Position-by-Position Breakdown of Potential Spurs vs. Heat NBA Finals Preview

The San Antonio Spurs and Miami Heat had appeared to be on a collision course for the 2012 NBA Finals before the Oklahoma City Thunder stepped in. The 2012-13 season is setting the same stage, with the Spurs and Heat leading their respective conferences in wins.

How do they match up by position?

The Spurs and Heat will play Thursday in what could be a preview of things to come. We’ll see how the Spurs deal with the athleticism of the Heat and how the Heat counteract the Spurs’ strength at point guard and power forward.

This matchup is sure to be an offensive explosion, with the Spurs ranked No. 5 (102.1) in the NBA in points per game and the Heat ranked No. 1 (104.8). The Heat will be well-rested, with a full four days between games, while the Spurs will be on the second half of a road back-to-back.

Depth chart taken from ESPN.com with current injuries taken into account. Stats taken from Basketball-Reference.com and NBA.com.

Point Guard: Mario Chalmers vs. Tony Parker

Rk Player Season Age G GS MP FG% 3P% FT% ORB DRB TRB AST STL BLK TOV PF PTS
1 Mario Chalmers 2012-13 26 13 13 26.4 .410 .333 .650 0.2 2.5 2.7 4.6 1.7 0.2 1.7 2.7 6.7
2 Tony Parker 2012-13 30 14 14 31.9 .481 .353 .721 0.4 2.9 3.2 7.1 0.7 0.1 2.1 1.9 17.5
Provided by Basketball-Reference.comView Original Table
Generated 11/28/2012.

 

 

The Spurs have a major offensive advantage at the point guard spot with Parker. A big reason for the difference is the style that each team plays. The Heat don’t run a standard offense with the point guard handling the ball, which limits Chalmers’ ability to put up good numbers.

Parker is a stark contrast for the Spurs in that the ball is in his hands extremely often and he’s their floor general. He’s gone off for big numbers during their four-game winning streak, with 26, 33, 32 and 15 points scored.

Parker has taken it upon himself to put the offense on his shoulders and is ascending to elite status at the position. Chalmers will have a tough task of staying with Parker, especially if he continues to be so aggressive in seeking his offense.

Advantage: San Antonio

 

Shooting Guard: Dwyane Wade vs. Gary Neal

Rk Player Season Age G GS MP FG% 3P% FT% ORB DRB TRB AST STL BLK TOV PF PTS
1 Gary Neal 2012-13 28 13 4 21.5 .485 .387 .850 0.3 2.6 2.9 1.7 0.3 0.0 1.1 1.4 9.6
2 Dwyane Wade 2012-13 31 10 10 33.8 .470 .167 .731 1.2 3.1 4.3 4.7 1.3 0.9 2.6 1.9 18.1
Provided by Basketball-Reference.comView Original Table
Generated 11/28/2012.

 

 

There’s no question who the better player is between Wade and Neal. In fact, Neal is only filling in as a starter at shooting guard because of injuries to Stephen Jackson and Kawhi Leonard, which has forced coach Gregg Popovich to do some maneuvering of his rotation. Neal is a productive bench player, but a starting role is much different.

It will be interesting to see how much Wade tries to wear Neal down. Wade is an excellent post player and likes to take smaller guards into the paint, which will have a big effect on Neal. Sometimes the best defense is to tire the player out on the other end.

Wade should be healthy and rested and will have a big game. Wade will get to the paint against Neal and will get to the free-throw line early and often. Look for Wade to score over 20 with at least 10 free-throw attempts.

Advantage: Miami Heat

 

Small Forward: LeBron James vs. Danny Green

Rk Player Season Age G GS MP FG% 3P% FT% ORB DRB TRB AST STL BLK TOV PF PTS
1 Danny Green 2012-13 25 15 15 30.8 .440 .382 .909 0.7 2.7 3.5 1.5 1.0 0.6 1.0 1.4 10.5
2 LeBron James 2012-13 28 13 13 37.2 .531 .439 .671 1.5 7.4 8.8 6.5 0.8 1.0 2.4 1.8 25.2
Provided by Basketball-Reference.comView Original Table
Generated 11/28/2012.

 

 

James is the best player in the NBA, so that ends any comparison in this matchup.

Green is much more of a spot-up shooter at this point and thrives off of open looks provided by his point guard. For a player who doesn’t score a lot but plays over 30 minutes, Green would help the Spurs by getting more involved in other areas.

Being involved in all facets is what makes James so great. He’s having a bit of a down year in steals and blocks, but he’s all over the court on a nightly basis. A big surprise is how well James is shooting the three-pointer this year. His 43.9 percent is by far the highest of his career.

With the good comes the bad, because James has become somewhat intoxicated by outside jumpers. He isn’t going to the basket or the free-throw line nearly as often. His 5.8 attempts per game ties his rookie year and is a career low.

Advantage: Miami Heat

 

Power Forward: Udonis Haslem vs. Tim Duncan

Rk Player Season Age G GS MP FG% 3P% FT% ORB DRB TRB AST STL BLK TOV PF PTS
1 Tim Duncan 2012-13 36 15 15 30.9 .524 .500 .760 1.8 8.3 10.1 2.7 0.8 2.3 1.4 1.9 18.7
2 Udonis Haslem 2012-13 32 13 0 17.5 .523 .600 1.2 3.9 5.1 0.4 0.2 0.2 0.9 1.8 4.0
Provided by Basketball-Reference.comView Original Table
Generated 11/28/2012.

 

 

Shane Battier would be the starter, but he’s out with a sprained right MCL. Rashard Lewis could step in, but he’s got the flu and is listed as questionable. That leaves Haslem to fight against a first-ballot Hall of Famer in Duncan.

There will be no contest between these two because Duncan has found the fountain of youth and is playing at a very high level. Duncan sports a PER of 27.3 and a defensive rating of 95, which is remarkable. He’s throwing up double-doubles like a cook at In-N-Out Burger right now and could edge his way into both the Most Valuable Player and the Defensive Player of the Year award discussions.

Don’t expect Haslem to guard Duncan all night long. Bosh would be better suited to disrupt Duncan as a longer player who can make Duncan work on the other end. Either way, it’s going to be a big night for Duncan.

Advantage: San Antonio Spurs

 

Center: Chris Bosh vs. DeJuan Blair

Rk Player Season Age G GS MP FG% 3P% FT% ORB DRB TRB AST STL BLK TOV PF PTS
1 DeJuan Blair 2012-13 23 12 8 17.1 .451 .875 1.8 3.1 4.9 1.2 0.9 0.2 1.3 2.0 6.5
2 Chris Bosh 2012-13 28 13 13 33.8 .560 .167 .859 2.5 5.6 8.1 1.4 0.8 1.3 2.0 2.4 20.2
Provided by Basketball-Reference.comView Original Table
Generated 11/28/2012.

 

 

One of the biggest assets for the Heat is the fact that they have a center who can stretch the floor and make the opposing big man have to work to defend him. Bosh loves to face up and go to the basket, but if left open he has range all the way out to the three-point line.

Blair has been a pleasant surprise for the Spurs and, when given time, he can produce. The problem is, his playing time has been so inconsistent that he hasn’t been given much of a chance to show what he can do. It’s no coincidence that the two games in which he’s played over 20 minutes were his most productive across the board.

Bosh has been solid in his role at center, and it’s vastly underrated to have a center who shoots such a good free-throw percentage. Bosh has been hot lately as well, making 24 of his last 36 field-goal attempts (66.7 percent).

Advantage: Miami Heat

 

Sixth Man: Ray Allen vs. Manu Ginobili

Rk Player Season Age G GS MP FG% 3P% FT% ORB DRB TRB AST STL BLK TOV PF PTS
1 Ray Allen 2012-13 37 13 0 26.7 .510 .529 .829 0.7 2.5 3.2 2.2 1.1 0.2 1.3 2.1 12.8
2 Manu Ginobili 2012-13 35 13 0 23.8 .397 .278 .810 0.2 2.8 2.9 4.1 1.1 0.3 2.0 1.8 11.2
Provided by Basketball-Reference.comView Original Table
Generated 11/28/2012.

 

 

Two of the best sixth men in the game square off, but they aren’t alike in many ways. Allen was brought in to shoot a high percentage from the three-point line, and that’s what he’s done. He’s comfortable in big games and in clutch situations, which is why he’s been such a big addition.

Ginobili is equally clutch, but he’s counted on to do more ball handling and passing than Allen. He’s definitely a quality offensive player and is much better than his shooting percentages suggest. Although the shooting isn’t coming around, the rest of his game is. He’s had 12 or more points, five or more rebounds and five or more assists in three of his last five games.

While Ginobili gets the nod as a better player, Allen gets the nod for now because he fulfills his role better. Allen is clicking right now, whereas Ginobili is still trying to get fully healthy and find his stride.

Advantage: Miami Heat

 

November 29 Game Prediction: Miami Heat 109, San Antonio Spurs 104

Piece originally written by HoopsHabit for Bleacher Report

Topics: NBA

Want more from Hoops Habit?  
Subscribe to FanSided Daily for your morning fix. Enter your email and stay in the know.

TEAMFeed More HoopsHabit news from the Fansided Network

Comments 0

Toronto Raptors: Big Game 2 Win, But Pessimism Persists

San Antonio Spurs: Mavs Roll Spurs In Game 2, Even Series At 1

Comments 0

NBA Playoffs 2014: Players With Most To Prove Entering Game 3

Hot on the Web From golf.com