You know the Miami Heat have a great team when you can legitimately argue their bench is better than some rosters’ starting fives.
Whether it’s a testament to the talent on Miami’s roster, or the lack of talent on some squads around the league, there’s no doubt that a few choice Heat reserves would find a home elsewhere as a starter.
In regard to Ray Allen, Miami has just that—one of the most lethal three-pointer shooters to ever pick up a basketball.
Allen has garnered this reputation over the years for good reason, and if you forgot, just recall his recent shot in Game 6 of the 2013 NBA Finals.
Aside from playing big when it matters most, his sound fundamentals have allowed him to still play at a relatively high level on a night-to-night basis in the league.
The man is virtually automatic in stride off the catch, and if he’s wide open with his feet set?
Forget it—the ref might as well rule the field goal then and there before he even puts the shot up.
Oh yeah, one more thing: This guy doesn’t even start.
At 38 years old, it’s understandable that you’d stash such a potent shooter on your reserve unit considering Dwyane Wade is your No. 1, but still, Allen is good enough to start elsewhere if he wanted.
Ray Ray is averaging about 11 points per game, but the key stat to keep in mind is the 41 percent from beyond the three-point line.
Allen isn’t just contributing timely points; he’s contributing those points in an efficient manner.
Miami is lucky to have him coming off the bench, and many more teams wish they were lucky enough to give him a starting nod themselves.
While some have criticized Miami in the past for having a frontcourt lacking in size and toughness, their recent acquisition of Chris Andersen has done wonders to hush such chatter.
Andersen is the perfect complementary piece due to this versatility on defense and his length. He can play most bigs straight up, and he's agile enough on his feet to switch on pick-and-rolls if need be.
When it comes down to it, the man has starter quality skills, but if you gave his numbers a quick glance you'd probably think otherwise. Averaging five points and five boards combined with nearly two blocks in 17 minutes doesn't sound like it screams starter, but if you watched how he plays the game you would be wondering why it took so long for him to get signed to a roster last season.
He runs the floor, and he's as unselfish as his energy is unrelenting. Combine the intangibles with his smarts and presence in the locker room, and you'd be hard-pressed to find a roster in the league not willing to give him a contract as a starter.
Also, keep in mind he only averaged around 17 minutes per game last season and shot almost 60 percent from the field; to put up the incredibly efficient numbers that he did consistently as a reserve is yet another reflection of the depth Miami has within its ranks.
Some people earn starting jobs from what they've done, and some earn starting jobs based on what they might do.
Michael Beasley is the latter.
Despite all of his past off-the-court issues, there’s always a team out there desperate enough to risk signing him just to give it a go at finally taming him. Beasley can shoot the ball with either hand, possesses deceptive athleticism and he’s young.
Plenty of young rebuilding teams would risk a starting spot on Beasley just to let him continue his growth as a player, but whether or not he’s mentally competent enough to do so remains to be seen.
If Miami is able to mold him—and that’s a big if—it would potentially have a crucial piece for its future in a post-LeBron, post-Dwyane Wade era.
As of late, Beasley has played the role of fringe starter and sixth man for the Phoenix Suns and Minnesota Timberwolves. If he was able to define his position (he's still a tweener) in the league, and if he was more efficient and productive, he would be a lock to start based on his talent alone, but talent only gets you so far.
Beasley is good enough to start in the NBA, but he hasn't earned the right. If he has tremendous success in Miami as a reserve, who knows, maybe a potential suitor could lure him with the promise of a higher paycheck and starting job.
Until then, Beasley is on the bench for the foreseeable future in a Miami Heat uniform.