After cutting ties with guard Kenny Hasbrouck and forward Shavlik Randolph yesterday, the Heat's roster sits at 16 players. They have until Monday to get it down to 15 and it seems that there are three guys competing for two spots. The three guys are Patrick Beverley, Da'Sean Butler and center Jamaal Magloire.
Beverely has been playing hard for Miami all summer and has impressed the coaches with his hustle on defense, which is absolutely the way to win over this staff. He's still very young and his offensive game can be worked on, but defense is one of those things that's very hard to learn if you don't have a natural ability, which he does.
Magloire has been a big part of the Heat since arriving in Miami back in 2008. He hasn't made a big difference on the court but has been a vocal leader on the bench and in the locker room. However, the team personnel has changed a bit and now the question is whether or not the Heat can afford to keep him around if he isn't going to contribute during games.
Rookie Dexter Pittman is definitely going to make the team and could be a major part of the future of the franchise. The Heat also have centers Joel Anthony and Zydrunas Ilgauskas, both of whom are ahead of Magloire on the depth chart and are expected to be regular contributors.
Then there is rookie Da'Sean Butler, who has yet to play for Miami because he's been rehabbing from tearing his left ACL during the Final Four last March. The ceiling is very high on this kid, and if not for his injury he would've definitely been a 1st round pick. But he wasn't, and instead there are a lot of people saying that Pat Riley got the steal of the draft when he took Butler with the 42nd overall pick.
The Heat is deep enough that they can afford to wait on Butler and allow him to fully recover. Once he is cleared to play, they can begin working him back into game shape and see how well he can do while playing against NBA caliber opposition.
I'm really excited to see what this guy can do when he's ready to go, and as a rookie he couldn't be in a better situation to grow as a player. The experience he'll get practicing with and learning from some of the best players in the NBA on a daily basis is invaluable. Miami also has one of the best coaching staffs in the league, and having Pat Riley in the front office and attending practices wont hurt either.
The more I think about it, the more I'm leaning towards the Heat hanging on to the two youngsters. If Miami can develop them over the course of their contracts (each signed a 2-year deal this summer), how much brighter does the future of the team look? Yeah it sucks that they'd have to cut loose Jamaal Magloire but he was in line to be inactive for most or all the games.
We wont have to wait very long to find out what direction Pat Riley and Erik Spoelstra plan on going with the roster. Miami has to get from 16 players to 15 by Monday, one day before the season opener in Boston. Will they even wait that long? One thing is for sure...while we obviously wont get to see Da'Sean Butler yet, we will get to see Pat Beverely make his final push to make this team during the Heat's final two preseason games.