The Miami Heat open up training camp and media day this weekend! That means the season is just around the corner. So as we prepare to head into training camp, we take a look at the five most intriguing things that should be decided at the end of it.
Make sure you chime in on the comments below and let us know what you are looking for!
1. Point Guard rotation
We were all pretty excited when the Heat drafted Shabazz Napier. He's a young, but balanced point guard who knows how to create, score, and make the big shot. A two-time NCAA champion and also the Final Four MVP last year. But things got a little murky when the Heat decided to retain Mario Chalmers. See, Norris Cole is already here under a great contract for his worth, and Chalmers has been the starter for the past three years.
Now, there's going to be a battle, but not likely who starts or comes off the bench. That seems settled, it's going to be Chalmers starting and Norris Cole coming off the bench. But the battle is all going to come from Shabazz Napier. If Napier can impress the coaching staff enough that he deserves to play, then it's going to cause some necessary changes to the rotation.
Most likely that means that Chalmers would play more time at the shooting guard position behind Wade, which he did some last year, to allow Napier some minutes. This battle in training camp will have to come from Napier being very impressive, more so than he was in the Summer League. These three are the only point guards on the roster.
2. D-Wade's backup
We have some choices here and none of them are a clear cut favorite. Every position on the roster is a solid 2 players deep, and some are three deep. However, Wade's backup at shooting guard is pretty wide open. Here are the options: Shannon Brown, Reggie Williams, Tyler Johnson, Andre Dawkins or as mentioned above, Mario Chalmers.
All of them, other than Chalmers, are coming into camp without a fully guaranteed deal. So that means everyone is going to be playing their heart out for a roster spot. Of the four, Dawkins seems the very least likely to be Wade's backup because he is simply and merely a shooter. That doesn't mean he won't make the roster, but he won't make it to be in the rotation (James Jones style). Brown, Williams and Johnson all offer different things, and we've covered them before here at HHH.
I think this is probably the most intriguing aspect of training camp for the Heat. Shannon Brown brings the flash, Tyler Johnson brings a youthful athleticism and drive, and Williams is just a individual scorer. Any of these guys could be Wade's backup, it all depends on what Spoelstra thinks is the best fit in view of how he wants to do his rotation now with only two All-Stars.
3. The new system
We aren't going to see this until we get to the Heat: Red, White and Pink Scrimmage on October 1 at the AmericanAirlines Arena. But, we have to believe with the different roster and coaching staff that there will be a different approach to how this team plays. It probably means less gambling on defense, and more ball movement on offense. But we don't know what that looks like. It will be intriguing to see how the Heat play without LeBron James.
4. Young guns
We are looking forward to James Ennis finally getting his chance with the Heat. He spent last year overseas and played really well, and he played really well in the Summer League. Ennis will have to bypass some veterans to get playing time, so the intriguing part is, how good can he be? Does Ennis have the maturity and the consistency to get time in Spoelstra's rotation? Training camp will give him a good idea how he wants to use Ennis.
But then there are also Justin Hamilton, who is a third rotation power player on the roster. How much has he improved and will he have the chance to play? We have Tyler Johnson who isn't a lock to make the roster, but also impressed during the Summer League. The young guns will need to bring a change of pace and something special to the court to crack the rotation.
5. Who's making the roster?
These are for sure:
Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Mario Chalmers, Udonis Haslem, Josh McRoberts, Luol Deng, Norris Cole, Danny Granger, Chris Andersen, Shabazz Napier
These are likely:
Shawne Williams, Justin Hamilton, James Ennis
That leaves 2 open roster spots for the remaining:
Shannon Brown, Reggie Williams, Tyler Johnson, Andre Dawkins, Shawn Jones, Khem Birch...and the Heat still have one roster spot they can offer for training camp before it opens.
Obviously this will take time. All these players will stay through most of training camp, and the Heat will slowly release a few players before the end of the preseason. And then they must trim the roster to 15 by opening night. One of those spots needs and likely will go to a shooting guard. After that, it seems like it could be who impresses the most.
Let us know what you are looking forward to in the comments below.