With the Heat reaching the season’s midpoint on Tuesday against Oklahoma City, a look at where each player stands after 40 games:
### Dwyane Wade: The good: Ranks 10th in the league in scoring at 22.1 and fourth in field-goal percentage among shooting guards, at 49.5.
With more playmaking responsibilities, his assist average (5.6) stands at its highest since the season before LeBron James’ arrival.
The concern: Has missed 10 games because of hamstring issues, after missing 28 last season due to injuries and maintanance on his knees. At least his knees haven’t been a problem this year…. Committing 3.2 turnovers per game, fourth-worst among shooting guards.
Bottom line: Still a very good player, elite on some nights, but durability remains an issue. He turned 33 on Saturday.
### Chris Bosh: The good: Ranks 12th in scoring at 21.6 and has generally raised his game in the wake of LeBron’s departure.
The concern: Rebounding has been OK (7.7 per game, 29th in league) but not exceptional; keep in mind he averaged 10.0 and 10.8 in his final two seasons with Toronto. And his shooting percentage (47.5), while solid, is his lowest since his second season.
Bottom line: More often than not, Bosh has met expectations, at least from an offensive standpoint. But he hasn't exceeded expectations. And because of the limitations of the Heat's supporting cast, more is needed from Bosh for the Heat to climb above .500 and have any chance to advance past the first round.
### Luol Deng: The good: Shooting far more accurately (49.8 percent) than anytime in the past six years… Defense has been an asset, particularly in recent games.
The concern: Deng is at his best offensively when teammates get him the ball when he’s cutting or on the move. But in too many games, he has been an afterthought or passive offensively, with 10 games of single digit scoring, compared with nine all of last season for Chicago and Cleveland…. His 71.4 percent free-throw shooting is well below his career average (77).
The bottom line: When the Heat plays well, Deng usually also plays well. That isn't a coincidence. But the overall impact hasn't measured up to the $10 million salary.
### Mario Chalmers: The good: Scored at least 20 points in five of the Heat’s first 14 games (none since) and his 10.7 scoring average is a career high.
The concern: On pace for career lows in shooting percentage both overall (39.7) and on threes (27.3: 33 for 121). Has made at least half his shots from the field in only four of the Heat’s past 20 games, including 15 for 43 on the recent West Coast trip…. Averaging a career-high 2.3 turnovers.
Bottom line: After teasing with several big games early in the season, Chalmers has descended into the type of shooting slump that doomed him late in last year's playoffs.
### Norris Cole: The good: Assist-to-turnover ratio of 2.56-to-1 is slightly about average (23rd of 47 qualifying point guards).
The concern: His 38.8 shooting percentage is third-worst among point guards who have started at least half their team’s games… Shooting a dismal 24.7 percent on threes (21 for 85).... Has had some good moments defensively, but like all of the Heat’s point guards, has also allowed too many blow-bys.
Bottom line: If Cole doesn't improve significantly, it's difficult to envision Miami extending the $3 million qualifying offer needed to make him a restricted, as opposed to an unrestricted free agent, this summer.
### Chris Andersen: The good: Shooting 62 percent from the field, eighth among all players with a minimum of 25 appearances…. His 11.5 rebounds per 48 minutes is average for qualifying centers (tied for 27 of 56).
The concern: Has missed 15 games with assorted injuries… Scoring average down from 6.6 to 5.1, partly because there are no longer LeBron-delivered lobs.
The bottom line: Has been starting out of necessity recently but seems miscast in the role. His $5 million salary would hold value in a trade.
### Hassan Whiteside: The good: The season’s most pleasant surprise, Whiteside ranks fifth among all NBA players (minimum 15 games) in rebounds per 48 minutes (18.5) and first in blocks per 48 minutes (6.3). Scored in double figures in six in a row (including 23 against the Clippers) before foul trouble limited him to four points in 15 minutes Friday against Sacramento….
The concern: His 6.9 fouls per 48 minutes ranks in the top third for most fouls, per 48 minutes, among NBA centers.
Bottom line: While the growth and production have been impressive, and the skill set is intriguing, the sample size remains too small to make any definitive judgments. Quality backup? It would seem so, at the very least. But quality starter? That very much needs to play out.
### Danny Granger: The good: After sitting out 20 of the Heat’s first 28 games, Granger scored 18, 21 and 14 points in three games in a row in late December.
The concerns: Since then, has shot 7 for 35 in seven games, dropping his overall accuracy to 38.9 percent…. Twice as many turnovers (20) as assists (10).
Bottom line: Though he’s moving better than he did earlier in the season, he’s clearly not the player who was an offensive force for Indiana in his prime. The hope is that he can make enough threes to justify continued minutes.
### Shawne Williams: The good: Shooting a career-high 42.7 on threes (56 for 131). Started the Heat’s first 17 games (just five since) and played well at times, including 16 points in a win against Toronto.
The concern: Doesn’t have any other clearly above-average skill besides three-point shooting. Averaging 3.5 rebounds as a “stretch” power forward and has had lapses defensively.
Bottom line: Minutes in the second half could hinge on how well Granger plays, as much as anything.
### Udonis Haslem: The good: Though playing time has been modest (26 games, 14.7 minutes per), the energy, defensive effort and rebounding can still make a difference at times, including Friday against the Kings. His 13.0 rebounds per 48 minutes rank in the top third among power forwards.
The concern: Shooting percentage has dipped to 43.0, well below his 51.4 and 50.7 percent shooting in the past two seasons.
Bottom line: Seems likely to play only when Bosh, Whiteside or Andersen has injuries or foul trouble.
### Shabazz Napier: The good: At times, displays a craftiness lacking in the Heat’s other point guards…Shooting 37.1 percent on threes, ranking 24th of 89 point guards who have appeared in a game.
The concern: Vulnerable defensively and his 1.28-to-1 assist to turnover ratio ranks 83rd of 89.
Bottom line: Over the next 42 games, the Heat needs to get a better feel about whether he's a potential starter. He makes some creative passes that the Heat's other point guards simply cannot, but defensive shortcomings and looseness with the ball are troubling.
### James Ennis: The good: Energy and athleticism have helped in short bursts and defensive awareness has improved.
The concern: Needs to boost his 31.4 percent three-point shooting to earn more playing time.
Bottom line: Expectations after a dynamic preseason have been tempered, but Ennis could be a potential longterm rotation player if he can become a more consistent three-point shooter from the wings.
### Justin Hamilton: The good: Has kept an NBA job, for whatever that’s worth.
The concern: Despite having decent range, has shot only 6 for 30 on jumpers, isn’t a big deterrent at the rim and his rebounding is subpar for a 7-footer. Didn’t make much of a case during five December starts.
Bottom line: Size could keep him bouncing around the league for a few years, but Hamilton possesses no singular skill to suggest he's anything more than a journeyman.
### Josh McRoberts: The good: Shot 52.8 percent and displayed deft passing skills during his 17 games.
The concern: A likely season-ending knee injury leaves the Heat not completely sure how good this team would be with him…. His 7.3 rebounds per 48 minutes rank among the league’s worst for power forwards.
Bottom line: The Heat played well at times with McRoberts on the court, but Yahoo! reports the Heat was willing to part with him in its recent bid for Nets center Brook Lopez. And McRoberts' subpar rebounding numbers would be a longterm concern if cast as a starter.
### Tyler Johnson: Incomplete. Appeared in just one game since signing 10-day contract.
Bottom line: Athleticism and diversity of his game are intriguing, and his three-point shooting improved in the NBDL. Worth an extended look.
Please check back Sunday afternoon for the Sunday buzz column, with lots of Canes, Dolphins, Marlins and Heat... Twitter: @flasportsbuzz