Monday, August 23, 2010

Update on Miami Heat 2010 Rookies

August 23, 2010

The bulk of the Miami Heat's roster is virtually set in stone, but the final spots are still up for grabs. With a clear preference for veteran presence on the team, Miami opted for more experienced players over most of their rookie draft picks. We weigh in on the current status of each individual draftee.

Dexter Pittman

Dexter Pittman signed a guaranteed contract with the team on July 16, adding more depth and size to the Heat's front court. Outside of him, the Heat surrounded their four and five positions with players like Zydrunas Ilgalskus, Juwan Howard and Jamaal Magloire. It seems that the Heat see great potential in this young big man as they were willing to throw him into a championship caliber roster behind Miami's own big three.

Pittman has a history of progression in his basketball career, both statistically and physically. Not only did the 6'10 center out of Texas average his best numbers during his senior season, he also lost large amounts of weight over the course of his time at the university. Where Pittman was once neared the 400-pound mark, now he flies below the 300-pound realm. Still harnessing bulky size and formidable strength, Pittman will be able to contribute this season if the right opportunity presents itself. For now he will learn under the mentorship of quite a few NBA big men.

Jarvis Varnado

Once the Heat overloaded their roster (exceeding the regular season 15-player maximum), Jarvis Varnado decided to go and play overseas in Italy for at least one year. Whether he was not offered a contract or turned down an unfavorable agreement, Varnado felt it best to gain valuable playing time somewhere else. As noted earlier, Miami has stacked its front court with a bevy of players, leaving no wiggle room for Varnado squeeze into. Thus, the lengthy and athletic power forward will test his skills on a team in need of talents, which should serve as worthy experience for the young man.

Besides, had Miami decided to push for Varnado to stay, his current skill sets would mimic a player already on the roster: Joel Anthony. Varnado is a defensive-minded athlete that has plenty of development to make towards his offensive game. While he may be slightly more athletic than Anthony, what he offers is not worth a roster spot at this moment. Perhaps, the fast-paced, run-and-gun European game will aid his efforts to improve as a scorer. Only then will we find the product of Mississippi State University wearing a Heat uniform.

Da'Sean Butler

Da'Sean Butler has decided to stay in South Florida and is in the process of signing an non-guaranteed contract with the Heat. He will compete for a roster spot against the likes of Kenny Hasbrouck, Shavlik Randolph, and a few other borderline players. Unlike Varnado, Butler felt that his chances to make the team are within reach, despite the fact that he is still recovering from his ACL injury. Barring that injury during last season's NCAA tournament, Butler was one of the most highly touted players in the country. Today he still believes his talent level will return and exceed those he exhibited during his college career.

And while a signing would not guarantee a single minute of playing time for Butler, he will have the advantage of learning behind arguably the most talented small forward in the game today: LeBron James. Beyond that, a secured roster spot would also provide Butler with essential training and development sessions with the Heat training staff. Some analysts predict that if Butler does eventually fully recover from his injury, he could become on of the biggest steals in the 2010 NBA draft. That's exactly what the Heat are hoping for down the road.

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