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Miami Heat Training Camp Preview

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The Miami Heat will begin training camp on Tuesday, here’s everything you need to know.

Milwaukee Bucks v Miami Heat Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images

The Miami Heat are on the verge of beginning training camp for the 2018-19 season and we have the complete guide to get you ready. This year, the Heat will hold their camp at Florida Atlantic University.

But it all begins with media day. Here are the important dates:

  • Media Day: Monday, September 24
  • Training Camp Begins: Tuesday, September 25
  • Training Camp Public Scrimmage: Saturday September 29 (10AM)
  • First PreSeason Game: Sunday, September 30 (5PM @ San Antonio Spurs)

The Heat will head into camp with virtually the same roster the ended last season with, but that doesn’t mean there are not things to watch for. In fact, we’ve identified 3 very important things we are looking for during training camp and the preseason. Take a look here.

#1 Roster Decisions

The Heat will take the maximum 20 players into their training camp. The will have to trim that to 15 players by opening night, not including any two-way contracts.

Here are the players with guaranteed contracts for Miami, and thus a lock to make the final 15:

Dwyane Wade
Udonis Haslem
Kelly Olynyk
Dion Waiters
Josh Richardson
Goran Dragic
Hassan Whiteside
James Johnson
Justise Winslow
Tyler Johnson
Wayne Ellington
Bam Adebayo
Derrick Jones Jr.
Rodney McGruder

Here are the players that do not have a guaranteed contract:

Briante Weber
Jarnell Stokes
Marcus Lee
Yante Maten (two-way)
Duncan Robinson (two-way)
Malik Newman

Here’s what this really boils down to: the Heat have 14 players that will almost automatically make the roster because the contracts are 100% guaranteed. Maten and Robinson do not count against that number because they are two-way players. Based on how the Heat juggled those contracts last season, it seems likely they will stay two-way players for the entire season.

So between Newman, Lee, Stokes and Weber; the Heat will have the option to keep one of them on the opening lineup roster. The other three will likely be sent to the Sioux Falls Skyforce, an affiliate of the Miami Heat in the G-League. So the roster decision comes as to whether any of them are really worthy of that final spot or not. They Heat could choose to leave it open and possibly sign someone else with it.

If they do decide to sign one of them, I believe Briante Weber is the most likely. He is familiar with the team (as is Stokes), but also plays a position the Heat could be in need of and that is point guard. With Goran Dragic the only true point guard on the roster, Weber could be a good safety net for the Heat. But this will all come down to training camp and what the coaching staff thinks they need.

#2 Starting Lineups

This is an interesting debate that will happen, and maybe it will be solved by September 30 for us. There are three positions to which we know who will be the starters: Hassan Whiteside at center, Goran Dragic at point guard and Josh Richardson at small forward.

At power forward, the Heat have two good options: James Johnson and Kelly Olynyk. And this was a discussion last year, and it changed throughout the season. Last season it was James Johnson who ended the season starting, with Olynyk coming off the bench withe Adebayo in the power rotation. But everything could be up for a battle.

Secondly, Spoelstra will have to make a decision with shooting guard. Dion Waiters will not be ready for the start of the season. As was the case last year with Waiters out, Tyler Johnson started and Dwyane Wade came off the bench. However, this isn’t a mid-season addition where Wade was just going to help. And knowing this is his final season, does he get the nod to start, even if it is just for the first 5-6 minutes?

I think there are a lot of really good answers on both sides of this question. And maybe this isn’t even a debate, maybe Johnson is the clear starter...but I do think there is a debate and that Wade could be a valuable option in the starting lineup.

Also...why not? It’s his final season.

#3 Improvements

This really is the most exciting thing to watch for as the season begins. What players made a jump?

Did Bam Adebayo add something to his game that is going to make him even more playable? Did Hassan Whiteside improve his play in the post? What does Justise Winslow’s shot look like after the off-season? Is Josh Richardson ready to take the step to a near All-Star? Does Wayne Ellington have two golden arms?

Wait, I’m not sure that last one is possible. But you know what I am saying. Who made the jump? Who’s going to wow us when it comes to the improvements in their game?

My hope and my guess is that the two most prominent ones are Bam Adebayo and Josh Richardson. Richardson has been making a steady climb and it’s about time he takes a big jump. With a healthy off-season, what does he look like now?

And Bam...he has star potential. Let’s see what his offensive game can do when it comes time to showcase that.