A Daily Babble Production
This much seems fairly evident in Miami so far: Nothing short of a complete health catastrophe should prevent the Heat from upping their wins total to well more than the putrid 15 they put up in 2007-08.
With Dwyane Wade looking rejuvenated and absolutely killing it internationally, a full season of Shawn Marion and the arrival of super-duper draft talent Michael Beasley from Kansas State, the Heat have what could soon be one of the league's most dynamic combinations at the two through four spots. That alone will make this team eminently more watchable and get Miami back on track toward becoming a force in the East once again.
For the year to come, it will be largely the health of those three players and the performance of the other two who accompany them in the line-up that will be the biggest X-factors in determining how much the Heat can jump forward from the league's worst record.
While the Heat continue to explore options towad filling out that supporting cast, Sun-Sentinel Heat reporter Ira Winderman has hinted that another name could be entering the mix in the Miami back-court: Damon Jones.
Jones and his expiring contract were traded to Milwaukee last week as part of the three-team deal that sent Mo Williams to the Cavaliers, but rumor is that he may not be sticking around long with the Bucks. While Jones has suggested the possibility of returning to Miami at times over the last couple of years, the Heat's interest level remains in question. We're not sure what it would take Miami to get him (either players via trade or financially if Jones winds up off the Milwaukee roster altogether), but he is certainly a guy worth looking into for the team.
Jones is something of a tweener guard in that he is just 6-foot-3 and often gets relegated to the point spot when on the floor, but he is really a shooter beyond all else. That could make him a great fit for this Miami team.
Similarly to LeBron James in Cleveland, having Dwyane Wade in the Miami back-court significantly reduces the need to have a traditional offensive facilitator running the point. Wade routinely has one of the league's highest usage rates, and the team runs so much of its offense through putting the ball in his hands and letting him create that it is to some extent more critical that the other guard can stretch the floor for Wade by taking and making long-distance shots.
Shooting from deep is what Damon Jones does, and he did it inordinately well during his brief one-year stint in Miami in 2004-05. That season was Jones' best as a pro. He started 66 games, played in all 82 and put up 11.6 points and 4.3 assists per game on the strength of 43.2 percent shooting from deep and a league-leading 62.5 percent true shooting. That accurate stroke continued in the playoffs, when Jones shot 42.9 percent from deep and put up 12 points per game.
His eccentric personality was also perfect for the South Beach limelight. Jones gained plenty of recognition that postseason for showing up to press conferences in all sorts of wildly colored get-ups and for his brash shows of confidence in interviews. He was one of the most memorable characters of that 2005 playoff tournament, and he also routinely backed up his talk by calmly stepping up to take big shots for a Heat team led by Wade and Shaquille O'Neal.
Undoubtedly, it wouldn't be fair to expect Jones to produce at the same rate now that he did in his last stint in Miami. Jones will be 32 this season, and O'Neal's dominant presence is no longer drawing defensive attention in the lane for the Heat. But while 2004-05 was a career year for Jones, this is a guy who has made a living out of being an efficient shooter. He is a 39 percent three-point shooter for his career with a true shooting mark of 54.9 percent as well. Even with Shaq gone, the penetration of a healthy Flash would still provide no shortage of good looks for Jones on the perimeter, who could also play a secondary role in facilitating the offense.
Damon Jones has previously intimated that he would like to be back in Miami, has been successful in town and isn't scared of the spotlight. The guy can still shoot the basketball, and he could provide a nice asset for a Heat team gearing up for a renaissance season of its own. He is worth some front office discussion at the very least.