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Reviewing last year's Heat preseason may yield clues on what to expect this year

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How Erik Spoelstra handled last year's preseason squad could reveal his thinking for the upcoming slate of games.

Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

A review of last year's preseason games may give an idea of what to expect this October.

The numbers from the eight preseason games in 2015 are:

Player Minutes FG% 3pt-FG% Rebounds Assists Blocks P/M Points
Shawne Williams 201 45% 43% 38 9 7 36 72
Chris Bosh 199 49% 28% 51 10 6 -5 132
Norris Cole 175 51% 36% 14 25 0 -25 60
Dwyane Wade 171 51% 43% 16 28 3 -5 97
Shabazz Napier 167 36% 21% 21 22 0 22 82
Luol Deng 153 43% 27% 21 12 1 -14 55
Mario Chalmers 152 52% 44% 18 12 1 -24 63
James Ennis 150 50% 40% 26 8 0 13 76
Danny Granger 114 38% 38% 8 11 1 4 45
Khem Birch 102 27% n/a 33 6 7 11 9
Chris Andersen 89 59% 0% 22 4 4 -20 27
Shannon Brown 89 42% 0% 11 2 2 -8 26
Shawn Jones 66 67% n/a 12 3 3 -7 12
Andre Dawkins 50 53% 58% 3 1 0 9 31
Udonis Haslem 48 50% 0% 9 2 2 -3 18
Tyler Johnson 36 46% 50% 4 2 0 6 17
Justin Hamilton 26 50% 100% 5 1 1 -7 7

Erik Spoelstra had the starters play significant minutes during last year's preseason games, resting them for only a single game. Notably James Ennis, Shabazz Napier and Danny Granger got extended playing time in the exhibition games. Larry Drew II, Reggie Williams and Chris Johnson were never given a chance to prove themselves, while Josh McRoberts was out nursing an injury.

Shabazz Napier struggled with his shooting during last summer league and preseason, with his only success coming from the free-throw line. Khem Birch was a one-dimensional player: an exceptional rebounder who was not a scoring threat. Andre Dawkins shot 58% from 3-point range, but didn't contribute with assists or an intensive defensive effort.

Overall the preseason games, while being only exhibitions, gave an idea of the player's potential capabilities and work ethic at the NBA level. This season, ten players are known qualities, with only a few unproven ones that have yet to earn their place in the NBA. After last season's injury-plagued fiasco, Wade, Bosh, and others over 29 years-old should see token floor action to allow the young newcomers playing experience, before the games really count.

As an aside in getting for the season's tipoff, a study from Stanford University revealed a simple trick to increase 3-point shooting percentage by 9%. It claimed extra sleeping time works miracles to sharpen hand-eye coordination, by reducing fatigue and releasing the body's own supply of natural HGH.

"Shooting accuracy during practice also improved: Free throw percentages increased by 9 percent and 3-point field goal percentage increased by 9.2 percent."

MIT article shows LeBron James sleeps 11 hours a day, explaining his exceptional durability. Preseason would be an excellent time to test if extended sleep would help the Heat boost their 3-point shooting percentages from the players they already have on the team.

For the ones who are not included in the final roster, the pay scale on D-League teams would test their commitment to professional basketball, The Miami Heat have no decent draft picks in the foreseeable future, so either D-League or player trades are their only means to balance the high college draft picks of the bottom-dwelling teams.

Hassan Whiteside and Tyler Johnson are two pickups who are examples of D-League possibilities. Larry Drew II, Khem Birch, and Shawn Jones moved on to play for the Sioux Falls Skyforce after getting cut once training camp ended, with Dawkins joining them after making the regular season roster but being released months later.

So stocking the Skyforce with possible future call-ups is a priority with the Heat as a major source of future talent. Whiteside, at 25, is ready to contribute immediately without having to go through the growing pains that kids barely out-of-college have to learn. While the training camp bodies may not be instant starters, they are the Heat's alternative to the draft picks they traded away.