Chris Bosh celebrates the Heat's 2012 title with reporter Josh Baumgard on his right (Getty Images/Andrew Bernstein).

Chris Bosh celebrates the Heat’s 2012 title with reporter Josh Baumgard on his right (Getty Images/Andrew Bernstein).

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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