Miami Heat: What happens to the starting lineup in Dion Waiters’ absence?

CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 15: Dion Waiters /

With Miami Heat training camp starting next week, the question of who will start in the place of an ailing Dion Waiters, is fresh on everyone’s mind.

It’s been a mostly quiet offseason for the Miami Heat, leaving fans restless for almost the entirety of the summer.

However, with the team’s training camp set to begin on Tuesday, September 25, the start of the 2018-19 NBA season finally really is right around the corner.

And thanks to Dwyane Wade officially re-signing with the organization on a one-year deal, for his last ever hurrah, the Heat can move forward into preseason confidently, without any loose ends to tie up.

That doesn’t mean there aren’t still questions to be answered though.

For starters, Miami will have to figure out who they want to hang onto, once training camp wraps up.

While they have a 20-man roster heading into late September, only 15 will make the team come October. And with 14 of those 20 already signed to guaranteed contracts, the Heat will essentially be selecting between Marcus Lee, Malik Newman, Jarnell Stokes and Briante Weber (as Yante Maten and Duncan Robinson have already been given two-way deals).

Another major topic floating around Heat Nation is what the ball club’s starting lineup will look like, given it was just announced that Dion Waiters won’t be available at the start of this upcoming year.

Will Tyler Johnson continue to fill the role of a starter, or is Wade going to claim back his rightful spot in the starting five?

It seems like one choice is the clear winner.

Although last season, Wade came off the bench after he was traded back to Miami, it would make more sense to have the veteran lead the charge now instead.

At least until Waiters is healthy again.

For one, despite saying he doesn’t want a farewell tour, it is still the superstar’s last year in the league. So it’s safe to say just about everyone would rather see him play more minutes than he had the opportunity to last year.

It’s also no secret that Johnson thrived as a sixth man.

The guard averaged 13.7 points over 73 games off the bench, on 43.3 percent shooting from the field and 37.2 percent shooting from downtown in 2016-17, alongside 4.0 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.2 steals.

Numbers that decreased to 11.7 points, 3.4 rebounds and 2.3 assists per contest last season, having started 39 out of 72 matchups.

Johnson has previously stated that he prefers leading the second unit (especially with James Johnson), as it usually takes him a bit of time to warm up and get in the groove of things.

So between Johnson’s preference and Wade being well, Wade… it appears as though it would be in the team’s best interest to slot the 36-year-old in for Waiters.

(And beyond?)

Next. Miami Heat: Which players are the most valuable trade pieces?. dark

Another year of Miami Heat Basketball is about to tip off.