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Anyone with basketball eyes can instantly see the glaring difference between Arroyo and Chalmers; the former is a point guard while the latter is not. The vision and control needed to choreograph moving players in limited space can be taught and learned to an extent, but for the most part true point guards are born and not made. Miami’s best five have clearly emerged: Arroyo pg, Wade sg, Wright sf, Beasely pf, and O’Neal c. Haslem, Anthony and Richardson round out a tight rotation with Wade relieving Carlos, and Q-Rich relieving Wade and Wright. Cook and Chalmers slide down on the bench, and Jones, Magliore etc. can watch and cheer on. By February Riley will know which pieces if any to add this year. Resigning or releasing Wright will be the biggest off-season decision regarding existing players.
Too short, too slow, can’t shoot…what’s wrong with this picture? Until Riley can add length and athleticism, Heat needs to develop a long rotation to match up with teams like Memphis, Atlanta, Toronto etc. For example, Wade pg, Q-Rich, sg, Wright sf, O’Neal pf, Anthony center. Heat needs to package Udonis and Chalmers for a pg.
Regarding Haslem at sf, Ira is suffering from a case of PE, premature evaluation. Basing Udonis’ sf potential on his perimeter performance against LeBron is like saying Ira can’t write about sports when compared to Frank Deford. Haslem is not the ideal sf, and against very athletic types he’ll have problems, but against Walton, Galinari, Chandler and such he can probably get the job done. Nevertheless, Ira’s larger point about Beasely is valid, the young man needs playing time to develop. If 20 years-old Michael is this good, what will he be at 23, or 26? Beasely is a rare talent; he has more upside than practically any young player in the NBA.
Ira, you hit the nail on the head. Wade needs scoring help, because at this pace he’ll be toast by the playoffs. Despite all the complaints about immaturity, 20 years-old Beasely got in shape, plays defense, rebounds, dives for lose balls, and has not complained once about playing time. Udonis is a darn good player, but he can’t create his own shot nor put pressure on defenses like Beasely. Is Spo channeling old cute Riley? Is Spo placating Wade by not playing Beasely? Is there jealousy at play here? If these speculative inquiries sound unreasonable it’s because Miami’s handling of Beasely is unreasonable. If Beasely got regular season closing minutes, he would be a seasoned, lethal weapon by playoff time. By the way, the same goes for Anthony – (a beast) and Cook a (player), but not for Chalmers. On offense Mario can’t drive, can’t dish, can’t create a shot, can’t shoot with consistency, and on defense his steals don’t make up for his lack of cover. Bottom line, Mario is not a natural point guard, and he will never run a championship team; he’s a back up, period. If by year’s end Miami closes games with Wade, Cook, Richardson, Beasely, and Anthony they’ll have quickness, play-making, shooting, defense, rebounding, and shot-blocking. Groom Wright off the bench, and round out the rotation with O’Neal, Udonis, and Arroyo. This rotation will do two things: pay off during the playoffs and build for years to come. Enough with the same old formula: retard development of youthful talent, wear out Wade/waste his best years, and settle for veteran mediocrity. MIAMI’S YOUNG TALENT IS HUGE; PLAY THEM NOW!!!
The most promising developments, unanswered questions, and critical issues going into the season are: YOUH: The growth of Beasely, Cook, and Anthony, in that order. It’ll be helpful but not crucial if Chalmers and Wright doubtfully but surprisingly raise their games. VETS: O’Neal-rehab, Haslem-contract year, Arroyo-mesh with Wade, Richardson at SF- keep Jones, Diawara, Wright on the bench for good. COACH: Have guts to pick a rotation soon, stick with it, let it mesh, not panic and tinker after a loss. ROTATION-BACKUP Arroyo-Chalmers Wade-Cook O’Neal-Anthony Haslem-Beasely Beasely-Richardson Late in the 4th quarter when it’s time to close out games, Wade at pg, Cook at sg.
Wade & Co. gonna love playing with Arroyo, who has never been teamed with anyone like Wade. Come crunch time, Chalmers will be on the bencho. Riley's wait and pay cheap M.O strikes again.
The 0-3 start is a blessing in disguise. The smoke and mirrors BS of winning with "smart, good leader, no-talent types" is over. Enough of Jay Fiedler, I know Ted Ginn's dad crap. HENNE, TURNER, HARTLINE NOW! Big, fast talented players win games. By the way, Thigpen is athletic as hell, and threw 18 TD's with only 12 INT's in only his second year, for one of the worst teams ever.
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Howard, Hortford, Shaq, Chandler, Wallace, Garnett, Lopez, Bogut... the list of talented big men in the East has gotten long, therefore Miami's fate depends on J.O'Neal. Whatever improvement Beasely, Chalmers, and Cook might offer is icing on the cake. Wade's performance, especially in a contract year is a given. Jermaine is DA KEY.
Folks are wasting way too much time on what if Wade leaves scenario. Write it down on stone tablets with GREEN INK, Wade's not going anywhere. Miami will develop current players, pile up cap money, and come 2010 Riley can shop till he drops. 2009 won't be waste because any team with Wade in a contract year will be exciting, competitive, make the playoffs, and please the fans. Why is the 2010 plan so hard to understand?
Ira is right in noting the Heat’s unease about Beasely. He obviously has talent, but as ZO has stated time and again, expecting a 19 year old to be #2 on a contender is asking too much. Yet they can’t give him away. Riley’s only responsible choice is to play out the Beasely card throughout 2009, and to a lesser extent the Chalmers and Cook cards also. GM Riley has been patient with Wright, how much more so with the #2 overall pick.
Hollywood I think you got it backwards. Iverson would be the better option if the Heat were playing for a title, but for the 2010 plan Tinsley profiles better. Ira is right, Riley needs to know by next year if Chalmers is for real. The last thing Mario needs is a future Hall of Famer looking over his shoulder. I don’t buy all that “A.I is a cancer” crap. The dude is simply a star player, used to being da man, and still has enough skill to legitimately insist on playing a big role. But again, I agree with you that Riley will strongly consider Wade’s wishes regarding A.I.
HollywoodJD I agree with you about one thing, Riley will probably try to please Wade on this one. Iverson's motivation is undeniable, when it comes to all things Iverson. Tinsley is no rookie, and between offseason, preseason, and early season the dude will be sure enuff up to snuff.
Well done Ira. “Most home practices still are scheduled in the morning” is among your better zingers. It’s hard to quibble with any of the pros or cons you listed; it’s an honest scale. Unfortunately the costs outweigh the benefits. Iverson brings more questions than answers. I believe Tinsley is the better option; more size, more defense, more motivation, less mileage, less money, less issues. Heat needs a supporting player, not a headliner wanna be. The point about protecting Beasely's role as #2 scoring option is subtle and valid.
Hope Ira won’t mind if I pass on his “mark this down, July 24th blah, blah, blah…” This isn’t the Pope speaking Ex-Cathedra. Riley has said, un-said, and re-said contradictory stuff sometimes within the same week. Beasely may or may not get significant minutes at sf; Riley may or may not trade or sign players in the next few months. It’s only July. There’s still a lot of poker being played out there. I do like the Tinsley rumor.
No, that’s not all there is. The fact Riley signed all four centers means he intends trade some of them, which is easier to do with signed players. One of them will probably be packaged with Haslem, an attractive player, with an attractive contract, standing in the way of Miami’s future (Beasely). Quinn might also get packaged along with one of the small forwards for a veteran point guard.
Barely 20 years old, Beasely gave the Hawks hell in one of the playoff games. The kid is fearless, talented, and loves to ball. Anyone who can't see that this guy is special knows jack about hoops. Trading him now won't bring value. Miami is the ideal team for his disciplined development, and he knows it. Any scenario that has Beasely on the bench or on another team is beyond stupid.
Ira's got to justify that paycheck from the Sentinel, so I'll help out and join the nonsense. NO! It'll never happen, and it should never happen. Bankrupting the future for the first title was arguably justifiable, but to go down the aged, decrepit road once more, especially when such bright and promising talent is just coming into its own is not going to happen. But hey, it's July, what else is a basketball beat writer to do?
JP Miami 06...I like your lineup with a foot note. Come crunch time, late 4th quarter, Wade IS THE POINT GUARD! Always has been and always will be. Wade will handle, shoot or dish. All he needs is help bringing up the ball to take some of the load off. That's where Cook comes in. Therefore, a doable/possible crunch time, hard to defend playoff lineup would be: c - o'neal pf - odom sf - beasely sg - cook pg - wade
Josh, if you want the perfect example of the athletic phenomenom I'm describing, look no further than Miami's very own, Udonis Haslem (by the way, UD went to my alma mater Miami High). Haslem was fat 270 plus, played center at UF, and wasn't even drafted. He dropped to 235-240, gained muscle, speed, lift, and endurance. Beasely is far from skinny. If he plays at 230, drops body fat % while increasing lower body and core strength he will rule. His upper strength seems adequate.
Josh, either way I find Beasely to be the most interesting player the heat has ever acquired, next to Wade. Notice how years later the argument still rages as to wade's best position; sg pr pg? Watching ambidextrou, long armed, free spirit-ted Beasely do his thing will be a lot of fun.
Bro save the psycho-babble and stick to the issues. If Beasely as you say doesn't "work out" at sf, you couldn't trade him for a bucket of spit. Nevertheless, I'll take the hug anyway.
We have a difference of opinion on Beasely's future/optimal position, but we agree that either way Miami is obliged to invest a season or two on him. I think part of the reason he teases at either position is that he's such an unsual player. I believe bulking up will not add lift or speed, and at his size maxing those skills is crucial. Getting lighter and wiry would improve both speed and lift, and he would dominate any sf inside and outside.
Josh is on target. Beasely will never dominate at pf, but he could at sf. Miami can't give him up until that experiment plays itself out. Boozer is not the answer. Miami needs a lengthy pf with lift that can block shots and play center. In 2010 Bosh will sprint to South Beach and join Wade and his young guns. Kobe paid his dues in LA and now he's reaping the fruit.
It's unfortunate that our hype-driven society is so impatient and shortsighted about very important things (Obama's economic stimulus) and less important things such as the development of talented Heat youngsters like Cook, Beasley, Chalmers, and Wright. Thirty years ago when the NBA was not as competitive as it is now, those guys would still be in college or in Wright's case rookie year. Given reasonable amount of playing time - (a possibility with Spo, but not Riley) - skill improvement in years 2-3 is enormous. Physically the difference between 19 and 22 year-old bodies is also huge. Compare Cook darft-day pictures to 2009 pictures and marvel at the transformation. Moreover, back then a winner, a leader meant being the least diva on the team. Today stars are expexted to be divas. James (the loser) refuses to shake hands because in his deluded mind that makes him a winner. And Wade spends his summer convincing players to commit to the Heat and take a less $$$ by refusing to commit to the Heat while expecting max $$$! What's wrong with this picture? Hello! What happened to leading by example? Wade doesn't want to build a winner, he wants management to buy it for him. Instead of pumping up hardworking youngsters, Wade treats them like losers he rather not play with. Guess Flash won't be writing any leadership bestsellers anytime soon. Unless a star player is gift-wrapped to Miami by some brain dead GM, Miami should grow its talented youth and wait for 2010. Wade will stay. There's more money for him here.
From day 1 I’ve disagreed with Ira about Beasley. Instead of bulking up and playing pf (where he will not dominate), Beasley should slim down, get wiry strong, and max. speed and endurance so he can run the floor, shoot 3s, drive, finish or dish. There is no doubt Beasley could dominate at sf; he has unique skills beyond Carmelo Anthony level. It’d be a shame to miscast him as pf and pass up the greatness that awaits him pending wise management.