Read an Open Letter to Chris Bosh by clicking here

How can the Miami Heat stay afloat in the Eastern Conference playoff race without Chris Bosh?

Well they probably don’t have a prayer of getting out of the second round if they do make the playoffs, but Justise Winslow should unequivocally be tossed into the starting lineup, and he probably should’ve been starting even before Bosh’s sudden health scare. It’s also time to put Hassan Whiteside back in there.

Miami’s most common lineup — Goran Dragic, Dwyane Wade, Luol Deng, Chris Bosh, and Hassan Whiteside — has been disenchanting, outscoring opponents by a mere 0.3 points per every 100 possessions in 339 minutes of action. That +0.3 Net Rating isn’t such a bad thing for a bunch of reserves trying to sustain leads built by their starters, but it’s terrible for the go-to lineup on a team with championship aspirations.

If we swap in Winslow for Bosh, that unit churns out a +10.2 Net Rating in a solid sample size of 115 minutes. This is no slight to Bosh, as he’s been a centerpiece of some of Miami’s best lineups all season. What it does point to is the impact a defensive menace like Winslow makes with his presence.

One of the only other Boshless lineups (with some sort of sample size) to find success is the aforementioned group but with Amar’e Stoudemire instead of Whiteside — they’re pumping out a +14.8 Net Rating in 34 minutes. The common denominator of course is a four-man unit of Dragic, Wade, Deng, and Winslow, which produceds a +9.8 Net Rating in 205 minutes.

Expect those four to log as many minutes together as possible as the Heat goes small and attempts to fill the massive hole created in Bosh’s absence.