The newest invitee to Miami Heat training camp, Corey Hawkins, is built remarkably similar to Mario Chalmers at 6'1" and 195 pounds. The difference lies in their basketball abilities: Hawkins specialty is scoring (he was his conference's scoring champion for two out of the last three years with the University of California, Davis), while Chalmers strong suit is defense where he was co-defensive player of the year in college in 2006-07.
With eight games on their preseason schedule, the Heat will get a chance to evaluate their younger players on what they can and cannot do. Preseason is no place for seasoned veterans to get hurt with unnecessary contact or get fatigued. I would look for major minutes by the younger, unproven players: Justise Winslow, Josh Richardson, Corey Hawkins, Keith Benson, along with giving playing time to second-year players James Ennis and Tyler Johnson to further develop their ball-handling and shooting skills.
Since European and other overseas clubs passed on signing Hawkins and Benson to contracts, we know the likelihood of them making the squad would be a major surprise. Previous players associated with the Heat have moved on to bigger paydays than the D-League's maximum of $25,000 for a season.
From last season's Sioux Falls Skyforce team Khem Birch signed on with a Turkish pro team, Markieth Cummings a Polish pro team, Andre Dawkins an Italian pro team, Scotty Hopson a Spanish pro team, Larry Drew II a French pro team, Fuquan Edwin an Israeli pro team, and Shawn Jones a Spanish pro team.
Miami Heat Summer League alumni Zoran Dragic was traded to the Boston Celtics, subsequently released, and later signed with a Russian pro team, Greg Olaseni joined a German pro team, Greg Tuttle a German pro team, Greg Whittington has partially guaranteed offers from other NBA teams, and Tyler Kalinoski a French pro team.
Many of the players that the coaches are familiar with have gone elsewhere, so the staff has to reconstruct the varsity and D-League teams with unfamiliar faces. The Skyforce's open tryout dates have yet to be announced.
Incidentally, the Indiana Pacers have bought out the last remaining independent D-League team, the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, leaving all the NBDL teams with one-to-one ties with NBA teams when the deal is finalized. The Toronto Raptors will field their initial NBDL team, Raptors 905, in November, becoming the 19th entry in the league. The expansion draft for team players was held on August 20, 2015.
With D-League players being paid by the NBDL itself -- not the teams -- this leaves the Heat needing to keep track of all the players in the D-League, when an emergency call-up is needed in case of injuries or trades, because most of the NBDL players are technically free agents available to anyone. The Heat swiped Hassan Whiteside from the Iowa Energy, not its own Skyforce team.
How many minutes per game should the training camp hopefuls play: 10, 15, 20? The staff will strike a balance between giving the starters scrimmage time and assessing the reserves call-up potential during the season. Knowing Riley's trading prowess, he might even be intrigued enough by a talented young fellow for a salary dump during the season.
Of course, the Heat will hold their main practice sessions out of the public eye, so other teams won't know their playbook. Preseason games will give coaches the opportunity to scout expendable bodies on other teams as well to recruit for their Sioux Falls affiliate. Finding a reserve shot-blocker or 3-point dead-eye if one is needed after the first month of season would be a satisfactory alternative to winning the draft lottery.
There is always Michael Beasley lurking in the shadows for a farewell tour with the Miami Heat.