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Looks like Battier is the other starting forward for Heat

Oct 15, 2012, 8:03 AM EDT

Shane Battier AP

You kind of had to expect this after the playoffs last season. Still, we all know how coaches like to talk in training camp — “It’s an open competition, anybody can win the job.” And all that… manure.

That’s what Erik Spoelstra’s been selling about the Heat’s lineups, but I think we can take a couple things away from the Miami Heat’s preseason in China against the Clippers.

For one, Shane Battier is the other starting forward on the Heat. For another, the point guard position remains a question mark.

With the former, Battier started in the playoffs for the Heat, technically at the four spot although he and LeBron James traded roles on the court at times. As Ira Winderman noted at the Sun-Sentinel, Battier seems to be picking up where he left off.

For the third time in as many exhibitions, Battier started at power forward… The team’s other options are Udonis Haslem, offseason free-agent acquisition Rashard Lewis or a move back to forward by Bosh, who appears entrenched as the starting center.

Of that group, Battier gives you more consistent play at both ends of the floor — he can defend, hit the three and play smart. The other two have deficiencies on offense or defense.

As for point guard, Norris Cole has started all three games while Mario Chalmers nurses a poor hamstring. This was Cole’s chance to show he could do the job, but he has struggled with turnovers, and that’s not how a point guard keeps his job. Chalmers may get to keep his spot.

  1. eventhorizon04 - Oct 15, 2012 at 5:13 PM

    Shane Battier is starting for now, but if Spoelstra grows concerned about Miami’s rebounding or ability to defend bigger players, don’t be surprised if Udonis Haslem becomes a starter, especially since his jump shot has apparently improved since last season (in which he was still dealing with the lingering effects of his foot injury).

  2. miamatt - Oct 15, 2012 at 7:28 PM

    I didn’t realize this was even in question. It was clear in last year’s playoff’s that putting Battier into the starting lineup and pairing him with James as “combo forwards” maximizes Miami’s defensive flexibility, as well as putting another 3-point threat on the floor. Chalmers’s job has never been in question either; unless and until Cole learns to dish off his drives with greater regularilty, and/or finish better at the rim, there is no chance he supplants Chalmers. More likely, Cole loses minutes while Ray Allen sees the floor. Not to mention Mike Miller and Udonis Haslem are healthier than they have been in a while. Cole is a nice change of pace at this stage of his career, and you have to love his fearlessness.

    In any case, Battier will start game 1, game 82, and beyond.

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