With only a few more tuneups left until the games will start to count for the re-tooled Miami Heat, there are numerous questions surrounding current state of the roster.
Injuries, chemistry, and other variables need to be looked at before Miami can achieve their dream of putting a championship caliber squad on the court.
Let's take a look at some critical question marks.
I still don't believe Dwyane Wade's injury was even an injury. It seemed like more of a discomfort. If it was the regular season, there is no doubt in my mind he would be playing. It also gives him time to take care of his custody battle in Chicago without having to answer for missed playing time.
He is working out and maintaining his conditioning as the season approaches. He should be 100% next Tuesday in the Heat's opener at Boston.
Mike Miller sprained his ankle in Monday's game against Charlotte. He said the sprain was "minor" and that he should be good to go Thursday.
Mario Chalmers is likely out the rest of the preseason for precautionary measures as he looks to be at full strength from his high ankle sprain by the regular season opener. He shot 32 percent from the field in three games. That has to improve or he won't see the floor this year.
James is averaging 21.4 points in just 24.5 minutes a night, while shooting 49% from the field and 37.5% from three. Without Wade, he is the clear cut go-to scorer. But with him, will things change?
Both Wade and James are dominant perimeter scorers. But one will have to be less of a scorer and more of a facilitator. With James' amazing passing ability, he's the one who should see a drop in points, but a rise in assists.
But who knows. Maybe they both will average 30 and the Heat will routinely put up obscene 120-point nights. Anything remarkable this team does shouldn't wow you this year.
After watching Joel Anthony closely this preseason, his game hasn't changed. He is what he is, and at 28, it will stay that way. He's a shot-blocker who hustles his tail off. No more, no less. He will start, but I doubt he plays in excess of 25 minutes a night, especially down the stretch.
Zydrunas Ilgauskas is good for ten to fifteen minutes, and Chris Bosh or Udonis Haslem can fill in for spurts.
Hopefully the long-term answer is rookie Dexter Pittman. He has the body and upside to be a factor on this team in the near future. Until or if that moment comes, there will be a center-by-committee approach.
First of all, preseason chemistry is nearly impossible.
It's very difficult to build a cohesiveness with all of the lineup shuffling. Certain players who get big minutes in the preseason are never going to see the floor once the season starts.
If anything Wade's presence will help in this area because he is so familiar with the Heat's system. There is no chance his presence would hurt the team. He is too good and too unselfish of a star to have that effect.
As I stated many times before, Magloire is nothing more than a big body to throw at the league's larger centers. He's six fouls to use on Dwight Howard and Shaq. Any skills he might have possessed have evaporated from his grandfathered NBA body.
Pittman can be that bruiser type and more.
Taking on Butler and Beverley, two players with some decent upside, would be the smarter option. Beverley provides great perimeter defense while Butler, when healthy, is a clutch shooter.
The problem with Butler is he isn't ready to play yet. He is still recovering from a torn ACL. His talent is unmistakable, however, and is worth the roster spot.
If they do go with Magloire, the Heat's number four center (assuming Ilgauskas, Pittman, and Anthony are all kept), it will not be a basketball decision. It's clear he is a friend of Wade's.
If this team's goal is to be as good as they can be, then Magloire will be omitted. It makes no basketball sense to keep him on.
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