Chris Bosh isn’t concerned or worried about the Heat at the moment, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t realized there’s a problem.
The regular season is nearing the first quarter mark, and the Heat hasn’t shown much improvement since the home opener. In fact, an argument could be made that the team has regressed. After all, the Heat defeated the Wizards to begin the season, but lost to Washington 107-86 on Monday night.
Bosh was the Eastern Conference’s player of the week during the opening week, and the Heat started out 5-2. Now Miami is 9-8 and mired in inconsistency unfamiliar to the core group of players that has been to the NBA Finals four years in a row.
“We probably have a bad grade right now,” Bosh said after the loss at Washington’s Verizon Center.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Miami Herald
Asked what grade that would be, and Bosh made clear that trying to assign some arbitrary value to the team would be missing the point.
“I don’t know,” Bosh said. “That’s not my position. I’m not a teacher. We deserve our record, which is something-and-something … nine-and-who cares, so whatever that gets you.”
Not much, considering the Heat hasn’t even played a game yet with this season’s projected starting lineup.
That could happen as soon as Wednesday night, though. Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said on Monday that he’s “trying not to fast-track” the full return of power forward Josh McRoberts, but the team doesn’t appear to be in any better offensively or defensively with Shawne Williams in the starting lineup.
McRoberts had surgery on his toe during the summer and Williams has filled in admirably to start the season. But McRoberts was a high-value target for the Heat during free agency and the forward’s unconventional skill set is needed alongside Bosh to make Spoelstra’s vision of “position-less” basketball work.
That’s the plan, anyway. Although Spoelstra has said vaguely that he is up for anything with this team and that “the season will decide.”
So far, the season has decided the Heat is mediocre at best.
Miami is seventh in the East standings and plays fourth-place Atlanta at AmericanAirlines Arena on Wednesday. After that, the Heat hits the road for five games, including the final four against teams in the Western Conference. West coast swings are never easy, but this one is especially difficult thanks to a Phoenix-Denver back-to-back plugged into the middle.
In other words, Spoelstra might want to plug McRoberts into the starting lineup before things get really bad.
“It’s just so tough right now because it’s just so up and down,” Bosh said. “Like I said, we don’t get any easy buckets. Our interior is not where it’s supposed to be. It’s like we have to work extremely hard just to do that. If we get it, it’s usually contested.
“But we just have to keep working, and really see where we’re lacking and fix it.”
Working out kinks
Bosh sounded more than a little worried on Monday with the direction of the team, but he insisted that isn’t the case.
“I’m never legitimately concerned until, you know, you’re in a very compromising position,” Bosh said. “We’re not in a compromising position right now. We’re just working out the kinks.”
Wednesday: Hawks at Heat
When/Where: 7:30 p.m., AmericanAirlines Arena.
TV/Radio: Sun Sports; WAXY 104.3 FM and 790 AM, WAQI 710 AM (Spanish).
Series: Heat leads 57-43.
Noteworthy: The Heat is 4-5 at home so far this season, which mirrors the difficult month of November the team had in 2009-10. That was the final season before LeBron James came to Miami. That team also lost five home games in November. …The Hawks defeated the Heat soundly in the first matchup of the season, 114-103 in Atlanta. Heat guard Mario Chalmers had a team-high 23 points and 11 assists in that loss. …Norris Cole is expected to play with a splint around his injured left middle finger. Reserve center Chris Andersen is out with a sprained ankle.