Whats Happening While Heat Get Ready For New Season...

ERIKContributor IJune 29, 2009

ATLANTA - APRIL 22:  Udonis Haslem #40 of the Miami Heat celebrates after hitting a basket late in the game against the Atlanta Hawks during Game Two of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals at Philips Arena on April 22, 2009 in Atlanta, Georgia. The Heat defeated the Hawks 108-93. 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 Doug Benc/Getty Images)

Getting Inside


The Heat only took a pair of second-round picks in the draft—Nos. 43 and 60—so it wasn’t as if Miami was necessarily looking for immediate help.


Miami acquired the draft rights to guard Patrick Beverley(notes), selected by the Los Angeles Lakers at No. 42. Beverley, 6-foot-1, played at Arkansas as a junior and played in a Ukrainian league last season. He’ll be in an unsettled backup point guard picture along with veteran Chris Quinn(notes) and incumbent starter Mario Chalmers(notes).


Miami drafted Memphis forward Robert Dozier(notes) with the 60th and final pick of the draft. Dozier, who is 6-9 and played power forward in college, will be viewed as a small forward for the Heat. There’s a chance Dozier plays in Europe next season.


The Heat traded the 43rd pick, guard Marcus Thornton(notes) of LSU, to New Orleans for a pair of second-rounders—one in 2010 and one in 2012.


Heat president Pat Riley seemed optimistic about the draft.


“We went after very quick, very athletic, very long players at those two spots and we felt we achieved those objectives,” Riley said.


Before the draft, Riley wasn’t optimistic about the Heat’s chances of moving up into the first round, and that feeling turned out to be well-founded.


“We were very active throughout the late teens up until the late 20s, and then again very active in the early 30s,” Riley said. “We just felt we had to give up too much.”


Most likely neither Beverley nor Dozier is on the Heat’s opening night roster, but both will get a fair look. After all, few things thrill Riley more than a diamond in the rough such as forward Udonis Haslem(notes),who was undrafted out of Florida and has become a team captain.


The Heat could use a scrappy backup point guard, which is Beverley’s strength, and it could use a lengthy, physical small forward, which is Dozier’s strength. Miami’s current crop of small forwards—James Jones(notes), Yakhouba Diawara(notes), Dorell Wright(notes)—are more finesse players.


However, considering Miami’s goal for the coming season is to advance past the first round of the playoffs, and many teams in the East improved themselves through trades, the Heat will likely look to low-priced veterans to fill its needs.


Notes, Quotes


• The Heat’s path to homecourt advantage in a first-round playoff series will be tougher in light of the trades made by Eastern Conference teams. If the Heat doesn’t have homecourt advantage in the first round it would be hard-pressed to win against the teams projected to be atop the East—Boston, Orlando, Cleveland in the first tier, and maybe Philadelphia, Atlanta and Chicago in the second tier.


Miami couldn’t win a Game 7 on the road in the playoffs last season. It lost a seven-game first-round series to Atlanta, which had homecourt advantage.


• Heat president Pat Riley is taking a wait-and-see approach with his team. It didn’t have a first-round pick and it doesn’t have any money to spend in free agency. Miami will probably see what it has during the first half of the season and, if necessary, make a move at the trade deadline. Riley said the timing wasn’t right to delve into the trade market.


“Not right now,” he said. “The only one I would have had real interest in probably would have been (F) Richard (Jefferson). Probably. But not right now. I think those kinds of trades in the future will be there again.”


• The Heat isn’t participating in a Summer League. Miami pulled out of the Orlando Summer League. It will have a rookie/free agent mini-camp in July. You can probably expect F Michael Beasley(notes), G Mario Chalmers, G Daequan Cook(notes)and F Dorell Wright to participate along with the two draftees—G Patrick Beverley and F Robert Dozier.


The Heat will be looking for help at backup point guard and center primarily. The way the Heat wants to construct its team would be with long, athletic players that have versatility. In other words it wants a “combo” guard, someone who plays point guard and shooting guard, and a forward who either plays both small forward and power forward, or plays power forward and center.


Quote To Note:   “The trade I think helped a team the most is the one San Antonio made.”—Heat president Pat Riley on the Spurs acquiring F Richard Jefferson(notes).


Roster Report


Draft Picks:  


Patrick Beverley, G, 6-1, Ukraine/Arkansas (second round)—Beverley, taken with the 43rd pick, played professionally in Ukraine last season, leaving Arkansas after his junior year. He’s aggressive and can play both guard positions.


Robert Dozier, F, 6-9, Memphis (second round)—There’s a chance he plays in Europe next season. Miami believes he can play small forward although he was a power forward in college.


Free Agent Focus:   Miami needs a backup point guard, a backup center and a starting small forward. But it has very little cash. It has about $69 million committed for next season and the projected luxury tax is $69.5 million. In other words, F Ron Artest(notes) is out of the picture. Look more for low-key players such as G Jannero Pargo(notes), who could return from overseas.


Player News:  


• F Michael Beasley is working to improve his small forward skills in hopes of being able to play both forward positions next season. Beasley has been at the arena working with the team, first doing specific things such as 1-on-1 skills and stepping out to take longer jumpers, and now working general things such as footwork and balance.


Ideally, Beasley would start at small forward for Miami, giving it a frontline of C Jermaine O’Neal(notes),F Udonis Haslem and Beasley. If not, it looks as though Beasley would be a backup behind Haslem again.


• F Dorell Wright, who missed most of last season recovering from a knee injury, is a big key to Miami’s plan to improve without spending money. Wright has the multi-talented skills to defend three positions, rebound and score in the open court. But either he hasn’t delivered consistently when given the opportunity, or he’s been injured. Well, he seems to be on the mend. G Mario Chalmers, who works out with Wright, reports Wright is getting back to his old self.


• C Jermaine O’Neal is working out at the arena and reports are he’s doing well. Heat president Pat Riley said O’Neal had to have his knees drained “two or three times a week” last season. O’Neal was also slowed by a hip problem. Riley said he’s hoping O’Neal has a summer similar to the one G Dwyane Wade(notes) had last year. Wade, of course, came back from knee and shoulder injuries to have the best season of his career.


Medical Watch:  


No injuries to report.


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