5 Things Miami Heat Must Figure Out Before Start of 2014-15 Season
But this new-look team still has plenty of unanswered questions about its roster at the moment.
With so many new players in the mix, rotation spots and specific roles are far from set. However, much of this can be solved during training camp.
We're going to take an in-depth look at what exactly the Heat must find out about its guys during camp if the team wants to reach its full potential this season.
Who Is the Real Shabazz Napier?
As everyone is well aware of, Shabazz Napier was a flat-out stud at the University of Connecticut.
Napier boasts one of the more impressive resumes of any incoming rookie, having two national championships, the Bob Cousy Award (2014) and a consensus first team All-American (2014) appearance to his name.
Napier played his best basketball in his senior year, finishing the season with averages of 18.0 points (42.9 FG%, 40.5 3P%), 5.9 rebounds and 4.9 assists.
But everything went wrong for Napier in Summer League play this offseason.
During nine appearances in Orlando and Las Vegas, he averaged 9.6 points (25.9 FG%, 19.5 3P%), 2.2 rebounds, 3.7 assists and a whopping 4.2 turnovers per game.
It's unfair to Napier to solely look at his Summer League performance and ignore his college play when predicting how he will perform in 2014-15. But Miami has to be concerned about how greatly Napier struggled in July.
The Heat have to find out in training camp whether his summer performance was a fluke or not before deciding to give him a serious run next season.
Who Will Start at Point Guard?
One of the more interesting story lines heading into Heat training camp is who will emerge as the team's starting point guard.
Given Napier's status as a rookie and that he didn't look particularly ready for the NBA game during Summer League play, Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole are easily the two favorites for the gig, with "Rio" leading the way.
Chalmers will likely win the job due to his better all-around game. Cole has the edge on Chalmers in terms of on-ball defense, but Chalmers is still capable on that end of the floor and is a more polished offensive player.
Chalmers shoots the ball, finishes at the rim and finds open teammates better than Cole.
But if Norris shows he made significant offensive improvements in training camp, then he has a shot to supplant Chalmers.
Will James Ennis Be Able to Contribute Right Away?
For the second offseason in a row, James Ennis was awfully impressive in Summer League play. In six games, he averaged 15.5 points, shooting 51.7 percent from the floor and 48.1 from three-point range. He also chipped in with 5.0 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game.
While last summer's success didn't lead to a roster spot for Ennis (he played overseas in 2013-14), the 22-year-old will make the Heat's 15-man roster in 2014-15.
The Long Beach State product will begin his NBA career with a great deal of potential. He's long, athletic and can shoot, which are three critical traits for a wing player in today's NBA.
The question is: how much will Miami head coach Erik Spoelstra rely on Ennis this season?
The Heat aren't exactly known for playing young players, but Ennis is clearly talented and Miami isn't exactly loaded on the wing.
Ennis needs a solid camp to show Spoelstra that he's ready for the bright lights.
Does Danny Granger Have Anything Left in the Tank?
Danny Granger was once among the NBA's best offensive threats. It was only four seasons ago that he averaged 20.5 points per game for the Indiana Pacers.
But that was then, and this is now.
At 31, Granger simply isn't the same player anymore. He posted 8.2 points per game on just 37.8 percent shooting from the floor this past season with the Pacers and Los Angeles Clippers.
The Heat took a flier on Granger this summer, and while they certainly aren't expecting the former All-Star to return to 2010 form, they obviously are hoping for a bounce-back season to some degree.
Whether Granger can provide that for them remains to be seen. His performance in training camp will be a strong indicator.
Who Will Be the No. 1 Option?
Some observers, including myself, have pegged Chris Bosh as Miami's No. 1 option with LeBron leaving town.
But it's not inconceivable to think Dwyane Wade, who played the role of James' sidekick for the past few years, wants to be top dog again.
The Heat need to establish before the 2014-15 NBA season tips off which one will carry the load on the offensive end of the floor.
As mentioned earlier, Bosh is likely the best choice. His "youth" (relative to Wade's), ability to stay healthy and versatile game make him better equipped to handle such a role.
Still, Wade, despite his poor performance in the 2014 NBA Finals, remains a very effective player—he averaged 19.0 points last year—and might not be ready to hand the franchise over to Bosh just yet.
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