Heat rotation largely intact, a few holes remain

Published on NewsOK Modified: October 2, 2013 at 4:55 pm •  Published: October 2, 2013
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PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas (AP) — There's not a lot of mystery about what the Miami Heat rotation will look like this season.

Such is life when basically an entire team from one season stays together, particularly when that team was good enough to win its second straight NBA championship.

Those in this Heat training camp combined to play 95 percent of the minutes Miami logged last season, did 96 percent of the scoring, grabbed 94 percent of the rebounds, made 95 percent of the starts and posted 99 percent of the blocked shots. And those numbers — along with, well, common sense — clearly suggest that it might be a daunting task for someone new to crack an already-established championship rotation.

"Obviously, our team has to evolve," Heat forward and reigning NBA MVP LeBron James said after practice Wednesday, the midway point of Miami's camp. "We can't be the same team we were last year. I don't think that's good enough to win a championship. ... The sets and the way we defend will be the same, but there will be tweaks along the season that we feel like can help us more."

The Heat won 66 games last season, put together a 27-game winning streak and bring back every rotation player except Mike Miller, who was set free under the amnesty provision in a move that will save Miami roughly $40 million in salary-cap space and luxury-tax payments over the next two years.

That doesn't mean those who are back should necessarily feel resigned to the same role, though.

"I don't want them to feel that way," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "We constantly talk about being better, within the confines of our team, whatever makes sense for us to try to get to another level. Our players have embraced that and it keeps a constant newness."

It's not exactly guesswork to say that James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Mario Chalmers are all etched into the starting lineup. Ray Allen, Chris Andersen, Shane Battier, Udonis Haslem and Norris Cole almost certainly will have rotation spots and one of them, probably either Battier or Haslem, will be starting. Barring some sort of personnel move, James Jones, Joel Anthony, Rashard Lewis and Greg Oden will have places on the roster as well.

That's 13 players. The Heat can only carry 15, and aren't obligated to keep that many. So in essence, there's seven other guys in camp fighting for no more than two spots on the roster, which would then give them the chance to fight again for time in the rotation.



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