Over the past three weeks, the Miami Heat continue to sit players and add victories.
So with the top overall seed secured, Erik Spoelstra fields more and more questions about whether fill-in players like Mike Miller have earned postseason roles.
Well, it’s a good question. Here’s my answer to it: They all have. All of them have played into a playoff spot. Is it necessarily a direct rotation spot? That changes from series to series. That’s one thing we’ve learned in two years, of going all the way to the end.
In fact, nine players started at least one game—and, as Spoelstra noted, one of those was Dexter Pittman in Game 3 in the second round against the Indiana Pacers, even if that start lasted less than four minutes.
"Everyone is live and active, and that's how we view it," Spoelstra promised. "Their number will be called."
But when, where, why and how?
And what role has their recent play, well, played in that discussion?
First, assume that LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Shane Battier, Ray Allen and Mario Chalmers are locks for consistent work—and that, if recent history is any indication, their court time will increase from regular-season levels.
Then assume that project Jarvis Varnado and veteran Juwan Howard will play only in extreme emergencies.
That doesn't leave much room for the other seven men on the roster. With James Jones and Joel Anthony shooting and shot-blocking specialists, respectively, here's a look at the five in between.
All quotes for this piece were collected over the course of the author's coverage of the Miami Heat for the Palm Beach Post. All statistics are accurate as of Thursday afternoon.