Miami Heat Reveal How They Will Utilize Lineups This Season

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Reshaping a Miami Heat roster after an offseason that’s seen departures, controversies and missed opportunities likely means that the Heat will utilize the new centerpiece of the lineup, center Hassan Whiteside.

Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald wrote about the strategic advantages of surrounding the big man with an array of shooters this season. Using a smaller lineup with players that can put the ball in the hoop on a regular basis can help deal with the loss of Chris Bosh, whose health status has effectively ended his career with the team.

Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra is currently assessing the available talent on the roster during the team’s training camp to effectively implement this strategy.

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“We are going to work the game we feel is best for this group to maximize this team,” Spoelstra said.

In order to best accommodate this strategy, the power forward slot, previously occupied by Bosh, will likely have a mix of players taking his place. That includes second-year man Justise Winslow or free-agent signing Luke Babbitt. In the latter case, Babbitt brings long-range skills to the court, with a 40.3 percentage from beyond the three-point circle.

The small forward spot will likely begin with Wayne Ellington at the outset, with Josh Richardson taking over once he returns from rehabbing his knee. Another option is Josh McRoberts, who has deep range, but has struggled in that area during his time with the Heat. Meanwhile, one other forward to consider is Derrick Williams, though he lacks the deep-threat potential the others have at their disposal.

Finally, the backcourt is likely to have Goran Dragic and Dion Waiters starting, with Tyler Johnson prepared to contribute as well.

Due to these makeshift lineups, the expectation is that the Heat will once again try hard to bring in a big free agent next July. They failed to get Kevin Durant this past offseason, but may have another chance at him next summer. However, it’s more likely they’ll look at either Blake Griffin or Chris Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers.

Other less expensive options exist, with Sacramento’s Rudy Gay expected to be available. Other considerations may involve players like Tyreke Evans of New Orleans and Andre Iguodala of Golden State.
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Brad Sullivan is a freelance writer for, having been an avid fan of NBA basketball for more than four decades. During that time, he's watched the Heat evolve from gestation period to expansion team all the way to three-time NBA champions. He'll follow their quest toward again reaching those lofty heights, and do so by offering some perspective along the way.