(Photo from NBA.com)
The News: Rafer Alston agrees to buyout with the Nets, clears waivers, and is signed by the Heat.
Quick tangent: Whatever happened to And1 anyway? I guess there are only so many ways you can cross someone over while taking 4 to 5 steps and triple dribbling and having neat nicknames like Hot Sauce, The Professor, and Sik Wit It. Plus with the invention of youtube, no one needed to buy the DVDs anymore. But before all that happened, Skip to my Lou/Rafer Alston made it to the NBA. Drafted by the Bucks in 1998 with the 10th pick in the 2nd round. (Photo from tumblr).
Since this isn't a history lesson on Rafer Alston Fast, forward to when he finally got some minutes on the Heat in 2003/04 and played 82 games, starting in 28 of them, helping the Heat in Wade's rookie year make the 2nd round of the playoffs, but lost to Ron Artest and the Indiana Pacers in 6 games.
Three teams and five years later as a starting PG (mainly Houston for 4 seasons with a Finals appearance against the Lakers last year -- only to be benched in favor of a just coming back from injury Jameer Nelson!) and Rafer is back on the Heat, who averages 12.8 points and 5.8 assists as a starter.
What have the Heat been doing this year with their PG situation? Well they signed Carlos Arroyo away from Europe who came off the bench while Mario Chalmers started. This resulted in an 11-11 start after 22 games. Mario Chalmers averaged 9.5 pts and 4 ast while Arroyo averaged 4.7 pts and 1.9 ast off the bench. (Photo from Yahoo).
The Heat's 23rd game against the Raptors, Mario Chalmers came off the bench for the first time in his young career because he was late to the shoot around (Yahoo! Sports). Only he hasn't started since. I doubt he's been late to shoot arounds every game since then. But the Heat went 5-1 with Arroyo starting. With their roles reversed, Arroyo is averaging 5.2 and 3.7 and Chalmers off the bench is averaging 6.4 and 3.6. Nothing too significant with those stats except the Heat were winning including a nice win over the Orlando Magic (Photo from SIKids).
Then they lost three in a row to New Orleans, San Antonio and Charlotte, won against the Hawks, and then lost in OT to the Celtics, making Arroyo's record as a starting PG another .500, 6-6. The Heat are now 17-17 for you math wizards.
So here comes Rafer Alston, free from the New Jersey hell hole, returning to the Heat in what can safely be assumed as a starting PG role for the Heat? Rafer can run and can play better (not amazing) defense than Chalmers and Arroyo against the league's other PGs. If he isn't going to stop the league's top PGs, they'll have a tough time trying to stop him in return. He can run a nice fast break and with Wade alongside him, the Heat have a much more appealing starting backcourt than they've had this season.
We'll have a better idea of what the Heat's plans are with Alston once the terms of the contract are released but for right now, they want to win a little more than 50% of their games and at the moment, they believe that key is in the PG position.
(Stats are from Basketball Reference).