As much as I dislike Lebron James right now, and hope that they fail utterly, this is a very interesting experiment we are going to get to watch in Miami. It's the kind of thing that people always speculate about but no one every tries. Like never punting in the NFL or running a version of the college option as your main offense in the NFL. It would be fun to see, but could be a disaster so no one ever tries it.
With today's signing of Juwan Howard, the team is essentially set. They now have 13 players under contract for next season. The rotation looks to be some variation of:
with Mike Miller, Haslem, Joel Anthony, and Howard off the bench. In terms of PER Haslem and Miller are at about 14, while Ilgauskas is at 12, and Chalmers, Anthony, Howard and everyone else are10 or less. For comparisons sake, Nene is 19, Bird 16, JR 15, and A.C. at 10.
So they've got the three superstars and two A.C.'s starting, and a bench made up of two poor mans J.R.'s and a bunch more A.C.'s. I don't like having one A.C. on our team, and they've got 7 of him. Four or five A.C.s will be playing in the regular rotation. The starting rotation will obviously be able to score, but what happens when the subs show up? Think of an A.C., slow J.R., Anthony, Injured Kmart, Petro type lineup when they run out a lineup of Miller, Wade or James at PG, Haslem, Howard, and Joel Anthony. Who couldn't defend that team pretty effectively? As old as they are, they are going to have to use at least a 10 player rotation, and you are likely to see 5 to 7 minutes a half of some lineup like that. The only way to avoid four backups in the game at once is to have the three superstars split their minutes to make sure that two of them are on the court at all times, and even that is defensible as we saw with Melo and Iverson. And keeping two of them on the court at all times would mean a really weird rotation, like one of them not starting or one of them starting and playing deep into the second and fourth quarters then sitting out the end of halfs, which isn't going to happen. As old as their rotation is going to be, injuries will happen, and then they're A.C.'s are playing longer minutes and wearing themselves out.
I don't think this team can win 50 games, much less the championship. I'm choosing lose in the Semis, but with an improving eastern conference, I won't be surprised if it's lose in the first round. Don't forget how much everyone will be gunning for them this year, they could easily wind up a lower seed and half to face an Orlando or Chicago or Boston in the first or second round on the road. If they were in the western conference, I'd say they miss the playoffs.
I could very well be completely wrong about this. Pat Reilly's pinky knows more about basketball than me. But I see a train wreck. What do you guys think?