Miami Heat

Mailbag: Should the Heat go after Carmelo Anthony?

The weekly Miami Herald Heat mailbag is here to answer your questions.

If you weren’t able to ask a question this time, send your questions for future mailbags via Twitter (@Anthony_Chiang). You can also email me at achiang@miamiherald.com.

@j_lopez50: What are the chances of the Heat going after Carmelo Anthony? Do we really need him?

Anthony Chiang: The real questions are: Can Carmelo Anthony help the Heat and does he fit on the roster?

Those are difficult to answer. Sure, Anthony’s offensive skill set can help the Heat. While he’s not the scorer he used to be, he still has the ability to consistently create his own offense. That’s something Miami lacks, at times, late in games. The problem is Anthony hasn’t been scoring efficiently for a few seasons now. He made 40.4 percent of his shots last season and 40.5 percent of his shots in his first 10 games of this season. The Heat’s challenge would be to get Anthony to become an efficient scorer again, whether that has to do with shot selection or getting him to certain spots on the court.

As for Anthony’s fit, there is one open spot on the Heat’s 15-man roster. That means Miami would not have to release anybody to create room for him. And a move for Anthony would come at the veteran minimum, so it wouldn’t be expensive. But keep in mind the Heat is already over the luxury tax line, and adding Anthony only puts it farther above that line. Basketballwise, though, the fit isn’t as clear cut. Assuming Anthony plays primarily as a power forward, he would be competing with James Johnson (when he returns from injury), Justise Winslow, Bam Adebayo and Kelly Olynyk for minutes at the position. Add in the fact that Anthony hasn’t always been receptive to playing off the bench (his first game as a reserve came this season), and there are questions that need to be answered before the Heat commits to him.

This is all a big hypothetical, of course. Anthony is technically still a member of the Rockets, and the Heat is moving forward with its 14-man roster for now. But Miami was one of the teams to meet with Anthony and his representatives in July at the Las Vegas Summer League following his buyout from the Thunder. So, the two sides are somewhat familiar with each other.

@SarahRamsingh: What critical issue does the Heat need to address to stop throwing away early season games?

Anthony: The two issues that stick out are inconsistent play on defense and turnovers. Miami entered Thursday ranked 13th in defensive rating (allowing 107.8 points per 100 possessions) and averaging the fourth-most turnovers at 16.8 per game. For the Heat to be better than average this season, it has to improve in both those areas.

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