With a couple of open roster spots last summer, the Miami Heat signed two boom-0r-bust projects. The idea was that the team was deep enough to make another championship run, and could afford to gamble on spots 14 and 15.
Objectively and seemingly, also yes. Since the Heat aren’t rushing to re-sign Michael Beasley or Greg Oden.
But Pat Riley learned from his mistake, and that’s why the Heat still have three open roster spots. Yes, Beasley and Oden are still in play, but as the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson reported, so is Chris Douglas-Roberts. So is Chris Singleton. So is, really, every available free agent from Jordan Crawford to Greg Stiemsma to a handful of summer leaguers.
Heat fans are wondering who will fill out the rest of the roster and connecting the dots isn’t easy. It’s practically impossible.
Miami’s rotation looks like:
Young Bench Guys Who Could Be Rotation Guys:
Immediately, you can see that the Heat need some help at shooting guard. Dwyane Wade’s “knees” are a liability wrapped in an enigma wrapped in three layers of knee sleeve.
They can play a two point guard lineup, but do we really feel comfortable with them even playing a one point guard lineup?
If this is roulette, I would bet my money on a color and not a number. My money is on the Heat adding a shooting guard, but I won’t bet on who.
Back to Crawford.
Crawford is probably the most skilled player left, but his immaturity is working him out of the league. He’s apparently matured this past year, but that hardly matters if Riley doesn’t think so. Crawford is a gamble, and Riley won’t want to gamble away these final roster spots again.
Riles could also explore signing The Running Joke, Andray Blatche, but even the Nets don’t want to pay him.
Then you have the most solid player available, Shawn Marion. Why a team hasn’t signed him, I’m not sure. But I doubt he would lace ‘em up for the $1.4 million veteran minimum (the only contract Miami can offer at this point).
So now we are looking at a bargain bin of Singleton (bust) MarShon Brooks (Lakers garbage), Jordan Hamilton (potential bust), Francisco Garcia (would potentially yell Mario Chalmers into Crazy Town), Ronnie Brewer (quickly becoming the new NBA Slut), Jerryd Bayless and James Anderson (both of whom wouldn’t be bad, actually). Oh, and CDR, who is much less spectacular than his Nickelodeon doppelganger.
Miami can also use an addition to the power rotation. Now we are picking from Emeka OfafOW, Elton Brand (that ship sailed), Nazr Mohammed (would potentially be booed in his first game in a Heat uniform), Charlie Villanueva (I can’t even), Ryan Hollins (might get sued for imposing on Anthony Davis’ uni-brow trademark), Byron Mullins (same) and GREG STIEMSMA (regular readers of the blog/listeners of the podcast know this is my dream).
But are any of those guys any better than Justin Hamilton or Udonis Haslem? Okafor is, but he has injury concerns. If you are the Heat, would you get rid of an Oden situation you are familiar with to gamble on an Okafor situation you are completely new to? Probably not.
So here is my solution.
Go the safe route and try to convince Marion to sign for the minimum. Once that doesn’t work, move on to CDR, Stiemsma and Beasley.
Douglas-Roberts gives Miami a Hustle Guy, a Weird Guy and a potential Random Ass 18-Point Game Guy.
Stiemsma gives the Heat a European Guy and a Guy That Lives For Defense And Putbacks Guy.
Since none of those guys can score, adding Beasley is the Get Us Six Points Really Quick Guy.
Those three also cover the main positions of need. But that’s just my solution. Riley is going to take everything—maybe even this blog post—into consideration before filling out his roster.
Truth is, Riley has been playing a different game than his counterpart GM’s. With LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, he was more like a college coach recruiting talent. Now, he is in the GM game, the asset acquisition and management game.
So it begs the question, how much value do Beasley, Oden and others have? Miami needs not to be looking for the next Rashard Lewis, but the next Mirza Teletovic.
But finding assets in the bargain bin can be a role of the dice. He has to, because he can’t afford to bust on these spots two summers in a row. But, you know what they say: When you gamble for a living, you usually end up breaking even.