by Carl Cabey
Miami Heat Off-season Needs
The NBA champion Miami Heat only have one draft pick (1st rd 27th overall) and limited cap space to spend this off-season to help improve the team. However if they play their cards right they can again have another very successful off-season. Here are some directions they can go this summer:
Biggest need: Miami’s biggest need appears to be the same it’s been for two years since they got the “Big 3”. However Chris Bosh said after winning the championship that he likes the fact that he can tell people he was the starting center for a championship team. If Chris Bosh is serious about playing center, the way the NBA game is played today he can do that and very possibly be a top-tier center in the league as you saw in the finals him alternating many shots. The Heat still can use a big whether if they are going to play Bosh at 5 or 4 they will need someone to start next to him. There are some good options such as Carl Landry and Ersan Ilyasova. Both however appear to be out of Miami’s price range. They will be looking for guys to be brought out of their contracts.
Big name free agents: Deron Williams, Steve Nash, and Ray Allen are probably the biggest names of the free agents this off-season. They have no chance at Williams, and while Nash has said he would like to come to Miami I don’t see that happening. I think the Heat is fine with Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole and would like to move forward developing those two further. Ray Allen is a very likely option. Especially with James Jones and Mike Miller possibly retiring the Heat could really use his shooting off the bench. Steve Novak, Marco Belinelli, and Nick Young, Jamal Crawford are all shooters the Heat could pursue but Allen will likely be the target for the Heat.
Draft Pick: As mentioned above the Miami Heat only have 1 pick(1st rd 27th overall) The Riley way usually would have been that no rookie can crack the rotation in a championship team, however this year rookie Norris Cole helped provide a spark and a change of pace guy that the Heat really needed. A great pick for the Miami Heat will be Jeff Taylor senior SF out of Vanderbilt. Taylor is athletic and fits the Miami Heat mold where he plays defense and can knock down the open 3. He’ll be an athletic wing off the bench developing under LeBron James and Shane Battier and can crack the rotation help defend opposing wing players at a high level. If he’s off the board there’s 3 PF’s that Miami will hope drop to them, Arnett Moultrie, Andrew Nicholson, and Draymond Green. All will be able to contribute right away and possibly even start with Bosh at center. Then there are 2 centers that could very well be on the board and in play when Miami picks, Fab Melo and Festus Ezeli. Melo’s game is a little raw on the offensive end but his defense can help the team right away. Ezeli doesn’t do anything great but is developing a low post game and can also block shots and rebound. Also don’t be surprised if someone the Heat like is still available for Pat Riley to buy a 2nd round pick. While there aren’t many teams lining up to help Miami out Riley can get it done and a sleeper in this draft is Drew Gordon PF out of New Mexico. He is one of the best rebounders in the draft and will help a team next year.
Develop young talent: Last year because of the lockout the Miami Heat weren’t able to develop and work out Norris Cole, Dexter Pittman, and Terrel Harris. This year will help them out a lot especially Pittman who’s on the bubble of making the team next year. He will be able to stay in Miami Heat shape and may be able to contribute for them next year. The Miami Heat also holds the right’s to Jarvis Varnado so expect him to come down and possibly make the team. The Heat will also be in the summer league so many if not all may have a minor role in the rotation next year.