Greg Oden just played for the first time with the Heat. How did he look and what's the expectation for him?
He actually looked pretty good. Much like his first minutes in the one preseason game he played in, he made an immediate impact with his presence in the paint on both ends of the floor. He showed he has good hands and he was able to catch and finish, which is a bit of a miracle for the Heat to now have two big men (along with Birdman) who can actually do that. (The Heat just traded one such player who couldn't really do that too well.)
He also affected several shots near the rim with his sheer size, even if he didn't actually block them. He's not going to be able to keep pace with the Big 3 in transition but he can give them a different dynamic when the situation calls for it. Expectations are minimal for now, but you have to appreciate his dedication and the Heat's training staff for bringing him along and giving him the best chance to succeed in the long run.
There has been a lot made of LeBron James' comments on how taxing the quest for a three-peat has been on the Heat. Is there real cause for concern from that standpoint or is this nothing a quick win streak can't solve?
It's nothing to be concerned about at this time of the season. It's the Heat, so anything they go through is a big deal, or rather it's made out by others to be a big deal. If the conference was stacked then seeding might be a bit of a concern but with such a talented group of veterans, I feel pretty confident they will find the right amount of motivation once the playoffs start up. Or at the very least by the start of the Eastern Conference Finals.
Dwyane Wade has gotten some rest at various times this year, is LeBron in line to get a few nights off?
I should hope so. You don't want to have him wear down by the playoffs and have him cramp up or get fatigued. He's a competitor so I'm sure he'd love to play in every game but that probably won't be the case, especially during the second half of the season. Coach Spoelstra is smart enough to let all of his starters always get their rest. LeBron's minutes are already well managed but his playing time could also decrease later in the season as well.
Mike Miller came up big in the Finals for the Heat after being somewhat quiet over the course of the season. Is there worry that guy is not on the roster or do Shane Battier and Ray Allen make up for anything that he provided?
Both have taken turns going on extended slumps this season and while Battier looks to be back on track after getting injured it's now Allen who has been off with his shot. But yes, the Heat can count on them to step up with a bigger role when the playoffs come around. Miller was never healthy during his time in Miami but came up big when it mattered. Both Battier and Allen have proved in the past they can do that as well and the Heat also now have Michael Beasley to provide a spark off the bench.
It feels like the Heat are often in the conversation of teams that could make "one more move" *cough* Andrew Bynum *cough*, do you see the Heat adding anything before making the post season run?
Yes, I do see them making another move. The trade was certainly financially motivated to save money but it also gives the roster a bit of flexibility should the opportunity to upgrade present itself. They also acquired a trade exception in that deal and they still have their $3.2 million taxpayer mid-level exception if they want to use it.
LeBron and his shoes have been big story this year and he's swapped out his current signature several times; Is this a real issue or something Nike will obviously work out for him?
I have heard that Nike is indeed working with him on modifying the current model, but they have also done that in prior seasons. If that's been holding him back though then I feel sorry for the rest of the league!