Miami Heat Rotation and Roster Spots Up for Grabs
But, due in large part to two great free-agent pickups in Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis, this Heat team will possess even more depth.
Let's take a look at the Heat's new and improved rotation, while also trying to determine who will snag the last two remaining roster spots on the team.
The point guard rotation for the Heat is crystal-clear, with Mario Chalmers as the definite starter and Norris Cole as his backup.
Chalmers had arguably his best season as a pro in 2011-12, setting career bests in two areas the Heat needed him to: field goal percentage (44.8) and three-point percentage (38.8).
While the Heat would be more than pleased if Chalmers matched those percentages this season, they need even more for him to cut down on his turnovers (2.2 per game last season).
As for Cole, his rookie season was filled with ups and downs. He started off hot, highlighted by him scoring 20 points and coming up huge down the stretch against the Boston Celtics in just his second game.
But as the season went along, his deficiencies became clearer, such as his poor shooting and propensity to turn the ball over, and his role declined.
Still, at just 23 years old, Cole is very young and showed flashes in his rookie year of him being a solid-rotation player.
Shooting Guards and Small Forwards
The Heat's collection of players who can play either the 2 or 3 (or both) should be terrifying to the rest of the NBA.
LeBron put together an incredibly efficient campaign in 2011-12, scoring 27.2 points on 53.1 percent shooting from the field, while also dishing out 6.2 assists and grabbing 7.9 boards. Expect a similar and likely better performance out of him this year.
And for all the talk of Wade's downfall in the playoffs last year, he did finish with a top-five player efficiency rating for the fourth straight time in the regular season—Wade is still very much elite.
Shane Battier will once again have a significant role on the team, likely starting at the 3 or 4. The Heat just better hope they get the Battier from 2012 postseason instead of Battier from the 2011-12 regular season.
Next up is only the player with the most three-pointers made in NBA history, Ray Allen. Just thinking what Allen will do with the open room he will have for his three-point attempts this year should make Heat fans smile.
Still in the mix is Mike Miller, who the Heat hope can stay somewhat healthy and have confidence in his shot.
Power Forwards and Centers
Bosh playing center opens up plenty of possibilities for the Heat at the 4, including James (who has flourished there).
Someone who will once again see playing time at the 4 is fan-favorite Udonis Haslem. A key for Haslem this upcoming season will be his once-reliable jump shot. He shot a putrid 25.9 percent on field goals from 10-15 feet last season. However, with his rebounding skills (7.3 rebounds per game in 24.8 minutes per game), Haslem will always have a role on this team.
Also, expect to see newcomer Rashard Lewis join the front court at times. Lewis was horrific last season in Washington (9.37 player efficiency rating), but he has demonstrated an ability to knock down three-pointers in his career. Expect him to bounce back, to a degree.
Remaining Roster Spots
The Heat currently have two remaining roster spots for which Josh Harrellson, Jarvis Varnado, Mickell Gladness,Terrel Harris and Garrett Temple are fighting for.
It seems likely that one of those spots will go to Harrellson, who averaged 3.9 rebounds in 14.6 minutes per game for the New York Knicks last season. He would provide the Heat with more depth in the frontcourt and be able to spell Bosh at the 5.
As for the other spot, Terrel Harris just might be able to snag it. He is the only one of the group who played with the Heat last season, although he played sparingly.
He would likely have an even smaller role this season, but at least the Heat knows what they have in him.