Heat in minutes in ’10-11, even though he wasn’t often a starter. But Cleveland can counter with Dion Waiters, who, even with maturity issues at age 22, has more upside as a former fourth overall pick. 

James Jones was fifth on the Heat in minutes in ’10-11, just 30 behind Chalmers. He’s virtually the same player now, but won’t receive half of that floor time for Cleveland this season, even if Ray Allen doesn’t sign. Joel Anthony, part of the Heat’s center by committee, had the sixth-most minutes; Anderson Varejao, should he stay healthy, can do everything Anthony did, plus rebound, catch and finish. 

Spoelstra also gave considerable run to the limited Carlos Arroyo, who played just 15 more games in the NBA after his mid-season release; to House, Erick Dampier, Jamaal Magloire and Zydrunas Ilgauskas, who combined to play just 49 more games after that season; to broken-down Mike Bibby, who shot 28.1 percent in the playoffs; to Juwan Howard, known as “17″ because of the grueling seasons he’d played. 

That was the Heat squad many observers dropped on a Ducati on a steep, swerving mountain trail, demanding it ride full throttle from the start to championship conclusion. It would seem odd if those same observers secure the Cavaliers’ training wheels to allow for slow and safe pedaling around a quiet cul-de-sac. Not when Shawn Marion is still more effective than much of the aforementioned Miami roster filler, to say nothing of what youngsters Matthew Dellavedova or Joe Harris, or veterans Brendan Haywood and John Lucas III may provide. Or, for that matter, what Allen might, if he joins. 

Will Van Gundy project 77 wins, to account for Cleveland’s superior roster? Will the Cavaliers be judged as harshly as the Heat were, if they only win, say, 58 games and finish second to Chicago in the East, as the Heat did? Or will the Cavaliers benefit from what the Heat taught usthat it isn’t easy to put a team together on the fly and soar to a title?

All of this brings to mind something that Bosh said, that same October 2010 day that House pointedly told the “haters” how he felt.

“Quite honestly, I don’t think we can ever win enough games,” Bosh admitted. “The critics will never be silenced. There’s always going to be something to pick on throughout our careers as long as we’re going to be together.” 

That was true for Bosh, Wade and James, from beginning to end. 

Will Kevin Love someday say the same?

At this stage, that would qualify as a surprise, because it will mean the Cavaliers had been held to the same standards. 

 

Ethan Skolnick covers the NBA for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter, @EthanJSkolnick.

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After Kevin Love Trade, Cavaliers Deserve Same Scrutiny Heat Faced in 2010-11

Eddie House, known for his hair trigger jumper and his occasional obscene gesture, didn’t make it to the end of the Miami Heat’s Big Three era, getting the thumb prior to season two. Still, the veteran guard’s quote from Miami’s 2010 training camp, an utterance that many didn’t find endearing, qualifies as among the most enduring. It spoke to the climate of LeBron James‘ first season in Miami, and the players’ quite correct sense that everyone north of Monroe, Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties was against them.   

“I think, you know what, honestly, I don’t give a (expletive) about nobody else on the outside,” House told me while I was working for The Palm Beach Post. “It doesn’t matter about anybody out there. I don’t care what their expectations are. We have our expectations and our goals. We are going to achieve them.That’s the bottom line…. So, at the end of the day, middle fingers to all the haters.” 

It is impossible to envision anyone on the current Cleveland Cavaliers roster saying something similar this October, and none of their players have House’s reputation as a provocateur. Rather, if the early reaction to the Cavaliers’ offseason moves is any indication, they will have no criticism to counter. So far, outside of spurned South Florida, there is universal celebration not only of James’ decision to return to his Ohio roots, but of the ways in which the Cavaliers have quickly constructed the complementary roster.   

This comes as quite a contrast to what the Heat encountered, when the organization was declared by many as undeserving (though Miami won just nine fewer total games in 2008-09 and ’09-10 than Cleveland has in its last four bumbling seasons); when its new star trio was accused of plotting events well in advance (though James’ omission of Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett in his July Sports Illustrated letter seemed an early indicator of their eventual inclusion in a swap for Kevin Love); when Heat veterans such as House, Mike Miller, Juwan Howard, Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Mike Bibby were ridiculed for ring-chasing rather than praised for their financial sacrifice (as Miller, Miami-area product James Jones, Shawn Marion and likely Ray Allen will now do the same in a city that typically attracts fewer free agents).

Oh, and when the entire notion of an NBA “Big Three” was characterized as inequitable and unfair, it became the basis of the battle for the next collective bargaining agreement, a battle that Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert fully joined, if not led. Gilbert now is on the other side, boasting a Big Three of James, Love and Kyrie Irving that, at the start of the ’14-15 season, will be a collective 77 years old, four years younger than James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh were at the start of the ’10-11 season. 

All of these double standards are enough to make Heat fans double over in anger. But they should know by now that there’s no point protesting. And they should know not to expect anyone to burden the Cavaliers with the same expectations that Jeff Van Gundy placed on the freshly-formed James/Wade/Bosh Heat. 

Here is how the former NBA coach and current ESPN/ABC analyst assessed the Heat prior to the ’10-11 season, in an interview with the Miami Herald: 

They will break the single-season win record [of 72]. And I think they have a legit shot at the Lakers’ 33-game [winning] streak [in 1971-72], as well. And only the Lakers have even a remote shot at beating them in a playoff series. They will never lose two games in a row this year…. They have put together a much better roster than anybody could ever have expected. There is now no good way to defend them. They are unguardable. They are indefensible. They are just too good and have added so much shooting and are so versatile that they will score at will. 

Many naturally took Van Gundy’s comments as the opposite of the “hating” that so irked House and other Heat players. After all, Van Gundy wasn’t denigrating the Heat’s abilities, but exaggerating them. But some in the Heat organization heard them differently, as raising the stakes to unreasonable levels, especially in light of the stars’ limited time playing together, and the patchwork nature of the supporting cast. If Van Gundy, however unintentionally, was setting the team up to fail, he wasn’t the only one doing so. Media overhype built upon the public’s initial outrage, creating a championship-or-flop dichotomy that positioned the Heat for mockery. 

Will the Cavaliers face the same?

If they start 9-8?

If they flop in the NBA Finals, the way the Heat did against the less star-studded Dallas Mavericks?

Unlikely.

The current Cavaliers, unlike the villainous ’10-11 Heat, are the darlings of the NBA’s myth-making media establishment. Charles Barkley, who referred to the Heat team that season as “a whiny bunch” that plays for the “worst fans,” openly rooted for James to return to Cleveland and has celebrated the choice since. While the analytics site fivethirtyeight.com did project the Cavaliers at roughly 65 wins if they acquired Love, you don’t read or hear national NBA pundits writing or shouting that if they don’t win that many in their first go-round, the Cavaliers’ experiment will be a failure. Instead, some have preached patience, taking a cue from James’ homecoming essay, published before the Love acquisition, in which he wrote the following: 

I’m not promising a championship. I know how hard that is to deliver. We’re not ready right now. No way. Of course, I want to win next year, but I’m realistic. It will be a long process, much longer than it was in 2010. My patience will get tested. I know that. I’m going into a situation with a young team and a new coach. I will be the old head. But I get a thrill out of bringing a group together and helping them reach a place they didn’t know they could go. 

James knows full well how difficult it is, because of the struggles of the ’10-11 season, when he and Wade often appeared as if they were taking turns rather than enhancing each other, when his young coach (Erik Spoelstra) hadn’t yet conceived his compatible “pace and space” offense, when the burden on the Heat’s backs was often too much to bear. 

But no one gave him the benefit of the doubt then. If people do now, it may be because they like him better (as a selfless two-time champion) or they like his jersey better (representing blue collar Cleveland), or because they like this story better (coming home to support a community), but it won’t be because that ’10-11 roster was better and deserved less slack. 

Consider the 11 players that James featured on a pair of Instagram posts Saturday, following the official announcement of the Love trade. If you ranked them one through 11, you could seriously argue that the 2010-11 team had an edge in only one spot, that of the top guard, where a then prime-level Dwyane Wade was clearly superior to the current incarnation of Kyrie Irving. 

The others?

Well, James, is a better player and leader than he was then, more effective in the post, more intelligent about his shot selection, more aware of how to get the most out of every teammate. And the top forward, Kevin Love, has a statistical edge—albeit not as dramatic as some argueover what Chris Bosh was producing in Toronto. 

But look at the rest. 

Mike Miller and Udonis Haslem were supposed to fill out the Heat’s Big Five lineup, before each suffered significant injuries; Miller, when he played, did so with one or two injured thumbs and Haslem missed nearly the entire regular season. Miller is healthier now, coming off a season in which he played all 82 games and shot extraordinarily well, and yet he’s not projected to fill as big a role as he was in ’10-11. Haslem was coming off a season in which he averaged 9.9 points and 8.1 rebounds, whereas Cleveland holdover Tristan Thompson averaged 11.7 points and 9.2 rebounds in ’13-14, and is seven years younger than Haslem was then. 

Mario Chalmers was actually fourth on the Heat in minutes in ’10-11, even though he wasn’t often a starter. But Cleveland can counter with Dion Waiters, who, even with maturity issues at age 22, has more upside as a former fourth overall pick. 

James Jones was fifth on the Heat in minutes in ’10-11, just 30 behind Chalmers. He’s virtually the same player now, but won’t receive half of that floor time for Cleveland this season, even if Ray Allen doesn’t sign. Joel Anthony, part of the Heat’s center by committee, had the sixth-most minutes; Anderson Varejao, should he stay healthy, can do everything Anthony did, plus rebound, catch and finish. 

Spoelstra also gave considerable run to the limited Carlos Arroyo, who played just 15 more games in the NBA after his mid-season release; to House, Erick Dampier, Jamaal Magloire and Zydrunas Ilgauskas, who combined to play just 49 more games after that season; to broken-down Mike Bibby, who shot 28.1 percent in the playoffs; to Juwan Howard, known as “17″ because of the grueling seasons he’d played. 

That was the Heat squad many observers dropped on a Ducati on a steep, swerving mountain trail, demanding it ride full throttle from the start to championship conclusion. It would seem odd if those same observers secure the Cavaliers’ training wheels to allow for slow and safe pedaling around a quiet cul-de-sac. Not when Shawn Marion is still more effective than much of the aforementioned Miami roster filler, to say nothing of what youngsters Matthew Dellavedova or Joe Harris, or veterans Brendan Haywood and John Lucas III may provide. 

Will Van Gundy project 77 wins, to account for Cleveland’s superior roster? Will the Cavaliers be judged as harshly as the Heat were, if they only win, say, 58 games and finish second to Chicago in the East, as the Heat did? Or will the Cavaliers benefit from what the Heat taught usthat it isn’t easy to put a team together on the fly and soar to a title?

All of this brings to mind something that Bosh said, that same October 2010 day that House pointedly told the “haters” how he felt.

“Quite honestly, I don’t think we can ever win enough games,” Bosh admitted. “The critics will never be silenced. There’s always going to be something to pick on throughout our careers as long as we’re going to be together.” 

That was true for Bosh, Wade and James, from beginning to end. 

Will Kevin Love someday say the same?

At this stage, that would qualify as a surprise, because it will mean the Cavaliers were given the same standards. 

 

Ethan Skolnick covers the NBA for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter,@EthanJSkolnick.

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Chris Andersen says he stayed with Miami Heat because of loyalty

With LeBron James heading back to Ohio, the Miami Heat will have a different make-up for their team in the upcoming 2014-15 NBA season.
One of the players returning from last year’s squad is back-up center Chris “Birdman” Andersen and when recently asked by Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel about why he chose to return to Miami, he provided this response:
“It was definitely the loyalty from the fans and from the team,” said the Texas native who signed a two-year, $10.3 million contract with the Heat last month. “That had a big part of it. And it’s matter of me ending my career in a place that I’d be happy at and am familiar with.”

We wish Birdman well in this upcoming NBA season!
***
Andersen image courtesy of Getty Images

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