MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Miami Heat are just one day away from starting the journey towards a third-straight NBA championship and while the roster is set; there are plenty of questions surrounding the team’s pursuit of an elusive three-peat.
The Heat has more than enough talent to win a third straight championship. If center Greg Oden can get his knees healthy enough to play, it’s possible the Heat could put a group of five on the floor that would consist of players all selected in the top five of their respective drafts.READ MORE: Narciso Torres Identified As Pilot Who Died In Haulover Bridge Plane Crash
Much of the season for the Heat will be watching how Oden’s comeback bid progresses and how Dwyane Wade’s knee holds up for an entire season. Wade’s knees could also hold the key to next year and whether NBA MVP LeBron James chooses to stay in Miami or leave in free agency.
On the roster, besides Oden there’s another player Miami fans may remember, small forward Michael Beasley. He was the number two overall pick of the Heat just a few years ago and his career in Miami flamed out fast and he’s kicked around the league since then.
Beasley was once seen as a franchise savior, but now he’s going to have to settle into a role of coming off the bench. Most of Beasley’s problems are self-inflicted, mainly through problems off the court dealing with marijuana and other problems.
“I’ll continue to work hard, continue to do my part, continue to gain the trust of my teammates,” Beasley said. “If I get that chance, I get that chance. Just trying to take it day by day.”
The trust is key because Beasley’s reputation is very low and the Heat was pretty much his only chance to stay in the NBA at this point. He knows that trust is his main priority.
“Getting the trust of my teammates and the trust of my coach, that’s really the only thing that matters,” Beasley said. “The looks in their face when I do something wrong, it feels weird enough. I want to get to the point where me doing something is not so exciting anymore.”
Part of what Beasley will be asked to do is not be a ball-stopper. In his previous stint in Miami, and with other teams, the ball would often stick to Beasley when he was on offense and he would end up taking contested shots.READ MORE: Jeep Driver Issued Citations, Not Charged, In Deadly Rickenbacker Causeway Crash
With the Heat, Beasley will be asked to extend the defense as an undersized power forward on offense and play the toughest defense he can when he’s in the game. If his defense improves and he can stay out of trouble, Beasley could be a steal for Miami.
“He’s going to be a matchup problem at (power forward) for anybody,” Heat forward Udonis Haslem said. “Our thing is, we have a defensive system and when the going gets tough, Coach Spo looks for toughness. He’s going to have to do those things if he wants to be on the floor for us.”
The Heat will have additional firepower off the bench with veteran guard Roger Mason, Jr. joining Norris Cole and Ray Allen on the bench. The Heat returns Chris Andersen, Shane Battier, Mario Chalmers, Haslem, James Jones, Rashard Lewis, Chris Bosh, and LeBron at forward.
The big mystery will be Oden. A 7’, 250 pound center could be the difference between a dynasty and a phenomenal run. Oden, when healthy, is a great rebounder and could match up well with Roy Hibbert of the Indiana Pacers and other NBA big men.
But it’s still a big if that he can ever return full-time to the NBA. He’s been showing steady progress since he joined the Heat, but he’s also still a long ways from making a meaningful contribution to the squad. Besides, the Heat wants him to play in May and June, not November and December.
Heat fans can dream though of a starting lineup in the playoffs that could feature Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Chris Bosh, Michael Beasley or Ray Allen, and Greg Oden. A starting five like that, if fully healthy, is almost unstoppable in the NBA in any season.
For Miami though, this season is about leaving a legacy. The Heat will be measured on one thing and one thing only this year, winning a third straight NBA championship. If the Heat is celebrating on Biscayne Boulevard in June, the season will be a success and the dynasty is underway.
Anything less, would be considered a failure by Heat standards and send the franchise into the offseason with more questions than answers.MORE NEWS: MDFR Identifies "Voice In The Rubble" Victim
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