Those worried about the Miami Heat's point guard position can rest easy:
"I feel like it's my spot to lose," Chalmers said in a telephone interview. "But I still have to keep learning [the position] and not take anything for granted."
The Heat would certainly welcome a steady-handed Chalmers this season. Miami's free-agent bonanza solidified -- to say the least -- three starting positions while a fourth (center) will be occupied by a committee of big men. With training camp opening at Eglin Air Force Base in Fort Walton Beach next week, who will emerge at point guard looms as the team's biggest question mark.
Miami has several players (
"Last year was tough," Chalmers said, "but it was all my fault. It wasn't that the Heat didn't believe in me or my teammates didn't believe in me. It was on me. Last year was a learning year. I understand now that everything is not guaranteed."
Miami doesn't have lofty expectations for Chalmers, who is expected to be ready for camp after spraining his ankle in a pickup game in July. In fact, Spoelstra told the
As Chalmers knows, he has a lot to prove. A professorial knowledge of the offense, solid assist-to-turnover ratio and three-point shooting closer to his first year (36.7 percent) than his second (31.8 percent) would fit the bill.
While Chalmers' play is a major issue going into camp, it's not the only one. Here's a look at a few things the NBA's newest superpower will need to figure out before the start of the regular season.
Interestingly, Chalmers says the core of the team -- James, Wade, Miller and
"They got great talent," Jackson said in an interview with a Chicago radio station. "There's no question about the talent they have. But talent doesn't always win. The team that shows the best teamwork will win it."
Jackson is right. With a few exceptions -- like Boston in 2007-2008 -- it can take years for a team to learn to play together. If Miami wants to duplicate the Celtics' instant success, it will have to develop an offensive and defensive identity. A lot of that responsibility falls to Spoelstra, who will have to design a system that takes advantage of his team's superior talents. The Heat have the horses to be prolific in transition and two slashers (James, Wade) and a three-point gunner (Miller) to complement a polished low-post presence (Bosh) in the halfcourt.
Most important, after paying a lot of lip service to the idea of deferring to one another over the summer, the three stars will have to prove they mean it on the court.
An NBA source told SI.com that free agent center
The good news for Miami is that those players have something different to offer. Dampier and Magloire are bangers capable of matching up with more traditional centers. Anthony is an athletic big man who runs the floor well, while Ilgauskas, the best shooter of the bunch, can stretch the floor.
However, there will not be enough minutes to go around, especially with Bosh able to slide over to center late in games. It will be incumbent on Spoelstra to establish a rotation early, so each of his big men can come to grips with his role.
"My first reaction [when Wade, Bosh and James signed with Miami] was, 'I cannot wait for this season to start,' " said Magic center
Howard's feelings are likely shared by
Beating one of the top contenders in the postseason, however, won't be as easy. It's a message Spoelstra and Heat president