|2013 Team Rating|
|2nd Overall||11th Overall|
Stats through Jan. 22
LeBron James could be included in the frontcourt and backcourt since he plays all over the floor for the Heat. But he is the primary reason for the high grade here. Chris Bosh's numbers are down this season and there is still the question of depth.
Dwyane Wade is rounding back into form after offseason knee surgery. Rumors of his demise has been a bit exaggerated, even if there is tangible evidence that he's slowed down a bit from where he was pre-Big 3. Mario Chalmers continues to fend off Norris Cole for the starting point guard gig.
The stats don't always show it, but when the Heat lock in on the defensive end against elite opponents, they look like the team road a defensive wave to the 2012 title. It helps having James and Wade on the tip of that spear.
It's been so far, so good for Ray Allen in his first half season in Miami. He's shooting a stellar 44 percent from deep and averaging 12 ppg while playing 10 fewer minutes a night than he did last season in Boston. The bench is loaded with vets but short on size.
Erik Spoelstra and his staff will rarely be recognized for the job they've done in the past and the work they're doing now trying to keep the reigning champs motivated this time of year. They're dialed in every night.
Mid-term reports for a team that only cares about the final grade means next to nothing at Heat headquarters. They recognize that The Finals is where their real exam comes. The Heat still have the championship look they owned at the end of last season, even if they have had a few hiccups along the way. James is still playing at an otherworldly level and Wade is on his way back to his usual self. Bosh hasn't seemed particularly inspired this season, but he also understands that the stars on this team have to pace themselves.
There is still one glaring issue that plagues this team, and that's their woeful rebounding ability -- they rank 29th and have been abused on the boards in several of their wins and most of their losses. With Spoelstra's desire to play a smaller lineup that takes advantage of James and the mismatches he creates, the Heat leave themselves vulnerable in the paint. There is no remedy for that problem on the current roster and is an issue that might have to be addressed at the trade deadline.
-- Sekou Smith
Explanation of Marking System
|Golden State Warriors||B+|
|Los Angeles Clippers||A-|
|Los Angeles Lakers||C-|
|New Orleans Hornets||C-|
|New York Knicks||A-|
|Oklahoma City Thunder||A|
|Portland Trail Blazers||B-|
|San Antonio Spurs||B+|