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Position by Position status of the 2016-17 Miami Heat

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We break down the state of the current Miami Heat roster by each position.

Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

Believe it or not, the Miami Heat are only about two months from beginning training camp in preparation for the 2016-17 NBA season. This year will look a lot different than years past and that's because of the obvious -- Dwyane Wade will not be the starting shooting guard.

Here's a look at the roster.

Point Guard
Goran Dragic :: Josh Richardson

Shooting Guard
Tyler Johnson :: Dion Waiters :: Wayne Ellington

Small Forward
Justise Winslow :: Derrick Williams :: Luke Babbitt

Power Forward
Chris Bosh :: Josh McRoberts :: Udonis Haslem :: James Johnson

Center
Hassan Whiteside :: Willie Reed

That's 13 players with a guaranteed contract and Josh Richardson, who is a sure lock to make the roster. It leaves the below guys with partial guarantee contracts looking to make the last roster spot.

Trying to make the roster:
Stefan Jankovic :: Okaro White :: Rodney McGruder :: Briante Weber

So let's break down each position and how the Heat stand.

Point Guard
Goran Dragic :: Josh Richardson

Goran Dragic is the sure-fire starting point guard on this team. He's making nearly $16 million this season and the Heat will run on his engine. But there's two things to keep in mind here. 1) Josh Richardson began to see a lot of crunch minute time over Dragic at the end of the season and even playoffs. Richardson is a good player and is getting a lot better. But without Wade, Dragic will probably be needed a bit more offensively to create off the dribble.

Also, as much as this is not a coach's decision, the Heat need Dragic to play and showcase if they want him to be a valuable trade piece if they think he can be used to either acquire a top-tier talent like Russell Westbrook or at the very least create the necessary cap space to sign him. Dragic needs to have a great year for the Heat to succeed this season.

Richardson also needs time to get better. And he will likely see minutes next to Dragic as well. But with the log jam that is at shooting guard, it's hard to see too much time for Richardson at the two.

Shooting Guard
Tyler Johnson :: Dion Waiters :: Wayne Ellington

Here's where things get interesting. Tyler Johnson was just committed to a 4-year contract and in two season he will be making $18 million dollars. Ellington has a $6 million contract next season, where Waiters is at $2.9 million. The Heat are mostly invested in the development of Tyler Johnson. They are committed to him, and he will likely get a bulk of the minutes. But Waiters is the perfect off the bench piece for the Heat.

Waiters is a ball dominate guard and not a floor spacer, so he is not ideal to play next to Dragic and Hassan Whiteside. But, he can lead the second unit and I think that is where he will land. Meanwhile, Ellington is a three-point specialist. I think if Pat Riley could have signed Waiters like this a while back, Ellington would not be on the roster, but timing was the issue.

This really will be a battle in training camp -- maybe even with Josh Richardson looking to start at shooting guard. But this is how I see it playing out for a natural rotation.

Small Forward
Justise Winslow :: Derrick Williams :: Luke Babbitt

Pat Riley also said he is ready for Justise Winslow to start at small forward. And by the signings, they believe he is a small forward. Derrick Williams and Luke Babbitt don't really stand in his way. In fact, I think Babbit will be in street clothes many nights because Spo will likely shift even some of his shooting guards to SF as he moves Winslow to PF in some lineups.

This is the year for Winslow to take a step. Last year he was a role player, a rebounder, a hustler. This year, he needs to show he can create, and he can be a threat. And if he hasn't improved his jump shot this offseason, then Miami will be in trouble. They are relying on his growth to advance the team. We have to wait and see how much better he is.

Power Forward
Chris Bosh :: Josh McRoberts :: Udonis Haslem :: James Johnson

And then there's the question mark...? Does Chris Bosh play this season? That would be nice to know. Here's the two scenarios.

1) Chris Bosh plays and takes starter minutes and the Heat back him up with Josh McRoberts. Udonis Haslem and James Johnson are really only used sparingly because those two can hold down that rotation with Bosh also as the backu center. When Bosh moves there, either Josh is in or Heat go small and move Winslow or Williams up to PF.

2) Bosh doesn't play. Josh McRoberts is our starting PF? OK. This changes the team greatly, and makes us a lot worse really. With this a reality, Spo gets real creative with his lineups and now, you do see James Johnson in the lineup rotation. Haslem stays as need-only use.

I prefer option 1 and let's see what the Heat can do.

Center
Hassan Whiteside :: Willie Reed

Mr. $98 million is now the center of attention. If Chris Bosh plays, don't expect to see Willie Reed regularly. If he doesn't play, then Reed will be utilized behind Whiteside. But this year, we are looking at 32-35 minutes per game for Hassan and him making a big stride forward.

If he hits his free throws at 70% consistently and expands his offensive game like he has shown the ability to -- then we may be looking at an All-Star. Who knows? If he gets in foul trouble or we learn he isn't that good without Dwyane Wade, then we are in trouble.

:: :: :: :: ::

We are in for an interesting season!