Miami’s backcourt options
After the expected additions of Carlos Arroyo and Juwan Howard to come shortly, the Heat will have committed to 13 of its 15 available roster spots. The rotation will break down as follows:
PG: Mario Chalmers, Carlos Arroyo
SG: Dwyane Wade
SF: Lebron James, Mike Miller, James Jones
PF: Chris Bosh, Udonis Haslem, Juwan Howard
C: Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Joel Anthony, Jamaal Magloire, Dexter Pittman
As things stand, the Heat has just one point guard and one shooting guard on the roster; the unspectacular Mario Chalmers and the insatiable Dwyane Wade. Behind Chalmers, Arroyo will help. Behind Wade, there’s nothing.
The two remaining spots therefore figure to be utilized to round out the backcourt. It seems likely that one, and only one, of the two remaining spots will be allocated to a developmental project, who could play meaningful minutes in the coming season only if he were to demonstrate the required ability and maturity.
So how is Pat Riley going to decide which such player will earn the spot?
Guards Kenny Hasbrouck and Patrick Beverley each turned some heads with their play during the Heat’s five summer league games in Las Vegas.
Kenny Hasbrouck was probably best player on the Heat summer roster. He is as NBA-ready as any who is going to make the final cut. At 6’3″, he is something of a shooter and scorer who will play primarily off the ball, so he could fill the backup shooting guard void. However, his defense during summer league play at times left something to be desired, not a characteristic that Riley looks upon too highly.
Patrick Beverley showed some excellent defensive skills during the summer games. After a strong but limited tenure of play overseas this past season, Beverley headed into the offseason as a favorable to crack the Heat roster, based largely on his defensive abilities. At 6’1″, the 22-year-old is short in stature, but has long, quick and strong arms, which he used to stifle his counterparts. His offense, though, wasn’t nearly as impressive. He shot just 8-for-23 from the field in his 25 minutes per game.
The summer performances, however, do not necessarily guarantee either a spot.
While the Heat must cut down to a 15-player regular season roster, the team can carry as many as 20 players on the roster during the preseason. Pat Riley can offer fully unguaranteed contracts to several backcourt options in order to further evaluate their performances over the course of team practices and preseason games. This is the approach he took with another one of the roster hopefuls, John Lucas III, last season. In 2009, Lucas played in four preseason games for the Heat, averaging 7.0 points, 2.3 assists and 1.3 rebounds in 12.5 minutes per game. On October 23, 2009, he was waived at no cost to the team.
Expect Riley to possibly bring in several developmental backcourt options to camp, including Beverley, Hasbrouck, Lucas and John Scheyer. All will likely be vying for one available spot; all, with the possible exception of one, will ultimately be waived. Whomever doesn’t make the cut will either be relegated to the D-League or look for a spot overseas, and hope to have a shot at making next season’s team.
That leaves one roster spot remaining for a veteran presence, and two primary names.
Jason Williams, a 35-year-old 6’1″ point guard, enjoyed the best shooting year of his pro career last year in Orlando, shooting 44.4% from the field and making 38.0% of his three-point attempts. He remained healthy throughout the season and performed well in his 18 starts when Jameer Nelson was sidelined after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery in December.
Keyon Dooling, a 30-year-old 6’3″ combo guard, might be the better overall fit given the team’s need at both guard positions. The Fort Lauderdale native would undoubtedly love to return home to play ball on as talented a roster as the Heat would appear to have. His three-point shooting has trended up recently; he shot 40.3 % from deep over the last two seasons. But his defensive abilities figure to be the true asset. He’s very good pressuring the ball as a point guard and his size makes him a strong defender at that position in the half-court.
For a list of all veteran options at each guard position, please click the Salary Cap tab above, and click through to FreeAgents.