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With no players to guide or scouting reports to digest, Erik Spoelstra spent last year's lockout studying the systems used by other NBA coaches. The lesson he learned: Play your best players regardless of position. By the postseason Spoelstra had persuaded LeBron James to occasionally take his talents to power forward, allowing defensive savant Shane Battier to shut down opposing small forwards. This year Chris Bosh will move to center, a position he openly said he wished to avoid when he signed with the Heat. A title has a way of making everything seem more palatable.
Over the summer Miami added Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis. While both have lost a step, they still have the shooting range to open up driving lanes for James and Dwyane Wade. Talent alone wasn't quite enough to win a title in the Big Three's first season, but now, with a philosophy designed to maximize the trio's impact, a dynasty is theirs for the taking.
COACH: Erik Spoelstra (5th season with Heat)
2011--12 RECORD: 46--20 (1st in Southeast)
OFFENSE: 98.5 ppg (7th)
DEFENSE: 92.5 ppg (4th)
PICK-AND-ROLL OFFENSE: 23.6 (14th)
PROJECTED STARTING FIVE
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