Is the Miami Heat bench a liability in the long term?

Elsa

What was considered to be a deep bench this season has instead been inconsistent during this year's postseason run.

When you really think about it first glance, there really shouldn't be much to be concerned about when you look at the bigger picture pertaining to the Miami Heat.

Even after a humbling 104-90 Game 3 defeat at the hands of the Brooklyn Nets, most in Heat Nation will probably admit to feeling comfortable knowing that the odds of Miami bouncing back in Game 4 and grabbing full control of this series is more likely than not. But there is a larger concern that has me worried as the Heat continues their trek further and further into this postseason.

Their bench.

Now I know the first narratives Heat fans will grab onto and defend will be, "Ray Allen has played well for the most of these seven games" and "Birdman's energy is still there". But do you get the feeling that this year's rotation feels a tad empty? Maybe it's just my personal perception. Obviously some of that can be traced to the absence of last summer's amnesty casualty and playoff hero Mike Miller but even most of the same cast of characters are there. Even ESPN's Bill Simmons alluded to that during halftime of Game 3 when he said that Miami used to comfortably go eight, nine, even 10 deep into their rotation in previous title runs and now in his opinion they are only comfortably strong in seven.

While Simmons commonly tends to grab for any and all types of narratives strictly for conversation or "controversy", he only publicly expressed a concern I've long noticed for weeks. Can we all agree that while Shane Battier can, on moments notice be effective from behind the arc, he really hasn't played well for much of this series. Michael Beasley who was once thought to be the spark of the bench Heat fans were hoping to see this season and into the postseason has barely touched the court. Greg Oden doesn't seem to be even part of the playoff rotation it seems and guys like Udonis Haslem and James Jones thus far have not been effective nor seen any consistent minutes through seven postseason contests.

Now to be fair, Miami isn't a team that necessarily relies on their bench to play at a high level. Obviously when you have guys named LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh that heavy load is already taken and accounted for. But one of the more underrated reasons Miami were able to end the last two seasons on top of the mountain was because of guys like Shane Battier torching the Oklahoma City Thunder from three throughout the 2012 NBA Finals. Who can forget Mike Miller and his unforgettable Game 5 in those same Finals? Not to mention Ray Allen's Game 6 heroics in the '13 Finals. These were guys creating and painting beautiful Heat memories in big moments on the biggest stage.

My hope is Erik Spoelstra continues to consider guys like Beasley, guys like James Jones who have proven in moments they can provide a spark when Miami needs it the most. Even if Miami does indeed get to the Conference Finals and hopefully beyond, those guys are going to be needed and hopefully are ready when their name is called. Teams like the Los Angeles Clippers and most notably, the San Antonio Spurs are praised at length for their depth and that can potentially be used as an equalizer against this Miami team.

While the Heat have survived the last two seasons, let's hope another unsung hero steps up to the plate when needed most, if only the opportunity is given.

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