Q&A with Hot Hot Hoops, SBNation's Miami Heat blog

Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Spor

Kevin Kraczkowski of SBNation's Miami Heat community, Hot Hot Hoops, took some time off to answer a few questions I had about the defending world champions.

The link to how I responded to his questions can be found on their site here.

Andy Liu, Golden State of Mind: Not many people think or know Erik Spoelstra as a top head coach. He's in the discussion for the Top 5 for me. What wrinkles or drastic changes has he made this season - if any, or necessary?

Kevin Kraczkowski, Hot Hot Hoops: Spo knows when to leave well enough alone. He's got a team full of multiple-champions who already know how to get it done. He's a great strategist - and he doesn't need to be a great motivator. These guys work well together and usually have what it takes to sink the last shot.

The other day - down by two with seven seconds left in Portland, and with the King out for the first time this season, Spo drew up a play for Bosh to go for two. Bosh said - "No. I want the kill shot." So, Spo rewrote the play and had DWade kick the ball out to him for three. Bosh sunk it from 27 feet like a true assassin. The point is, Spoelstra has lucked into an all-world team here. He's amongst the best coaches in the game because he knows how to manage a team full of superstars.

AL: LeBron has drawn a little criticism for eschewing shot attempts for efficiency, though perhaps not to the team's win total, yet. But we've seen him go Cleveland and take, and make, tons of shots when needed (Game 7 against the Spurs). Is the 60 FG% club something he's eyeing and conscious of?

KK: The only player in history to have sunk 60% or more of his field goals while averaging 25 points per game or better is Hall-of-Famer Kevin McHale in 1986-87 (26.0 ppg, 60.4% FG%). It's pretty clear that LBJ has been passing up shots to keep his field goal percentage high, but the impressive thing is that McHale only took four three-point attempts all season, missing all of them, while James is shooting 41.5% from deep (44-for-106). He's shooting 64% from inside the arc.

James is definitely cognizant of the 25/60 club. He probably wouldn't admit it out loud, but there it is. If it doesn't hurt Miami on the court, I say why not. Miami is a full game ahead of where they were at this point last season, and the team is scoring four points per game more than in 2012-13. James is capable of joining the club and helping the HEAT to a fourth consecutive NBA Finals appearance.

AL: Is Dwyane Wade's offseason 'problem' a distraction at all? More importantly, how has the Spurs-esque approach helped his game?

KK: Wade fathered a child while him and now-fiancee Gabrielle Union were on a break. They had taken a step back from their relationship to concentrate on their respective careers for a bit last year. Wade had a dalliance, and now he is engaged to Union. All parties involved were well-informed of all developments as they happened, and Union doesn't seem to be taking an issue up with it.

Wade has been taking off the second games of back-to-back's through this season, and Miami is 4-4 in those contests. Spoelstra and Wade have compromised with this plan, and the dividends are apparent. He's looked very energized when he returns, and Miami's 24-7 record would seem to reflect that this strategy has merit. When his knees are feeling good - he plays like he's 26. When he starts to get achy he plays like he's 36.

AL: Chris Bosh is about as underrated a player as Spo is as a coach. Is there any chance he leaves Miami to become a first option, again? Where do you think he is ranked in the power forward, stretch-center rankings?

KK: On a team full of future Hall-of-Famers, Bosh may be the most clutch. Since joining the HEAT, when tied or trailing by less than four with 10 seconds or less in the game, Bosh is seven-for-10 from the field, including three-for-four on three-point attempts. That doesn't really address your question though.

Bosh is still capable of leading a team when called on - it's just that he has voluntarily and necessarily relegated himself to third-option. He scored 37 with 10 rebounds the other night against the Trail Blazers while James was out. It just isn't necessary for him to lead here. As a free agent - he would fit anywhere with any team that wants to shell out a six-year, $100 million deal. He's really not a very good center - but he's a never say die power forward with decent range.

AL: The Miami offensive system is predicated on spreading the floor and penetrating and kicking. The defensive system is based on high-variance and lots of risky traps in the halfcourt. How has the development of Norris Cole, Mario Chalmers, Michael Beasley (specifically) factored into this?

KK: Beasley gives Miami a fifth guy who averages 10 or more points per game. Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole are the traditional point guards, but aren't really called on to run the HEAT's offense in a traditional way, as LBJ has led every team he has ever been on in assists. Miami's go-for-broke mentality on the defensive side of the ball has led to an NBA leading 18.5 takeways per game, and nine players averaging one or more steals per 36 minutes. Rashard Lewis is actually leading the NBA in steals to turnovers, with a 1.65 ratio.


Offensively, Miami has 10 players who average at least two three-point attempts per 36 minutes. Out of these, Ray Allen (.385), Mario Chalmers (.385), LeBron James (.415), Norris Cole (.418), and Michael Beasley (.500(!)) are shooting better than league average. Cole is often the fastest player on the floor, Chalmers is an emotional spark plug, and Beasley is today's version of the microwave - instant scoring off the bench. In addition, Chris "Birdman" Anderson provides a big body off the bench, and shooting 63.5%. This isn't even getting into the big three. There aren't a lot of offenses in this league that can keep up with them, but the Warriors may be one of them.

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