With the Heat’s roster nearing completion not even two weeks after Dwyane Wade re-signed, it’s safe to say that no one expected Riley to put this team together so quickly.
The other surprise is just how many familiar faces will be around, as there are likely to be seven returning players from last season.
As it stands, assuming veterans Juwan Howard and Carlos Arroyo sign contracts within the next few days, the Heat will have 13 players on its roster.
This would leave two more roster spots open, as the Heat can carry a maximum of 15 players by the time the season rolls around.
So who else should the Heat get?
Let’s look at the positions of need, relatively speaking of course, as this Heat team truly needs little else.
Miami is more or less set up front, as the Heat will likely start the season with four centers (Joel Anthony, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Dexter Pittman, and Jamal Magloire) and three power forwards (Chris Bosh, Udonis Haslem, and Howard).
With the return of Miami native James Jones, the Heat has three small forwards, counting Mike Miller and some guy called LeBron James.
The back court, however, is quite thin with only three players (Wade, Arroyo and Mario Chalmers) on the team.
So it stands to reason that the next signing should be a player (or two) who ideally possesses both point guard and shooting guard skills.
The name of former Heat guard and Lord of the Rings cast member (kidding), Chris Quinn has been floated around, but many observers see too much overlap with the point guards already on the roster.
Considering the flexibility of the team and the fact that players like James, Wade and Miller are adept ball-handlers, the Heat doesn’t necessarily need another traditional point guard.
What the team does lack on its bench, however, is a true defensive stopper. Raja Bell would have been great in this role, but as much as a hometown discount was discussed, he was clearly worth more than the veteran’s minimum the Heat was offering.
Riley could consider bringing in a defensive specialist (Patrick Beverly perhaps?) as well as an offensive spark plug (Eddie House reunion?).
As tempting as offensively gifted players like Rashad McCants or Jerry Stackhouse are, it’s clear that for Riley, chemistry is just as important as talent.
So don’t expect the Heat to take a chance on a bench player who might sulk if he doesn’t see the court.
And enough already with the Anfernee Hardaway talk. He offered next to nothing two years ago. Alonzo Mourning has more left. Probably a lot more, actually.
Experienced role players and former South Beach residents Jason Williams, Eddie House and Keyon Dooling are most likely near the top of Riley’s list as the Heat staff is familiar with their temperament and together, they provide skills the back court could still use: shooting and defense.
Any of the three would be welcomed with open arms and only serve to strengthen what appears to be a team with almost as much chemistry as talent. Well, maybe that’s a stretch, but you get the idea.
Could this team have comparable talent to the three-peat Lakers, but without the accompanying baggage and soap opera-esque drama? It might, but keep in mind that it’s still early days yet and as good as any team looks on paper, championships aren’t won in July.
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