June 22, 2012
By Luka Papalko
After all the talk and all the fanfare that was made when the Big 3 was formed in Miami, they finally came through and won a championship. After falling to the Mavericks last year in the Finals, the Heat weren't going to be denied this year. Now with LeBron James and Chris Bosh earning their first rings and Dwyane Wade earning his second, the Big 3 will now look to add more to their collection going forward. The team was clicking on all cylinders through the Finals but the Heat will now use the off-season to improve their roster.
While the Big 3 are a large part of the organization, the face of the franchise is still Pat Riley. Riley helped bring the Big 3 together and construct the current roster. While there were always rumors of him coming back down to coach the team, he remained patient with the team and let Erik Spoelstra do his job. Spoelstra was often criticized but is regarded in the league as one of the top, young coaches. With Riley and Spoelstra leading the way, the Heat have the foundation in place to win more than one championship.
The roster is headlined by the Big 3 but the role players stepped up and played a key part in the Finals. Outside of the Big 3, the Heat roster is fairly deep and plays well off of the key players The good news for the Heat is that the team will all be back next year and the key pieces will be kept intact. The only players that will be free agents this year will be Terrell Harris, Eddy Curry, Juwan Howard and Ronny Turiaf. The Heat could re-sign them but it's unlikely that they will. They will have the MLE available to them this year, which could be a big piece to lure in a point guard or a center.
Looking towards the 2012 Draft, the Heat currently only have 1 pick. They own their own first round pick which is #27. Their 2nd round pick is owned by the New Jersey Nets this year. Despite only having one pick, the Heat have only a few roster spots open and many key players returning. Miami will be able to take the best player available and someone that could fill a hole down the road rather than immediately.
The biggest weaknesses the Heat have is their lack of size in the middle. Joel Anthony is a good defensive center and the Heat were a good defensive team but they lack the size in the middle. They often played small-ball and were susceptible to teams with good big men. With the #27 pick, Fab Melo and Festus Ezeli could be names to watch as they look to add size in the middle. Despite Mario Chalmers playing well and drafting Norris Cole last year an upgrade to the point guard is not out of the option. While the point guard class is weak, Marquis Teague could be an interesting option. For as long as the Big 3 will be around, surrounding them with shooters will the key which means John Jenkins and Doron Lamb could be options.
Winning one will be satisfying for the Heat but they will be looking to add more championships once next season rolls around. With Pat Riley and Erik Spoelstra at the helm, the Heat are in a good position to make multiple runs. This off-season will be a key step in an attempt to improve their roster as they look towards the future.