Point Out a Point Guard

Philip Maymin
Basketball News Services 

Just for a moment, imagine if the Heat had known they'd be frontrunners for Shaq's services on draft day 2004. Is there any doubt they would have picked Jameer Nelson? In a similar mold, Rafer Alston went to Toronto because he couldn't wait to see what would happen in Miami, and he couldn't risk Toronto changing its mind. Now, the Heat have a little bit more money to spend and could have used it on Alston. They certainly could have afforded Nelson. Now, they are reportedly talking to Damon Jones.

Jones is an excellent free agent point guard for the Milwaukee Bucks. They way he described his game to me a few months ago after a road victory over the Nets, he said he's not a real "break-you-down" kind of point guard. In other words, he's not Dwyane Wade, who can slice and dice and slash to the hoop, creating his own shots even over such All-Star candidates as Baron Davis in game-winning shots. Jones is more of a passer and a distributor. He likes to bring the ball up, against pressure if needed, and pass it to the cutter or the shooter coming off the screen.

In Milwaukee, that guy coming off the screens was Michael Redd. In Detroit, it would have been Rip Hamilton. In Miami, it would be Eddie Jones.

There's not going to be a triangle offense in Miami but there will be set plays. Most of the time the goal will be to get the ball into Shaq's hands, but of course the defense will anticipate that as the first option and will front or otherwise deny the early entry. A straightforward solution would be to start the offense by going through Eddie Jones for a quick open jump shot if it is available.

If the defense sags off of Jones to protect against O'Neal, Jones will either hit the shot or O'Neal will be in a great position for an offensive rebound, since the defense will likely have been either fronting him or mildly out of position. And if you are mildly out of position against the Big Diesel, you might as well be in the stands.

So they could use a point guard to look to get the rock into Jones's hands, who, if he is defended, will look to swing it back out to the point who will in turn now find a well-placed Shaq in the paint, or to a cutter and slasher like Wade who can create his own shot or at least get into the lane for a foul or potential dish-off with only a few seconds elapsing.

In other words, the Heat could use a quality, young point guard at an attractive price, and Damon Jones may fit the bill perfectly.

You can already buy Shaq's jersey in Miami black. For all Shaq gear, click here.

The Associated Press writes inThe Chicago Sun-Times: Cosby appeared before a packed crowd at Zo's Summer Groove, which is organized by former Miami Heat center Alonzo Mourning... Before Cosby's speech, Mourning said he did not hesitate to invite the entertainer. ''No, because it's the truth. The truth is confrontational,'' Mourning said. 


Israel Gutierrez ofThe Miami Heraldwrites: Free agents Damon Jones and Robert Horry both were in the Heat locker room, preparing to play in Mourning's charity game, but both have also had contact with the Heat about possibly playing in Miami next season.Jones, a point guard with three-point range, said his agent has heard from several teams but nothing definite from the Heat. Horry said he expected to meet with the Heat, but no meeting has occurred. ''[Agent Robert Barr] told me they might want to meet with me while I'm down here,'' Horry said.

In case you missed it, Dave Barry ofThe Miami Heraldwrites: Dear Shaq: Welcome to the Heat!You're going to love South Florida. The fans down here are terrific! We're with you, win or lose. OK, I'm lying. We're only with you if you win.

The St. Petersburg Timeswrites: Alonzo Mourning used to be the center of attention when it came to the Heat. Now Mourning's retired and Shaquille O'Neal is the new Heat leader, and his arrival in the Magic City was the dominant topic of conversation before Mourning's annual charity game on Sunday night."It's probably one of the biggest acquisitions that this franchise has ever made," Mourning said. "It's going to generate a tremendous amount of revenue for this city and the organization."

Tim Povtak ofThe Orlando Sentinelwrites: "When 'The Diesel' is on the floor, there is plenty of room for everyone," O'Neal said last week."When he's not on the floor, it goes back to reality." It's why veteran guard Eddie Jones, often criticized for his failings (including by O'Neal himself when they were teammates in L.A.), is jumping for joy in Miami. It's why Dwyane Wade, entering his second season, will rise quickly as a star in Miami. It's why every free agent still in the market today is placing calls to Miami, hoping to join the Heat.