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Heat release Tyler Johnson, Shawn Jones and Larry Drew II

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The Miami Heat are facing a Monday deadline to reduce their roster to 15 players, and minimized the competition to two by releasing three hopefuls.

Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Heat had 19 players on their roster with only days to release four of them before the Monday, 5pm deadline. Thursday, they made some progress of selecting their final opening night roster by releasing Tyler Johnson, Shawn Jones and Larry Drew II.

Drew II was just signed this week, but it became clear the Heat's only intention was to sign him and release him in order to assign him to their D-League affiliate team the Sioux Falls Skyforce. That was the understanding. Such was not the case with the other two, who had hoped their skills would land them on the roster.

It became clear that Shawn Jones didn't have the prerequisite skills to be ready for a NBA team yet. He is an intensive player, but lacked much of an offensive touch to help this team. His release was not shocking.

Tyler Johnson was very hopeful coming into training camp. He impressed us and the team during the Summer League, but when the competition became more difficult in the preseason, Johnson was left at the end of the bench. When he was on the floor, he lacked the same type of flair he displayed in the Summer League. Johnson could make his way back to the team at some point. The Heat will likely extend to him an option to play for the Skyforce, but will be his choice to accept or decline. If he signs, he can still sign with a NBA team at any point.

That leaves the roster cutting process down to primarily two players - Khem Birch or Andre Dawkins. It seems likely the Heat will keep Shannon Brown and Justin Hamilton. Birch has been playing more in the preseason with the absence of Josh McRoberts, and that may be the reason the Heat keep him. Dawkins has the most consistent three-point shot on the roster, and is likely his strongest case to make the team.

The Heat travel to Memphis on Friday night for their final preseason game.