It’s not official yet, but if Chris Bosh does have a blood clot in his lung his season is over. His condition is not yet a life-threatening situation Heat coach Eric Spoelstra said Friday, but it is not something that can be ignored and just played through either. The doctors need to figure out how and why the clots are forming.
If Bosh is out for the rest of this season, what options does that leave Pat Riley and the Miami Heat?
It’s not pretty.
With Goran Dragic running the show they should still make the playoffs in East, but the team with a starting five who made teams near the top of the East a little nervous disappears. The Heat have gone from the team you’d want to avoid in the first round to “I hope we get them.”
Bosh is that important. He is averaging 21.1 points and seven rebounds a game this season, but more than that he is the key to the spacing of Maimi’s offense. He can post his defender up if you go too small on him, step out and hit from the perimieter (including the three) if you go too big on him. He moves the ball, he creates matchup problems, and he’s a fantastic pick-and-roll defending big. He’s an elite player.
You don’t just replace that.
Miami has Hassan Whiteside and his energy, and post game, will get more run; but he’s not the polished shooter and floor spacer that is Bosh. Miami will likely lean on more Udonis Haslem, who may knock down the occiassional midrange baseline jumper but most teams will be happy to let him take it. Miami can lean more on Chris Andersen, but the Birdman has not been the same this season.
In the short term, the Heat have called up D-League forward Henry Walker (you may remember him better as Bill Walker, he changed his name). They likely will make a push to sign free agent Andray Blatche once his season in China ends. Blatche can hit some midrange shots, but again most teams would live with that considering the other options on Miami’s offense.
The best plan, now that Dragic is in place, is to go small and fast — try to run teams into the ground. With athletes like Whiteside, Luol Deng, and even Dwyane Wade Miami can win some games playing at pace. At least regular season games. The playoffs are another matter.
Spoelstra and the Heat have no good options. You simply cannot replace Chris Bosh.
But next season, Miami could be very interesting. And dangerous.