It’s been a running joke with Mike Miller for much of this season. He comes into the Miami Heat locker room before games, sees the jersey hanging in his stall and wonders aloud why someone went to the trouble of putting it there.
Such is life for many Heat players.
The blessing of having a deep team like Miami does is there’s so many combinations to choose from when it’s time to put a lineup together.
The curse of having such a team is that there’s a finite number of minutes to go around, so plenty of times players like Miller, Joel Anthony, James Jones and Rashard Lewis — guys who could possibly play big minutes on other clubs — have found themselves out of the rotation altogether.
“All you can do is stay ready,” Miller said. “That’s your job.”
And of late, with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Mario Chalmers and now Chris Bosh ailing, that Heat bench has been more than ready.
Playing without James, Wade and Chalmers, the Heat went into San Antonio and won a week ago. Miller and Lewis combined to score 40 points in a win over Charlotte on Friday.
On Saturday, with James back in the lineup, Miami’s bench tied a season high by scoring 53 points in a win over Philadelphia.
For Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, the depth is clearly a nice problem.
“It takes the right type of professional. These guys make it look much easier,” Spoelstra said. “You look at any profession in any field, egos really do become a factor. Are people really willing to sacrifice part of their role or their ego to be part of something special or different? In most cases, I would argue not. They wouldn’t. And these guys are very unique. They understand what this opportunity is.”
BLAKE DIES IN GEORGIA — Marty Blake, the NBA’s longtime director of scouting, died Sunday in Alpharetta, Ga. He was 86.
Blake worked in the NBA for more than 50 years and is considered the “Godfather of scouting.”
Blake was general manager of the Hawks franchise before spending more than 35 years as the league’s director of scouting.
— Associated Press