It has to be said, Pat Riley has done a stand-up job salvaging the Miami Heat’s offseason. What could’ve very easily turned into a shambolic fiasco after that guy who used to wear the No. 6 jersey left (all in hopes not saying his name will prevent Heat fans from breaking into a fit of rage), actually ended up being a decent bit of business in the open market.
Chris Bosh all but said he wasn’t coming back if, you know who, wasn’t sticking around and the Houston Rockets had tabled a tempting four-year, $88 million deal, but he here is. He is still rocking the Heat colors – albeit for a ridiculous sum but, the point remains.
Dwyane Wade took a pay cut and they managed to snag a quality replacement at the small forward spot with Luol Deng coming on board.
Furthermore, the also added the versatile Josh McRoberts, while still keeping hold of fan favorite Udonis Haslem. Yet for all the savvy wheeling and dealing, they still have a glaring hole to fill: the shooting guard position.
Miami is loaded with players in every single position except the one where they are most vulnerable. Mario Chalmers, Norris Cole and Shabazz Napier are running point, Danny Granger, James Ennis and Deng will be manning the small forward spot. While Bosh, Chris Andersen, Justin Hamilton Haslem and McBob will be holding down the bigman positions. Then there’s only Dwyane Wade at the 2.
That’s the same injury-plagued Wade who has managed to play at least 70 games in only five of his 11 seasons in the NBA. The same Wade who has missed 74 games in the past three seasons alone. The same Wade who missed 28 games last year, primarily due to the fear that he was too brittle to play in back-to-back games.
For him, it’s not a matter of whether he is good enough to be dominant in this league. It’s more a matter of will his body actually allow him to suit up and do what we know he is capable of.
Surely even the most optimistic of Heat fans don’t expect him to find the fountain of health all of a sudden, right?
The irony in all this is perhaps the fact that Miami had an abundance of shooting guards in previous time. In fact, they had way too many.
In the 2013-14 season, the likes of Ray Allen, Roger Mason Jr. and James Jones were all available to take over. That’s before you even mention players who filled in on a temporary basis like Toney Douglas or Norris Cole in two point guard sets.
Heck, it was so congested, to the point where Jones couldn’t even get any game time, and the man is like a sniper from long-range. Just look at his career 40 percent conversion rate from 3-point land.
So clearly Miami needs to get some depth at the position. One, or ideally two, players that can get it done offensively, otherwise Bosh will have too much of a burden to provide points.
But it also has to be a cheap addition following this summer’s spending spree. Essentially, the Heat need a scoring machine at the minimum rate.
Good luck with that.
Then again, there are still possible additions out in the open market. Perhaps someone whose phone isn’t ringing of the charts with offers and is getting closer to the point desperation. Or maybe someone Riley can use his powers of persuasion on to convince them to take a pretty pay cut in order to play for a team that likely won’t be a realistic championship contender.
Nonetheless, a few free agents that could contribute come to mind: Jordan Crawford, MarShon Brooks, Francisco Garcia and Ramon Sessions.
Jordan Crawford – He is probably the best candidate out of the four names here because he fits the offensively gifted shooting guard that can provide a steady stream of points. Sure he does have knack for taking head scratching shots sometimes. Although once he gets it going, he is really hard to corral.
Plus, his court vision and passing is somewhat underrated, but he can create for others just, as he showed during his stint with the Boston Celtics, which led to Riles attempting to acquire him. But that never materialized and he ended up in Golden State.
Unfortunately, he could be quite costly and there is plenty of competition for his signature.
Warriors free agent guard Jordan Crawford is receiving interest from Bulls, Mavs, Lakers, Knicks & Nets, the source said.
— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) July 9, 2014
However, the Warriors are a little overcrowded at the guard positions (Stephen Curry, Steve Blake, Crawford, Shaun Livingston, Klay Thompson, Nemanja Nedovic), therefore they are willing to do a sign-and-trade.
MarShon Brooks – Life after the Brooklyn Nets has been rough for Brooks. Having posted 12.4 points in his rookie year, there was a sense of optimism about his career, but it’s downhill from there, having bounced around from team to team, the D-League and even having to try and find work via the Summer League with the Sacramento Kings.
Nevertheless, he did shine with the Summer League champions, averaging 10.2 points in only 15 minutes of action. Granted it wasn’t against the crème de la crème of the basketball world, it is still impressive how much he got done with so little time.
Perhaps he is having a career renaissance, to play more resembling of his rookie days and Miami could cash in for what will likely be a low asking price.
Francisco Garcia – Garcia isn’t exactly what many would describe as a big time scorer, but at this point, with limited monetary resources and quite frankly a lack of options, he isn’t too bad an option. Plus, he still shoot with impressive accuracy from range. Just last year, he converted nearly 36 percent of his tries on his way to 5.7 points per contest.
Ramon Sessions – Sessions is also a case of running out of ideal targets but he too could also be serviceable in the role.
His career averages of 11.7 points and 4.7 assists suggest he is a great back-up guard who can score and facilitate, so he would be able to help the Heat on two fronts. Although, that would mean Erik Spoelstra playing two-point guard lineups a lot more than he would probably wish to do, but at this point, there are really that many other great options to work with.
If worst came to worst, they could always raid the D-League for some diamonds in the rough. Kevin Murphy burned opponents for 25.5 points per game last year, and he shot 38.6 percent.