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What happens to McGruder when everyone is healthy?

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That’s a really good question and one we don’t have an answer for, but that won’t stop us from trying.

Miami Heat v Washington Wizards Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images

The Miami Heat are going to likely have a problem on their hands soon. A good problem at that, but still a problem.

And that is: what happens to Rodney McGruder when everyone is healthy?

McGruder has started all three games so far for the Miami Heat this season at small forward and has done a fantastic job. His tenacity on defense, intelligence and hustle have been on display. Oh, he’s been scoring. He’s made himself someone who needs to be on the court for the team.

McGruder can play shooting guard and small forward for Miami. And with the looming returns of Justise Winslow and Wayne Ellington, what’s going to happen to McGruder? Because I will tell you this: there are not enough minutes in those spots to play him as well as Winslow, Ellington, Tyler Johnson, Dwyane Wade and Josh Richardson. And that’s before you even talk about Dion Waiters.

Now, there is a real possibility that the Heat will hardly ever be 100% healthy with all of those players and so rotating someone in and out may not be hard to do. But come Wednesday, this may be an issue.

The thought is that Justise Winslow is the starting small forward...but that may not be the case. Richardson has moved to shooting guard where he should be, and Winslow was just invested in with $39 million. Behind each of them are Ellington and Tyler Johnson (let’s not talk about Tyler’s contract) and then there’s also that guy who is on his farewell tour.

Here’s a sample breakdown of a minute distribution when healthy, sans Waiters:

    Dragic (31), Johnson (9), Wade (8)
    Richardson (29), Ellington (16), Johnson (9), Wade (2)
    Winslow (26), McGruder (8), Richardson (6)
    J Johnson (28), Olynyk (20)
    Whiteside (30), Adebayo (18)

That’s purely a guess, but it’s based on previous rotations and maximizing who the Heat value on the court.

Here’s the reality: Rodney McGruder’s role will naturally decrease to some spot minutes when everyone is healthy. In this example he seems 8 minutes...and that’s with Wade only getting 10. Wade could easily demand his 8 minutes to play 18 for the game and Rodney doesn’t see the court.

That’s crazy, right?

Rodney McGruder is averaging 15.7 PPG and 7 RPG in 35 MPG so far this season and he could be out of the rotation. Do you notice who else leaves the rotation? Derrick Jones Jr. He’s been playing great as well. And yes, 28 minutes will be a lot for Johnson returning from surgery so that won’t come all at once, but you can see the issues here.

The Heat are deep. Maybe a little too deep.

This may be for another article, but you can see how trading Tyler Johnson or Dion Waiters would be appealing for the Heat at this point, knowing McGruder is there ready to take their minutes.

And they trust him, and he’s getting better.

Unless his production sky rockets or his teammates next to him plummet, there is going to be a battle and fight for these win minutes. And unfortunately, as good as he has been, McGruder may be the one out.


Who deserves more playing time?

This poll is closed

  • 82%
    Rodney McGruder
    (484 votes)
  • 15%
    Justise Winslow
    (92 votes)
  • 1%
    Tyler Johnson
    (8 votes)
584 votes total Vote Now