The Miami Heat had a relatively quiet offseason for a defending champion but the moves they made have them ready to make a strong run at a three peat. There were a few free agents added to the mix to give the team more depth. The likes of Greg Oden and Roger Mason, Jr. have been asked to fill voids to make the team even more dominant than last year’s 66-6 record indicated.
With most teams improving in the offseason, the Heat did the same and can be more dangerous in the post and from the outside. Greg Oden is the wildcard coming into the season. The Heat took a huge gamble which they are hoping it pays off because his size and shot blocking prowess will be needed as the team was at the bottom of the league in rebounds and blocks. They first have to get him playing in game situations in order to see how his balky knees will respond. Oden has a decent touch around the rim but it’s his averages of 6 rebounds and almost 2 blocks per game. He is the player that is the most important from a frontcourt perspective despite not playing in the league since 2009. Miami needs good minutes from a big man that can play both ends of the floor. He won’t be relied on too much offensively but his defense makes him very valuable. Oden has been practicing and is expected to play in one or two preseason games.
The guard play for the Heat got better with the signing of journeyman Roger Mason, Jr. as a replacement for Mike Miller to be another bench sharpshooter. Mason is the one pickup that could be “sleeper” signing of the offseason for the team. Miami is the seventh team to take a chance on Mason who will be charged with shooting lots of three-pointers. His best season came in 2008-09 when he averaged 11 points off the bench and shot a career best three-point percentage of 42.5 percent. As a lifetime 38 percent shooter from distance, the Heat may have found the hidden gem to complete their bench rotation. Mason is averaging 7.6 points per game and is making 45 percent of his three-point attempts.
Oden and Mason are the newbies but could be a big part of Miami’s plans if they succeed in their first year with the team. While Oden will be happy if his knees hold up as he gets integrated into games, Mason knows he won’t have many opportunities to contend for a championship. One of those players could be the one to keep the Heat atop the NBA mountaintop after the 2013-14 season.
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