Finally. It’s here! Sort of. The NBA preseason is a tease to basketball fans, as we watch our favorite players not really care and try not to get injured. But it’s basketball, right? Think of it as a countdown to the regular season, with every tick being a casually played exhibition game with players wearing NBA jerseys.
For the Miami Heat, the first tick is Oct. 7, Monday night, against the Atlanta Hawks.
What to watch the Miami Heat for: How will Michael Beasley be used? What is his spot in the rotation? How comfortable is he on offense and defense? All reports indicate that Beasley really wants to make things work in Miami. He has played for three different teams and has finally made the NBA-style-return-to-the-team-that-drafted-you move. This from Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel.
“Michael Beasley has been pushing himself, trying to make the best impression, practically affixing himself to Dwyane Wade’s side for mentorship. He wants to make this work, and he’s trying, really trying. This won’t fail for lack of effort, and apparently not for anything off the court, either. It’s a matter of making the not-so-easy adjustment to complementary player, something he never had been asked to do. I asked him about that Friday and he insists you won’t see him as a ball-stopper anymore. While the defensive limitations might be difficult to overcome, what he has to do is become more of a team player and try to make his mark on the boards. The question is whether he is a round peg trying to fit into a square hole, or whether all that talent can translate to mid-career versatility.”
What to watch the Atlanta Hawks for: Former Greg Poppovich assistant Mike Budenholzer takes over as the head coach for Hawks this season. Can he help Al Horford take the next step in being a dominant big man? Tim Duncan-level is probably too much to ask, LaMarcus Aldridge-level is more realistic.
Also, who starts at the 2 and 3 for the Hawks? Kyle Korver will likely play a Danny Greene role as the starting shooting guard with DeMarre Carroll, a defensive specialist, starting at small forward. Lou Williams is injured, but when he returns, the idea is to use him in the Manu role and have him come off the bench and possibly slide Korver over. It’s a versatile line up, and a team I’m excited to see when healthy.
Matchup to watch: Al Horford vs Chris Bosh is always an interesting matchup being that the two are so similar in size and athleticism. Bosh can actually get a rebound over Horford, and vice versa.
Horford, playing along side newly signed Paul Milsap, will start at center. That combo against Udonis Haslem and Bosh? Sign me up.
How to watch: Break out that Miami Heat jersey, it’s okay. You may stop watching YouTube clips of Ray Allen’s shot and LeBron dunking over Jason Terry. A new season is upon us, and it all “starts” tomorrow. Go forth with your head held high, it is a glorious, glorious day.
The game starts at 7:30 PM ET and will be shown on NBATV. Don’t get that channel? Upgrade, you so-called basketball fan, or go to a local sports bar. Actually, just go to the bar. It’s preseason, your going to want a few beers to make this exciting.