The Miami Heat are not going to be playing in the NBA playoffs. In fact, we aren't even certain if they will own their first round pick or not. It's top 10 protected, but we won't find out if they draft in the top 10 until the May 19 lottery.
But that doesn't mean we can't look forward to the draft and look forward to what the Heat need to do to get back on track for next season. There will be plenty of time over the next two months to talk about who the Heat should go after, but here, we are looking at the specific areas of need for the roster moving forward.
Here's the Heat Roster:
|PG||Goran Dragic*, Mario Chalmers, Shabazz Napier|
|SG||Dwyane Wade*, Tyler Johnson**, Zoran Dragic|
|SF||Luol Deng*, James Ennis**||Henry Walker|
|PF||Chris Bosh, Josh McRoberts, Udonis Haslem||Michael Beasley***|
|C||Hassan Whiteside**, Chris Andersen|
*Can Opt-out, **Non-guaranteed, ***Team Option
It's really unclear what Pat Riley will do. I don't see Henry Walker back, and there isn't a lot of flexibility in the roster elsewhere. Michael Beasley is a fan favorite to many, and this may be the only place that will take him. Plenty of opt-outs available from the big names, but unlikely from Wade. Deng doesn't seem set to get more on the market than his contract, but could seek long term somewhere else.
All that said, here's how I break down the roster moving forward with an eye towards what they Heat should target in the draft.
Here's what they don't need: POINT GUARDS
With Mario Chalmers and Shabazz Napier both on the roster, and the expectation that Goran Dragic will also return next season, the Heat don't need another point guard. Mario Chalmers played plenty of time at shooting guard this season, but that needs to end. Dragic should be playing starters minutes, and Chalmers in a backup role. Who knows...maybe Shabazz makes a big step this offseason in his progress and makes Mario work for the time. But they don't need a fourth small guard.
What's not the priority: POWER ROTATION
This may seem odd, especially because of how the season unfolded, but the Heat have a great four player power rotation (PF-C). With Hassan Whiteside, Chris Andersen, Chris Bosh, and Josh McRoberts -- the Heat have a great start to a talented front court. Andersen's minutes will get smaller because of age, but Whiteside's should go up because of his growth. Also, Bosh is capable of playing center with McRoberts next to him.
This is all before we mention that Udonis Haslem will still be on the roster next year as a spot player. He may not be what he once was, but you know you can rely on him when called and that's important. That's 5 players up front that will be here next year. There's not much need to invest immediately in someone to try to get into that rotation.
What's the clear priority: WING SCORER
Here's what is uncertain...we don't know if Luol Deng is coming back. And beyond that, Dwyane Wade needs someone who can fill some of his time. James Ennis has a decent rookie campaign, and he may be a suitable backup for Deng next year, but Wade certainly needs someone.
The Heat clearly need to draft a player that can score the ball off the bench as a shooting guard or small forward. That might not be easy to find, but as the roster shapes up right now...that's the need.
As things progress, we here at Hot Hot Hoops will give you the prospects to keep an eye on and specific targets. We will also dive into what the Heat can do in the second round as well.
But the first step in moving forward is to address the needs right now. Miami won't be able to make any roster moves before the draft. This will be their first shot and starting something new.
So that's a 10,000 foot overview of the team. More to come soon...