Is The Opening Night Roster Set For The Miami Heat?

By Nicholas Crimarco
Miami Heat
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

On Wednesday afternoon, the Miami Heat signed forward Michael Beasley to a one-year contract that isn’t guaranteed. All signs point to him making the team if he can stay out of trouble before the season begins. With most of their roster intact from last season, it seems as though the Heat have their roster set for the 2013-14 season.

The defending champions will bring back their same starting five from a year ago. Mario Chalmers, Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Udonis Haslem and Chris Bosh will likely be the starters against the Chicago Bulls. Norris Cole, Ray Allen, Shane Battier and Chris Andersen will comprise the primary reserves and be in the nine-man rotation.

The remaining six spots on the roster will go to Joel Anthony, James Jones, Rashard Lewis, Greg Oden, Beasley and Jarvis Varnado. It is expected that Oden will begin the season wearing a suit and working himself into basketball shape for the second half of the season run. Beasley and Lewis will be used if they need a spark on offense, if they decide to rest one of the “Big 3,” or if the game gets out of hand early. Anthony and Jones shouldn’t see much playing time in the first three quarters of games and are just along for the ride at this point.

The only roster spot that is really up for grabs is the one held by Varnado. The Heat drafted Varnado in the second round of the 2010 NBA Draft. He played in Israel, Italy and the D-League before signing with the Boston Celtics last year and then eventually making his way back to Miami. He was a star on their Summer League team and is the kind of shot-blocking defender that Pat Riley covets. The only challenger he should have for that spot when the season begins is Justin Hamilton.

Hamilton was taken in the second round of the 2012 Draft by the Heat and spent his first professional season in Croatia. He is a 7-foot center who draws a lot of comparisons to Michael Doleac, a former Heat backup center. He is a great perimeter shooter, but doesn’t bring much to the table defensively.

These two players are complete opposites and it will come down to who the Heat want to stash in the D-League and eventually release during the season to add a veteran player who gets waived.

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