In the aftermath of trading Shaquille O’Neal, for Shawn Marion & Marcus Banks, these are daunting numbers for Miami …
#15, last place, in the Eastern Conference (EC)
10 games back of the 8th, and final, playoff spot
#27 (last in the EC) in Rebound Differential (-3.23) … a vital statistic, in the NBA, which Determines Winners from Losers …
#30 (last in the NBA) in Scoring Differential (-7.63).
Q1. Where does the Heat go from here?
A1. Straight up … with a bullet … in the Eastern Conference standings.
Fact #1. At 36 years of age, The Diesel simply cannotDefend, Rebound and/or Finish around the basket, at a very high level, any more … with a +15.84 Efficiency Rating this year (Career Averages).
Fact #2. At 30 years of age, The Matrix is still a Rebounding, Defending, scoring machine, who is performing at or above his Career Averages this season … with a +23.74 Efficiency Rating.
Adding Marion & Banks to the Heat’s current line-up, thusly:
instantaneously makes Miami into:
i) A better Rebounding team;
ii) A better Defensive team, especially in the half-court, with a plethora of athletic, good-sized guards, forwards and centers; and,
iii) A better Offensive team, capable of playing an up-tempo game by scoring often in transition, in bunches, from high percentage shots.
Q2. Did the transaction help the Suns solidify their status as one of several “contending” teams in the Western Conference?
Q3. Did it help the Heat regain a measure of respectibility this season (short term), and heading to the future (long term)?
A3. Without a doubt!
With a re-energized Pat Riley, two viable scoring options, D-Wade & S-Marion (plus, an outstanding defender) … if the Heat can return U-Haslem to full health …
Do not be at all surprised to see Miami challenge for the 8th (and final) Playoff spot, in the EC, before the end of this season.