With the spotlight on Wade, James and Bosh there will be less attention paid to the Heat's remaining roster. However, their duties are no less important to Miami's goal of winning a title. In every championship team there are players that step up behind their stars and make a difference whether it's in a game, series or season. When Miami began constructing the roster around their three centerpieces they specifically sought players of this caliber. Let's take a deeper look at those players and their roles:
Name: Udonis Haslem
Role: Do the Dirty Work
In what will be his second consecutive season coming off the bench, Haslem will be challenged with being the leader of Miami's second unit. The Miami native has established his hometown reputation as a hustle-minded, hard worker on the the court. That is, he is man scoring put-back points, securing difficult rebounds over taller opponents, diving for loose balls and - most notably - taking tough charges. These are some of the efforts that define Haslem's identity and have elevated to a state of high praise by fans.
This season Miami will need the hard court warrior to step up once again. Stats will not matter as much as intangibles will with Haslem. He may not average a double-double every night (although he is definitely capable of doing so with ample minutes), but he will bring toughness and stability in crucial points of games. These are elements that differentiate a good team from a great team, and Haslem makes the Heat that much better. To prove his worth even more, Haslem made it a point to say he will give every effort to make teammate Chris Bosh a better player. Don't forget that he took less money to stay in South Florida and is highly motivated to play with his revamped squad.
Role: Be Offensive Spark Plugs
Miller is the most versatile of the group with slightly better passing and defending skills than Jones and House. He's getting paid $30 million of five years to be more than just a shooter. Miller will likely get the most playing time alongside Wade, James and/or Bosh and should benefit the most from open shot opportunities. As a result, he will hold the greatest burden to produce and add the greatest impact on a regular basis. However, the pressure Miller faces will not be much greater than what he experiences in practice, going against number three or number six constantly.
Role: Be a Versatile Big Man
Bringing the chemistry he formed with LeBron in Cleveland, Big Z's transition to Miami should be seamless. Alongside Chris Bosh, Z can effectively contribute in what could become an unconventional Heat front court. That is, both will be able to shoot mid-range jumpers as well as cover significant ground on defense. The ultimate task for Z will be using his height and length to match-up versus the larger centers in the league. While shutdown defense isn't expected from him, Miami's disruptive defensive schemes will help Big Z face the league's most dominant big men.
Other Notable Role Players
- Mario Chalmers - Role: Distribute the Ball & Force Turnovers
- Carlos Arroyo - Role: Manage the Offense off Bench & Make Sound Decisions
- Juwan Howard & Jamaal Magloire - Role: Use Big Bodies & Mentor Team
- Joel Anthony - Role: Contest Shots & Get Blocks