The Miami Heat may have one of the older rosters in the NBA, but that has not stopped the reigning two-time champions from finding their fair share of success. With an average roster age of 30 years old, there are few players below that age. That is not necessarily a bad thing; however, the season is incredibly grueling and the Heat roster has begun to show that.
As Miami prepares to host the Toronto Raptors on Monday night, two of those 30-plus players will be sidelined. Both Dwyane Wade and Ray Allen will miss the game due to injury and illness. So, you might be saying “this gives an opportunity to the role players, the younger guys, right?” Uh, no, that would be wrong.
Sure, Erik Spoelstra has plenty of youth and energy in Michael Beasley, but he has become a ghost in the rotation since the All-Star Break. It had seemed that Beasley was developing a prominent role for himself, but he saw that disappear due to his lack of defense. Then it looked like he had worked out those problems, but Spoelstra has still chosen to use the small forward sparingly.
I no longer believe that Beasley’s defensive issues are to blame for his decrease in usage, but instead it is his lack of experience. He has played in a total of 12 playoff games during his first stint in South Beach. That is all fine and dandy except that was when he was in a bad place and a troublemaker.
He is, supposedly, a changed man, but Spoelstra wants to continue to play it safe with him. That is why, with home-court advantage on the line, the head coach has opted to go with experience. Spoelstra has decided to play Rashard Lewis and Udonis Haslem instead of Beasley more often, a move I praise due in part to Beasley’s known defensive issues.
Beasley has not become an afterthought in Spoelstra’s mind, even though it looks that way. Instead, Spoelstra wants to be cautious and safe. No one knows how Beasley will react under pressure and with so much on the line (free agency, home-court, a three-peat), Miami can’t afford any sort of implosion.
Shane Phillips is an NBA Writer for RantSports.com. Follow Shane on Twitter @ShaneRantSports, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. You can also email Shane at ShaneRantNBA@gmail.com.