Our Top 5 series continues every Thursday
Let me preface this “ranking” of specialized Heat lineups for this season with the fact I’m obviously bias for players with a higher, non-lackadaisical basketball I.Q. Interpret that how you wish.
These combinations are organized from point guard to center, though we frequently see the Heat go positionless with their unparalleled blend of roster versatility, mostly due to the specimen that is LeBron James.
Interesting to note, Miami’s most deadly lineup combination of the 2013 playoffs (per NBA.com) featured Norris Cole, Ray Allen, James, Shane Battier, and Chris Andersen. That group outscored opponents by 37 points, despite logging just 85 minutes. If Cole proves his 53 percent 3-point shooting in the playoffs is only a minor fluke, then look for the young guard out of Cleveland State to get minutes in bigger chunks this season.
Lineup I’d Most Like to See
James – Wade – Beasley – Bosh – Oden
First, realize the origin of this lineup. Two No. 1 overall picks (James, Oden), a No. 2 overall pick (Beasley), a No. 4 overall pick (Bosh), and a No. 5 overall pick (Wade). As far as pure talent, I don’t think the league has ever seen anything like it. Is it possible?
Plausibility: 10% (Too many unknowns — Oden’s health, Beasley’s roster status, etc)
5. Make it Rain
Chalmers – Allen – Jones – Battier – James
Miami’s top combination for 3-point shooting offers chuckers at every position on the court. They’d get murked defensively, however, and it’s unlikely we will see much of LeBron at “center” during the regular season.
4. All-Entertainment Team
Chalmers – Beasley – Battier – Andersen – Oden
True, we will never, ever see this lineup, but it would be quite comical. You have a 25 year-old who looks and feels 60 at center, a 6’10″ peacock beside him, the sneaky-borderline-dirty antics of Battier, a Michael Beasley, and Mario “EKG” Chalmers. This group would make my eyes melt. Please prove me wrong, and just give me five minutes.
Cole – Allen – Wade – James – Andersen
Birdman is who he is because of his athleticism and energy for an almost seven footer. They would obviously need to get stops to power the break, but with their top two “energy guys” in Cole and Andersen, this unit would fly.
Cole – Wade – James – Bosh – Oden
Leaving Battier off the all-defensive lineup? Am I out of my mind? Maybe, but utilizing Bosh instead at the four provides them with more length on the interior, and having Oden alongside him covers up his deficiencies in the physicality department. Most fail to realize Bosh’s defensive savvy and length are both integral to Miami’s defensive principles.
Wade – Allen – James – Bosh – Oden
Provided that Oden will still have use of his legs as the season unfolds, this group is fearful on both ends of the court. There are no weak links offensively, and having a combination of James, Bosh, and Oden will hide Allen’s vulnerabilities defensively while allowing one of the deadliest shooters in NBA history to roam those corners.
They also boast a perfect blend of size and speed. If this lineup ever comes to fruition, just lay down.