He’s had ups, he’s had downs, but this season he is showing his ability to direct his talent and elevate his game.
Rio has gone from a developing NBA talent to a well-versed veteran.
And he’s only in his third year.
What has attributed to this is not only his natural talent and drive, but his experience in the NBA.
In Mario Chalmers’ first three years in the league, he has attributed to 18 post season wins for the Heat.
He wasn’t always a significant contributor, but Rio has seen more than 15 times the amount of postseason wins in his first three years than his NBA peers.
Playing alongside Wade, James and Bosh, it’s easy to understand how anxiety and pressure to perform may have contributed to his mercurial play.
But Chalmers seems to have broken out of his shell this season. He has played alongside future hall of famers for years now, and is soaking in every possible lesson and attributing them on the court. His play has bettered this season both in measured statistics and intangibles. His .446% 3 point field goal shooting is ninth in the league.
In comparison, Jason Terry of the Mavericks has made 76 three point shots compared to Chalmers 70. But Terry is 64th on the list of accuracy.
More over less, Chalmers is competing with the best NBA shooters in the league this year.
But it is his intangibles that are most noteworthy.
Consider his game vs. the Knicks two weeks ago. The entire country was consumed in Lin-Sanity.
Chalmers had other plans. He held Lin to 1-11 shooting and 8 turnovers. Chalmers was a man on fire. Not in a statistical sense, but in a driven sense. He wanted to ‘stick-it’ to Lin; he wanted to show the newbie what playing in the NBA was really like.
In the first quarter Chalmers stole the ball from Lin just barely into Heat territory, drove to the hoop, and slammed the ball.
His first dunk of the year.
Chalmers made a statement with that dunk, that game, and this entire season.
He has seen and played with the best the NBA has to offer. And this experience has contributed to his killer instincts both offensively and defensively this year. There will be no other starting PG‘s for the Heat. No more Alston’s, no more Arroyo’s, no more Bibby’s. This is Chalmers’ spot. He has fought for his place, and has earned a pivotal spot in the starting lineup for the best team in the NBA.