7 Miami Heat Rebounding will be a tall order for this height-challenged club

October 27, 2003

Once among the elite teams in the East, the Heat has missed the
playoffs two years running. How well Miami rebounds this season
depends largely on how well Miami rebounds this season. That
means starting center Brian Grant will be every bit as vital as
forward Caron Butler, a star in the making, or free-agent signee
Lamar Odom, a versatile swingman. "The points are definitely
secondary," says Grant. "If I snatch the thing and throw the
outlet, I know the camera is going down the other way and
something good's happening."

Even before Alonzo Mourning took to wearing a new jersey with the
Nets, the Heat ranked among the league's smaller teams. The
undersized Grant, at 6'9", compensates with a brick wall for a
chest and a reach that spans 7'5". As one of the few consistent
performers on the team last season, Grant became the fourth
player in franchise history to average a double-double,
complementing 10.3 points with 10.2 rebounds (fifth best in the
league). But given the team's wealth of young scoring talent, a
preferable split for Grant this season would be something like
five points and 15 boards.

Fine by him. Ever since he began his career in 1994, with the
Kings, Grant has forged a reputation as a player who's happy to
do the dirty work and defer glory to more offensive-minded
teammates. In fact, last season it was his apparent reluctance to
shoulder a bigger scoring load that spawned persistent trade
rumors and intermittent boos. Now it's a moot point. "I've always
wanted to be a main part of a team but not have things fall upon
my shoulders," Grant says. So long as he retrieves the errant
shots, that should be burden enough. --L.J.W.

COLOR PHOTO: BOB ROSATO Brian Grant

ENEMY LINES
an opposing team's scout sizes up the Heat

"The story of Lamar Odom's brief career is that he's been a good
offensive player when he hasn't been injured or suspended. I was
shocked that he wanted to play for Pat Riley because with the
Clippers he was neither a good defender nor a hard worker. Yet he
and Riley seem to get along on a personal level, and if he buys
into what Riley's selling, then Odom will be transformed into the
multidimensional star everybody thought he could be when he
entered the league in 1999.... If they want to put their best
players on the floor, then Odom will have to play the four and
rookie Dwyane Wade from Marquette will be the point guard. It
will be the worst defensive team Riley has ever had. The only
potential shot blocker is Odom, but he's not used to protecting
the rim.... Should Wade have trouble at the point, the Heat can
initiate the offense with Odom or Eddie Jones, who looks like
he's recovered from the ankle injuries that sidelined him the
second half of last season. Wade will be better offensively if
they're pushing the ball. He's blessed with NBA athleticism, size
and strength, and he can finish and knock down jumpers. In
preseason he was already posting guys up.... They desperately
need another big guy. Brian Grant sets the standard of toughness
and intensity for his teammates to follow, and in the last couple
of years you could see him getting frustrated when he felt he was
the only one battling inside. Malik Allen will be the first big
man off the bench, though he's limited to making shots and
spreading the defense.... Relying on up-tempo offense rather than
defense goes against everything Riley has stood for since he left
the Lakers [in 1989]. The question is whether Riley can put up
with the turnovers and the easy baskets going the other way. But
does he have any choice?"

FAST FACT
Miami was the only team whose winning percentage fell in each of
the last six years--from .744 in 1996-97 to .305 last season.

PROJECTED STARTING LINEUP with 2002-03 statistics

Record: 25-57 (13th in East)
Points scored: 85.6 (28th in NBA)
Points allowed: 90.6 (4th)
Coach: Pat Riley
(ninth season with Heat)

BRIAN GRANT

POS. PVR PPG RPG APG
C 57 10.3 10.2 1.3

BPG SPG FG% FT%
0.57 0.77 50.9 77.1

CARON BUTLER

POS. PVR PPG RPG APG
SF 67 15.4 5.1 2.7

SPG FG% 3FG% FT%
1.76 41.6 31.8 82.4

DWYANE WADE[1] (R)

POS. PVR PPG RPG APG
PG 116 21.5 6.3 4.4

BPG SPG FG% 3FG%
1.30 2.15 50.1 31.8

EDDIE JONES

POS. PVR PPG RPG APG
SG 76 18.5 4.8 3.7

BPG SPG FG% 3FG%
0.66 1.36 42.3 40.7

LAMAR ODOM[1]

POS. PVR PPG RPG APG
PF 34 14.6 6.7 3.6

BPG SPG FG% 3FG%
0.84 0.86 43.9 32.6

BENCH PVR* 2002-03 KEY STATS

F-G RASUAL
BUTLER 193 7.5 ppg 2.6 rpg 0.60 bpg 36.2 FG% 73.1 FT%
F MALIK
ALLEN 197 9.6 ppg 5.3 rpg 0.98 bpg 0.46 spg 42.4 FG%
G[1] RAFER
ALSTON 257 7.8 ppg 2.3 rpg 4.1 apg 0.81 spg 41.5 FG%
C[1] LOREN
WOODS 301 2.1 ppg 2.5 rpg 0.34 bpg 0.26 spg 38.2 FG%
F-C CHEROKEE
[1] PARKS 320 6.3 ppg 4.4 rpg 0.67 bpg 50.3 FG% 60.5 FT%

NEW ACQUISITION[1]
(R) Rookie (statistics for final college season)
*PVR: Player Value Ranking (explanation on page 94)

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)