When you have a chance to go at the best, you best not miss.
That's the mentality every would-be baller on the Miami Heat's training camp roster needs to have if he has any hope of making it to the regular season.
For these guys, whether they're D-Leaguers, washouts or unproven rookies, it's all or nothing.
Even if it's a spot at the end of the bench, these are the players who will be willing to take whatever contract they can get, but the golden question remains: Will they make it past the dreaded roster cuts?
Yes, in a surprise move first reported by Yahoo! Sports, the Miami Heat extended a training camp invite to Mr. Beasley, who would become Miami's prodigal son should he survive any roster cuts.
Michael Beasley went second overall in the 2008 NBA draft, but despite the tremendous hype surrounding his selection, he never quite panned out.
There were flashes of brilliance here and there, but Beasley quickly proved to be a man without a clearly defined position. Yes, the curse of the hyped headcase tweener struck yet again.
For every 22-point and 10-rebound game, there were the outings where he looked completely lost on defense, and his inability to develop chemistry with Dwyane Wade resulted in many in Miami's front office second-guessing the decision to acquire him via the draft.
Following the semi-surprising move by Miami to amnesty Mike Miller, there is a bit of a void at the swingman and/or guard-forward spot. The 305 could really use a guy who can generate some offense and stretch the floor, and while Beasley is by no means a sharpshooter, he's proven to be a handful if he gets hot.
Miami sees tremendous value in Beasley to take a risk on him yet again, but if it can get the right people in his corner to keep him calm and focused, there's no question Beasley is capable of being an asset should he get his extraneous issues under control.
Super Cool Beas needs an incident-free camp, and he needs to look committed and ready to work. He's someone with all the talent in the world, but he needs to overcome his anxieties and bad habits to put it all together.
While he's technically on the bubble, he has the best odds of anybody to make a regular-season roster. Heat team president Pat Riley really had to believe in him to make this decision, and it's a safe bet he'll do whatever is in his power to turn Beasley into a productive part of the team.
Miami is built to win now, but it wouldn't be foolish to try to groom some young blood for the future.
Enter big man Jarvis Varnado, a long-limbed 25-year-old standing 6'9" with numerous stints in the D-League and a couple times playing in full-on NBA regular-season games in his career.
If you put him and Joel Anthony side by side, the similarities would immediately jump out. Both are a little undersized, and both sport extremely long limbs and superb timing as it pertains to blocking shots.
Both are also offensively raw, but here's the key difference: Varnado is younger, and he has more upside, albeit limited upside.
Varnado is going to be a very nondescript piece on this team, assuming he makes it. He doesn't have a boisterous personality, and he won't see much playing time, barring injuries to the front line.
According to the Sun Sentinel, Varnado is playing on a partially guaranteed contract that locks in once the regular season begins.
So, in other words, if Varnado is still standing by the time regular-season tipoff rolls around, he'll get a spot at the end of the bench, rocking a clean sweatsuit with the best seats in the house.
Varnado would be a lovely addition to have on a roster with aging vets composing most of the front line, and the fact he's not a vet and unproven means Miami can get him for a great price should he survive roster cuts.
Count on Miami hanging on to Varnado, but again, his playing time will only be during garbage time or due to catastrophic injuries.
Larry Drew II
Sometimes, you invite a guy to training camp just to see what he's made of.
Even if he doesn't make the regular-season roster, no worries, just stash him on your D-League affiliate and pick him back up if he ever becomes something special.
This situation is likely what Larry Drew II will encounter.
Drew is battling against Norris Cole and Mario Chalmers—a pair of great young guards with guaranteed contracts.
Drew has a better chance of getting eaten by a shark while riding a subway train than he does making this roster come the regular season.
Since he's the only other young point guard as of yet with a camp invite, he'll certainly stand out, but it might be for all the wrong reasons.
He's very raw, and it remains to be seen if he can orchestrate an offense at this level given his limited experience.
Either way, Miami wouldn't give him a chance if he couldn't play at the next level. This will likely be a chance for the coaching staff to get a look at him running its system, and it would be an opportunity to see how he performs against some of the best perimeter talent the league has to offer.
Unlike Varnado or Beasley, he's a guy who isn't ready to make an impact at the next level. He needs more time perfecting his craft, but playing with the best in the world will give him a chance to do so—even if it's just for a few weeks.
It's a virtual lock that he won't make this roster, considering there's plenty of young blood at the point guard position. Expect Drew to be a D-League add-on, but there's no way he makes it past roster cuts unless he has an incredible performance at camp.
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