What to Look For at Miami Heat Training Camp
What to Watch For in South Beach
The government may have shutdown and remain in gridlock, but the NBA is operating and training camps are opening across the league.
As the Association begins to prepare for the 2013-14 season, storylines are popping up from the East to the West and in between.
Derrick Rose prepares to return after missing all of last season rehabbing a torn ACL, Russell Westbrook announced he will miss at least the first month of the regular season and the San Antonio Spurs hope to shake off the sting of the Finals.
What about the defending champs?
The Miami Heat held media sessions yesterday and opened camp today surrounded by the gold sands and crystal clear waters of the Bahamas.
The franchise will hold training camp activities at the Atlantis Resort for a week before returning back to Florida.
The first day of camp may be a bit quieter than yesterday’s media day. Finals MVP LeBron James was pummeled with questions regarding 2014 free agency, and Dwyane Wade came to terms with being Miami’s “second option”.
That capped off a busy weekend for the Heat as Coach Erik Spoelstra received a contract extension and Andy Elisburg was promoted to general manager. Both were a part of a series of moves amongst the team’s coaching staff and front office.
So far it has been a mellow first day for the South Beach franchise, but there is little chance the next month will remain that way.
Here are six topics to watch for as training camp continues over the next few weeks
6. Who Will Make The Roster?
Miami entered training camp with 20 players on their roster. The 2013 champions will have to get that number down to 15 by the start of the season, with only 12 active players.
For the most part, the roster is already filled out, but there are a few spots that the late acquisitions will be battling for.
Greg Oden and Michael Beasley should make the Heat roster, but you never know what might happen in 30 days.
5. LeBron James' Attitude With Possible Free Agency Looming
The No. 1 player in the world and reigning NBA MVP denounced all questions regarding 2014 free agency at Miami’s media day yesterday. He also informed the media that he would not address any questions concerning the topic during this season.
It appears the James has his head on straight and is ready to begin the three-peat quest. Of course this will continue to be the hot topic all season, especially as we inch closer and closer to June.
As of right now, “King” James is ready to go, but we will see if he can handle to bombardment of free agency questions all season.
4. Udonis Haslem's Activity After Offseason Surgery
After Miami had secured their second consecutive championship, we discovered that forward Udonis Haslem played an extend period of time with a torn meniscus.
The long time Heat player underwent offseason surgery to repair the injury and is expected to be ready for the season opener.
Keep a close eye on Haslem and his condition as the defending champs really need someone to fill the void hurting their rebounding game and inside presence.
3. Greg Oden's Health
Inactive in the NBA since 2009, Greg Oden makes yet another attempt to have some sort of career in professional basketball. Consumed by never ending knee problems, the 7-footer was signed by the defending champs to help with their front court struggles.
Oden’s health is unknown and his durability is an unanswered question. The former Ohio State Buckeye has only played 82 games since being drafted in 2007. Oden’s health and physical condition will be an ongoing story throughout training camp.
2. Michael Beasley Staying Out of Trouble
Back where his troubled NBA existence began and given a second and possibly last chance, Michael Beasley will be under close watch of Team President Pat Riley and Head Coach Erik Spoelstra.
Entering his sixth season and third overall with Miami, Beasley has encountered negative events with each of the three teams he has played for.
Riley has granted the problematic player another chance. It is up to Beasley to seize the moment and grow up. The forward has great potential, but it is up to him to make the right decisions.
1. Dwyane Wade's Health and Participation
We are all aware of Dwyane Wade’s injury filled playoff journey last season and the offseason treatments he went through. The biggest question will be: How healthy are Wade and his knees?
There are some skeptics of Wade, his health and whether he can still play at a high level. “Flash’s” opportunity to silence those critics is almost here.
It will be interesting to see how much Wade participates in training camp and at what level. Camp won’t be the best indicator of the All-Star’s status, but his health will be one of the main topics leading up to the season opener against the Chicago Bulls.
It would not surprise me if Wade takes much of camp to improve his health and rest those troublesome knees. His main objective is being 100 percent for opening night.