Knowing that they have until opening day, which is sneaking up on us at a rapid speed, the Miami Heat made two more hedge-players casualties of the system that requires them to only carry 15 players on the active roster.
Power forward Jarvis Varnado and small forward Rodney Carney are the latest victims, now leaving only three roster hopefuls to compete for two spots.
Neither Varnado or Carney stood much of a chance in making the team, but Carney did have his moments in shooting 38 percent from beyond the arc, while also converting seven points and two rebounds in 14 minutes per game. However, he was on the wrong roster. Miami is filled to the brim with wing players that are already part of the rotation and Carney’s chances of making the team coming in were slim-to-none.
Still, it was a solid debut back in the United States for Carney, who missed all of the 2011-’12 NBA season as a free agent. He spent time in China with the Liaoning Dinosaurs, instead.
Varnado failed to play in a preseason game. The famed shot-blocker from Mississippi State was a former draft pick of Miami’s who finally received a chance to play his way on the team. However, an injury kept him out, although he still found his way pass the first week of cuts that included Mickell Gladness and Robert Dozier getting waived.
When it came to Varnado, he was too much Joel Anthony, and the Heat already have enough of those.
There are two roster spots remaining on this team and three players looking to fill those spots. Center Josh Harrellson may already have a spot because of his girth and perimeter shooting ability, as well as the fact that Dexter Pittman has continued to show little signs of improvement despite shedding a ton of weight. Harrellson has only shot 27 percent from beyond the arc thus far, but his size alone is enough to warrant him a spot.
The real battle comes down between newcomer and journeyman Garrett Temple and a familiar face in Terrel Harris, who was a member of last year’s championship team. Although Harris was believed to have a spot coming into training camp, Temple has been playing exceptionally and has clearly shown that he is more than capable of being a combo-guard, something that Harris has had trouble adjusting to.
In six games, Temple is averaging 4.5 points, 2.7 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.8 turnovers per in 21 minutes worth of playing time. Harris, who has played in seven games and started in one, is averaging 6 points, 2 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.9 turnovers in 15 minutes per. Temple also holds a lead in three-point percentage–his 30 percent to Harris’ 20 percent.
While Temple was believed to have an edge, the return of a healthy Mario Chalmers could push him out of the competition. Temple has had the advantage over Harris in minutes because of this, but his chances have now taken a hit with Mario returning and already appearing to be in rare form following his debut against Washington where he recorded eight points, five assists, three rebounds and one turnover, while converting 2-of-3 from beyond the arc.
There is still room for a third point guard, however, and Temple has definitively been the better floor general between him and Harris.
Needless to say, Friday night’s contest against the New Orleans Hornets is going to bear a lot of significance to these three.