Back at Full Strength, Who is the Odd Man Out for Miami Heat?
Over the last two weeks the Miami Heat have had their depth tested and so far have had glowing results. With injuries to Udonis Haslem and Ray Allen as well as a one game suspension to Mario Chalmers, Miami has had to go deep into their bench to win. Dwyane Wade has also been limited in his minutes and was unproductive in both games Miami played this weekend.
The regular starting lineup is Chalmers, Wade, LeBron James, Haslem and Chris Bosh. Head Coach Erik Spoelstra likes to play a nine-man rotation, so Norris Cole, Allen, Shane Battier and Chris Andersen round out his usual rotation. With Haslem out, the Heat gave Rashard Lewis the bulk of his minutes off the bench and moved Battier into the starting lineup. In his last three games, Lewis has averaged nine points and five rebounds in 29 minutes. He has also shot 10-for-16 from the field and 5-for-9 from the three point line.
Michael Beasley was brought in as a luxury and not a necessity. Miami signed him in case there was an injury to someone, they were struggling on offense or needed to give someone a night off. After not playing much in the first six games, Beasley has seen his role increase over the last four. In the first six games Beasley played only four minutes and scored six points, but in the last four games he has played 67 minutes and scored 50 points. He has always been instant offense, but this year he is also efficient. Beasley has shot 25-for-42 which is 59.5 percent and has made five of his 10 three point attempts.
On Tuesday against the Atlanta Hawks, Miami will be at full strength and need to make an adjustment to their rotation. If they go back to their normal nine-man rotation, both Beasley and Lewis will be out. If Spoelstra decides to stretch it to a ten-man rotation they should keep Beasley on the court. Rashard Lewis is a much older veteran and would be less likely to have a problem with sitting out a few games. With Beasley playing the most effective basketball of his career, Spoelstra should allow him to continue to play and grow. One other option would be giving Battier or Wade a night off, but since they haven’t played since Saturday it is more likely they get that day off tomorrow against the Orlando Magic and can rest until Saturday.