We dove into a new series evaluating the team by position. After checking out what Goran Dragic offers at point guard (READ IT HERE), and then placing Tyler Johnson as his backup, it’s time to move down the line and talk about shooting guard.
So let’s take a look at how this position shakes out for the Heat.
The Starter: Dion Waiters
Dion Waiters proved his worth last year as a valuable piece in the starting lineup. While he was making small cash last year on a make good deal, this year, the Heat have invested in him — $13 million this season. So he is the clear starter for the team.
At 25 years old, Waiters averaged 15.8 PPG for the Heat last year, although he only played 46 games for the team due to different injuries including an ankle sprain that had him miss the end of the season and a possible playoff push. Waiters shot close to 40% from deep, but only 42% from the field, a dip in efficiency from the previous shooting guard for 13 years.
Waiters does provide the Heat with isolation scoring, killer instinct and just an attitude the team needs. He can handle the ball well and is capable of calming the offense down. He has a ton of room to improve, and it seemed as though this off season he has putting his body to the test and getting better and more conditioned. Waiters will be the starting shooting guard and has a lot to offer this team.
The Reserve: Wayne Ellington
This is where things get a little tricky. We are going to list Wayne Ellington as the reserve SG but we also know that he may not be the first one to hop off the bench. Tyler Johnson will naturally be the combo guard that can slide her as well, but already talked about him as a point guard.
Ellington had a great year for the Heat last year. Once he got going from his season beginning injury, he was a lights out shooter for the Heat. I mean the guy had a career year with Miami, and so the team picked up his option for this year. Ellington provides one thing that provides much more: he can shoot. And he’s really good at it.
And when he gets going he can kill a team with his shooting, or he can space them out, or he can distract them as the watch him run around screens. He will again be valuable to the Heat’s second unit.
The Help: Josh Richardson, Matt Williams
We are going to list Richardson as a SG, but realize he also played plenty of SF last year...positionless basketball is confusing sometimes. Richardson did not have the sophomore year that was expected after his rookie campaign. He didn’t make the leap and jump we were hoping, but he is a solid contributor.
But unless he does take more steps forward or develop a specific skill, he will eventually get lost in the NBA shuffle. He’s a great defender, capable shooter and decent ball handler. It’s possible for Richardson to bypass Ellington in the depth chart, if he isn’t already, if he gets just a little bit better in every area.
Matt Williams will have to prove his worth in training camp to make the roster.
Strengths of the position
There’s definitely depth here. I mean anyone of these guys can start for this team and they would be OK. Waiters offers the most, Ellington is a specialist, and Richardson has potential.
Oh, and this isn’t official, but there’s a real possibility that Dwyane Wade could find himself helping out here at some point this season. Yeah, he can mention that.
Wade could reach a buyout with the Bulls in the next few months https://t.co/bLNd1UpIhJ— Hot Hot Hoops (@hothothoops) August 17, 2017
So depth is always a great thing to have. In addition to that, the versatility here is a good thing. What I mean by that is all of these guys offer different things. Waiters is a good iso player and ball handler. Ellington is clearly a 3-point specialist and floor spacer. And Richardson is a fierce defender and athletic slasher that is hopefully going to improve offensively. Each one could be called upon dependent on the opponent and need.
Weakness of the position
First is the obvious, last year each of these guys missed 20 games or more. Ellington played the most at 62 games, then 53 from Richardson and 46 from Waiters. That’s not very good. So health or staying healthy at least right now is a concern. One of those guys needs to stay around for 70 games to help this team have any consistency.
I’m sure there are other minor weaknesses here, but I think the Heat are pretty solid at this position. If the health is there, the depth is there and the versatility becomes evident. I like it.
Let us know what you think of the Heat’s shooting guard position.
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