Grading Miami Heat Players at 2014 All-Star Break
The Miami Heat will head into the All-Star break with a 37-14 record, one of the league's best offenses and a surprisingly average defense.
Through grading every player's performance this season, we're going to take a look at how the Heat arrived here.
As always, these grades are based on how a player has performed relative to preseason expectations.
Let's get started!
Note: All stats from Basketball Reference unless stated otherwise
Toney Douglas (Grade: C)
Douglas has played just 29 minutes since the Heat acquired him on Jan. 15, with 26 of those minutes coming in the past two games.
The results weren't great. He made two of 10 shots in the pair of games and (understandably so) looked out of sync. Douglas will almost certainly head back to the bench when Wade returns.
Udonis Haslem (Grade: F)
It's been a miserable season for Haslem.
He lost his rotation spot in November and has been unable to reclaim it. In fact, he's continued to fall further down the totem poll, seeing just two minutes of action since Jan 21.
And when he's been on the court, he hasn't looked like a player capable of helping this team. He's not the rebounder, defender or jump-shooter he once was.
Roger Mason Jr. (Grade: C-)
Mason Jr. hasn't made much of an impact his first year in Miami. He's hasn't played in any of the Heat's past seven games, nor has he been dressing lately.
He's averaging three points per game in 25 appearances and is shooting just 35.4 percent from outside after hitting 41.5 percent of his three-pointers last season for the New Orleans Hornets (now Pelicans).
James Jones (Grade: B-)
Although it's been in very limited time (70 minutes), James Jones has done what James Jones is supposed to do. He's hit 55.0 percent of his three-pointers and accomplished little else.
He's become the forgotten man in Miami, but there could be a time when his fantastic jumper is needed by Coach Spo and the team.
Guys Who Are in and out of the Rotation
Michael Beasley (Grade: B)
Once a full-fledged rotation member, Beasley has seen his minutes vanish for the most part recently. Before he played 24 minutes in the Heat's last game, Beasley had seen the court for just four minutes in the previous five games.
When given a chance, though, Beasley has impressed, especially offensively. He's averaging 20.2 points per 36 minutes on 51.0 percent shooting from the field. While the vast majority of Beasley's offensive production is coming near the rim, he's also shot the ball well from outside (42.4 3PT percentage).
Given his offensive production and that he's playing hard on the defensive end, Beasley should get back into the rotation soon enough.
Rashard Lewis (Grade: C)
Like Beasley, there was a time this season when Lewis was playing crucial minutes for Miami. But times have changed and Lewis has gotten a DNP-CD in four of Miami's past five games.
Lewis' job on this team is to shoot three-pointers, so it's a problem that he's shot just 34.3 percent from outside this season. He's still someone that can space the floor and that has value on this team.
Considering he's not a strong defender or rebounder, he'll need to start hitting his shots to reclaim a rotation role.
Greg Oden (Grade: B+)
Oden gets a high grade here for the simple fact that he played his first game on Jan. 15 and has yet to have a setback.
He's not playing many minutes (8.1 MPG in nine games) or putting up big numbers (2.6 PPG and 2.3 RPG), but he's moving well and it looks like there's a chance he could be a real help to Miami in the playoffs.
That's really all the Heat could ask for at this point.
The Heat's decision to bring in Chris "Birdman" Andersen in the middle of last season continues to look more brilliant by the day.
After helping Miami win a championship last season, Birdman is putting together an outstanding 2013-14 campaign at 35.
He's doing it all: offensive rebounds (3.1 per 36 minutes), defensive rebounds (5.7 per 36), blocking shots (2.1 per 36) and finishing at the rim (a team-best 67.7 shooting percentage from the field).
Andersen might be a year older, but he's clearly still the big-impact player he was last season.
Mr. Corner Three is back! After struggling from beyond the arc for the first few months of the season, Shane Battier has returned to being a highly effective three-point shooter.
He's now shooting greater than 40 percent from both corners and has connected on 42.9 percent of all three-pointers since the start of the new year, according to NBA.com.
That's an important change for Miami, given just how important spacing and threes are to this offense and how much of a weapon he was last season (43.0 3PT percentage).
Considering the physical toll the 35-year-old Battier takes on the defensive end, his shooting turnaround is quite impressive.
Norris Cole's offensive game has developed nicely in his third year. He's a much-improved passer and decision maker (4.5 assists per 36 minutes) and his shot is a legitimate weapon (38.3 3PT percentage).
Factoring in the value of his aggressive on-ball defense, it's hard to say there's much of a difference in talent between Cole and Miami's starting point guard Mario Chalmers.
Cole still needs to cut down on the turnovers (2.4 per 36 minutes), but he's a more polished player than he was last year and an asset on both sides of the ball.
Like Battier, Ray Allen seems to have regained his shooting touch. After struggling for much of the season from beyond the arc, including a 4-34 stretch in January, Allen is shooting 44.0 percent from outside in February.
While Allen's recent production is obviously encouraging, there's no denying that him shooting 35.5 percent from three this season is a massive disappointment. He is, you know, the most prolific three-point shooter in NBA history.
The Heat better hope this hot streak lasts because at 38 Allen isn't able to provide much value elsewhere.
While not to the degree of his backup, Chalmers has gotten better this season. His assist numbers are up (6.2 per 36 minutes), he's been more efficient from the field (46.3 percent) and remains a reliable spot-up shooter (39.4 3PT percentage).
Chalmers also needs to be more careful with the ball (2.8 per 36 minutes); however, the good outweighs the bad with him.
Rio might always be the little brother in Miami, but he's established himself as a quality starting point guard that understands his role on this team
Chris Bosh is having an excellent 2013-14 season and will be rewarded with yet another trip to the All-Star Game.
He's been aggressive when need be and remains an incredibly efficient scorer (16.6 PPG on 53.0 percent shooting).
But perhaps the most important aspect of Bosh's game is his ability to space the floor, which he's taken to a new level this year by making the three-point shot a key component of his game (35.5 3PT percentage on 2.1 attempts per game).
Although he never seems to get it, Bosh deserves a significant amount of credit for the Heat having a top offense in the league.
Dwyane Wade has been elite when healthy this season. He's averaging 18.7 points on 54.8 percent shooting from the field, 4.8 rebounds, 4.7 assists, 1.6 steals and 0.6 blocks. He's looked explosive and downright terrorizing at times.
The problem for Wade, and why he's only receiving a B-, is that he's missed 15 of 51 games to this point. To be fair, much of that missed time has been by design, with the Heat employing a maintenance plan that calls for Wade to sit out one game of back-to-back sets.
Being cautious with Wade is right for Miami, but it's undoubtedly hurt the team; the Heat have lost six of the games Dwyane Wade has missed.
Kevin Durant might be coming for LeBron James' MVP award, but it doesn't look like "The King" is going to let KD take it that easily.
After a 36-point performance against the Golden State Warriors on Thursday, that included a game-winning three, LBJ enters the break with averages of 26.5 points (57.1 percent shooting from the field), 7.0 rebounds, 6.6 assists and 1.5 steals.
Given how much responsibility is bestowed upon LeBron on a nightly basis, that he's still this efficient and dominant is remarkable.
MVP or not, James is on his way to another out-of-this-world season.
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