The Miami Heat are quickly approaching training camp and before you know it, they will be playing in the preseason. That’s why we are taking a closer look at the roster and doing it position-by-position.
Yesterday, we looked at the point guard position led by Goran Dragic. Click here to read about it.
Today, it’s the shooting guard position.
Well, you could say this is going to be the toughest replacement in the history of the Miami Heat. It’s undeniably true that there is no way the Miami Heat will be able to replace or replicate the leadership and stability that was forged in the 13 years that Dwyane Wade graced this position. But, it’s not the end of the world.
Wade is gone, yes. It hurt, and it will sting a little more when you actually see him play for the Chicago Bulls. But the Heat, unlike any other position on the roster, have multiple directions they could go here.
The sum everything up, this position will be a main focus and battle in training camp, and may not even have itself sorted out before the season starts.
Like I said, there are options here. The Heat are bringing back $50 million contract Tyler Johnson who is capable of playing both guard positions as well as second year guard Josh Richardson who is also capable of playing both positions.
After that, the Heat signed Wayne Ellington — a floor spacer. They also brought in on a friendly contract, the castoff, Dion Waiters. And in addition to those four players, the Heat signed Rodney McGruder during his stint in the NBA Summer League.
This is where it gets interesting. It seems like it could be a three-way battle between Josh Richardson, Tyler Johnson and Dion Waiters. There are reasons for all, and let’s explore them.
Josh Richardson: He has the most upside. The kid can fly to the rim, flat out play defense and his touch from beyond the arc exploded in the second half of the season. Alongside Goran Dragic, Richardson would provide length, defensive tenacity and shooting.,
Tyler Johnson: The Heat just invested $50 million over 4 years to this guy. That has to be of some value. Johnson is a good offensive player. He can get to the rim, and shoot well from anywhere. He has a motor and that will be valuable playing more minutes. He is a bit undersized and that is why he is also included in our point guard preview as a possible back-up to Dragic.
Dion Waiters: A clever scorer and perfect build/size for a NBA shooting guard. Waiters would take pressure off of the offense when it has Justise Winslow and Hassan Whiteside — two defensive minded players in the starting lineup. Waiters has plenty of flaws, but he can score on his own.
I think the job goes to Josh Richardson. However, he is hurt and won’t be allowed to fight for that during training camp, so expect Tyler Johnson to start the season at shooting guard. I believe Waiters will still be viewed as a valuable asset off the bench.
Clearly we just made a case for three guys to start, so too of them are going to be coming off the bench — and all 3 of those guys will be in the rotation. So the Heat actually have good depth at the shooting guard position. We put this in yesterday’s preview, but here is the proposed depth chart for the guard positions.
PG — Goran Dragic, Tyler Johnson, Beno Udrih
SG — Josh Richardson, Dion Waiters, Wayne Ellington
Notice who’s missing? Well besides Dwyane Wade, guys we have to get over that...it’s Rodney McGruder. The Heat have run out of roster room. McGruder is not going to make this roster unless a trade is made as someone like Luke Babbit is moved. He should be playing for the NBDL Sioux Falls Skyforce again next season with the Heat keeping a close eye on him.
The Grade — C+
That’s a hard one to grade because the Heat have decent depth at the position, however, they don’t have a premier talent, or even a guard who will place in the to half of starting shooting guards in scoring.
So, that should be expected. They lost an A- player in Dwyane Wade, and have replaced him with some guys who just didn’t do what he did. All in all, you should be excited about the talent at the shooting guard position, just know it will come with its own pains.
Come back tomorrow and see our preview for the small forward position.