Heat vs. Thunder: Miami Role Players Who Deserve Roster Spot Next Year

Ben ChodosCorrespondent IIJune 22, 2012

MIAMI, FL - JUNE 21:  Shane Battier #31 of the Miami Heat reacts after he made a 3-point basket in the second half against Kevin Durant #35 of the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game Five of the 2012 NBA Finals on June 21, 2012 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The Miami Heat followed LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh to an NBA championship, but a few role players earned a stop on next year’s team with key performances in the playoffs.

Team president Pat Riley has taken flack in the past for not putting enough talent around the Big Three, but the supporting cast stepped up and delivered this postseason.

Here are the three role players most deserving of place on the team in 2013.

Shane Battier

Battier averaged just 4.8 points in the regular season, but delivered two consecutive 17-point performances in the first two games of the NBA Finals. He finished the series with an average of 11.6 points per game.

The small forward signed a three-year deal with the Heat, and after his performance in the finals, the team will certainly hold on to him this summer. 

Battier was brought to Miami for his defense. He played tough and smart on that end of the floor all year long. 

But in the finals, his three-point shooting was spectacular. He shot just 33.9 percent from distance in the regular season, but made 57.7 percent of his attempts against the Oklahoma City Thunder. 

Battier delivered when the team needed him most, and that is the type of role player every team covets.

Mario Chalmers 

Next to the Big Three, Chalmers is the best player on the Heat. 

As ESPN’s Tom Haberstroh notes, Chalmers takes more criticism from the team’s stars than any other player. He makes his fair share of mistakes, but also comes through in the biggest moments.

Chalmers put on an incredible 25-point performance in Game 4, in which he scored the team’s final five points. 

The young point guard has had one 20-plus point outing in the last three playoff series.

He has solidified a place both on the team, and in the starting lineup for next season.

Mike Miller

Miller was almost nonexistent up until Game 5 of the finals, but he then flashed the shooting ability that convinced the Heat to sign him to a five-year deal in 2010.

The sharpshooter hit seven of his eight three-point attempts and finished the game with 23 points.

Miller averaged just 6.1 points this season and 5.6 points last season with the Heat, the two lowest marks of his career. Game 5 was the only time this season that he scored more than 20 points. 

But he has struggled with injuries all season long and played in just 39 games. His lack of mobility was apparent, even as he was draining shots.

If he can get healthy, he proved that he can make a valuable contribution to the team.