On the NBA Beat Ep. 18a: Josh Baumgard: Heat “Not the Contenders They Thought They’d Be”

While Josh Baumgard of Slice Miami doesn’t believe the Heat are the contenders they
expected to be, he does shed light on their many strengths and what’s
currently holding them back. Also on the docket, the impending free
agency of enigmatic big man Hassan Whiteside, as well as Justise
Winslow’s rookie campaign, Chris Bosh’s value and many other fascinating
Heat topics. Here are some of the highlights:

3:27-4:08: “He (Hassan Whiteside) could be gone in two weeks.
That’s what’s crazy. Here is a guy who’s reminiscent of a very poor man’s David
Robinson or Alonzo Mourning in that he could be a two-way force (and) he’s a
shot-blocking machine. He’s a rim-protecting giant, super-athletic…when he’s
not out there, it’s open season on the rim. Defensively, I know he’s got some
things to learn…(he should) not necessarily go for the block all the time,
but he has all the makings of a top-5, top-10 defensive player. Offensively is
where he has a lot of work to do.

7:03-7:37: “The biggest thing (defensively) is…it’s amazing because he’s
only 19 but it’s Justise Winslow, just putting the clamps on the perimeter.
He’s been a defensive menace from Day 1. The second game of the season, they
threw him on LeBron (James), and LeBron torched him, I think he put up 30, but Winslow
still played great defense. He made him take tough shots, and LeBron was just hitting
them because he’s an all-time great. But Winslow has been a huge surprise early
on. I don’t think anyone expected him to be this good early, this soon as far
as on the defensive end.

7:44-8:07: “Chris Bosh is very under-appreciated, especially on the
defensive end. He defends the pick n’ roll as good as anybody. He might be the
prototypical big man in today’s NBA in that he can stretch the court, defend
the pick n’ roll, he’s smart (and) has a high basketball IQ.”

11:11-12:00: “I think it’s clear that they’re not the contender they
thought they’d be…they have a lot of things to work out. Realistically,
they’re a 3 to 5 seed in the East as far as quality. Now once they get to the
playoffs, obviously they have a huge advantage, because they’ve got a lot of
guys who have been there before…They can beat anyone, outside of Cleveland,
in the East in a series. But unless they make a major move as this trade
deadline comes up, I don’t think they have nearly enough shooting to really go
deep in the postseason.”

12:33-13:02: “Riley always has the will. He’s always willing to make a
move, and he’s willing to sacrifice the future to get it. I don’t think that means
trading a Justise Winslow unless you’re getting a superstar talent along the lines
of a Boogie Cousins in return, which isn’t realistic at this point. But I can
see him trading Whiteside if in his heart he knows that the Heat organization isn’t
willing to give a guy like that $100 million in the offseason.

15:56-16:28: “While I think Bosh is the premier player on
the team and that Dwyane’s taken a step back a little bit, it’s still Wade’s show.
He (Wade) is still top 10 in the league in usage (and) the ball is in hands
more than anybody else’s. If this team gets in the playoffs, as they should, he’s
gonna lead them in attempts…(and) in usage, and that could ultimately be
their downfall.”

17:52-18:33: “The key is to ramp up his (Dragic’s) usage
at the cost of Wade’s. Not sure that Wade is ready to give that up or that it’s
something Spoelstra can control. Here’s a guy you invested a lot of money in
this summer, he’s younger at 29, and he’s a really good player, (although) I
don’t think anybody knows it because of the way he is being utilized. I think
the ball needs to be in his hands a lot more…he needs to be the
primary facilitator, not Wade, and that Wade needs to take that Manu Ginobili
role, maybe even come off the bench. You need to optimize Dragic, because he’s
your future…It’s up to the Heat to make pieces fit around him.”

21:03 – 21:35: “The
Heat may want to look at (Bosh) playing more 5…I want him to shoot
more 3s. I’d rather Bosh shoot a contested 3 than Wade shoot a contested
long two or Dragic (passing) into double coverage…I think they need
more Bosh. I think he needs to be a little more assertive, get his shot
attempts up…He’s gotta be the man there.”

25:52 – 26:30: “There’s
no question that, if healthy, they’re a lot better with him (McRoberts)
on the court..than (with) Amar’e Stoudemire…probably even than (with)
Whiteside, because…he doesn’t need the ball to be successful on
offense…He’s always looking to pass, almost to a fault…His unselfish
nature…they need more of that, and they really need him….his
shooting hasn’t been there…but he’s a very skilled player…But at
this point you can’t depend on him, because obviously there’s something
just not right physically.”

Music: “Who Likes to Party?” by Kevin MacLeod