Pat Riley never wanted it to come to this. He resisted the urge to call on Erick Dampier to become a member of the Miami Heat. Oh how times change. Dampier is expected to sign a one year contract with the Heat on Tuesday Ken Berger of CBS reports. The deal will be worth the veterans’ minimum.
To make room on the roster for Dampier, the Heat will have to release a player. As it stands now, the there are two likely candidates in Dexter Pittman and Jamaal Magloire, who scored the only bench points in their loss to the Pacers. Dampier will be filling the role left vacant when Udonis Haslem went down indefinitely with a foot injury that will require surgery.
The move to add Dampier was announced Monday night as the Heat were being manhandled, at home, by the Indiana Pacers. Miami began the season as favorites to win the championship but has seen those expectations completely shattered by their inconsistent and sloppy play.
Adding Dampier is a desperation move by a team that is already in panic mode. This was supposed to be a super team, or so many thought, that was incapable of losing and was therefore destined to bring a multitude of titles to South Beach. What has actually transpired is far from any semblance of glory. It is a team of two wing oriented superstars and their errand boy who operates as a small forward in a power forward’s body. The rest of the team is made up from the tripe of the league. It is uncertain whether any of the players on the roster even know if they have a defined role on the team at all.
Adding Dampier is a joke. It is nothing more than what Pat Riley and company hope to be a stop-gap measure. If they expect Dampier to contribute in any significant way towards a successful turn around for this team they are only fooling themselves. Dampier is not that type of player. He is a lumbering, dated post relic. His presence on the court will only continue to hamper the offense of the team due to his lack of speed and athleticism to go along with little offensive prowess. Defensively, he is well past his prime and only serves as six available fouls to expend against the more dominant frontcourts in the NBA.
Miami is in trouble and Erick Dampier is not the solution. The Heat lost on Monday to the Indiana Pacers 93-77, dropping their record to 8-6. It was not that the Heat were getting brutalized in the paint, as they often do, though the Pacers found multiple opportunities to exploit Miami’s weak interior scoring 41 percent of their points in the paint. The problem for the Heat is that they have no consistent production from any more than two players on their roster during any given game. Dwyane Wade was 1-13 shooting on the night while the Pacers’ bench outscored Miami’s reserves 40-4.
Dampier will not change the culture in Miami. He will not even restore it to any sense of normalcy that was envisioned for the Heat this season. This is normal and it will remain so for the remainder of the season. It is foolish to throw money desperately at three huge contract player and neglect to surround them with a competent supporting cast. It is a model for mediocrity and that is what South Beach has found out. No wonder no one attends their games.
As long as mediocrity and inconsistency remain as the central themes in Miami, Erik Spoelstra can start counting the days he has left with the organization. He will go the way of Stan van Gundy and be replaced by the same man: Riley. However, as presently assembled, even with the addition of Dampier, the Heat will find themselves hovering a few games above .500 for the season with an early exit in the playoffs… that is unless they make another deal with the Devil.