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Camp Confidential (Wrap-up)

SUNDAY, OCT. 4 - The Heat closed out its final official training camp practice Sunday by making it pretty BeasleyPractice obvious that the team has settled on a starter at small forward.

Michael Beasley, by all indications, is The Man. Surprising? No. But was this a sure bet? Hardly. Not considering everything Beasley had to go through during an offseason that included a month-long stay at a Houston-area rehab facility as part of the league's substance-abuse program.

There were no sure bets with Beasley when camp opened a week ago. There was hope. There was a certain level of expectation. There also were no guarantees. Over the course of a week of camp practices, Beasley showed that he put in the work this summer to expand his game.

You knew the talent was there. Were the work ethic, focus, professionalism and attitude? While there's still work to be done with Beasley in a lot of areas, there's no denying that he's made tremendous progress - at least on the court - when it comes to his impact with the Heat.

Sunday's scrimmage saw Beasley open alongside Mario Chalmers, Dwyane Wade, Udonis Haslem and Jermaine O'Neal in a 12-minute game against a second-team unit of Chris Quinn, Daequan Cook, James Jones, Anthony Tolliver and Joel Anthony.

What we saw was Beasley battle his way to rebounds. What we saw was Beasley take the ball off the glass and initiate the fastbreak. What we saw was Beasley confidently step into a spot-up jumper or two from the wing. What we saw was Beasley get back to his power roots and drive the ball strong to the basket. But mostly, what we saw was a work in progress.

Beasley-Wade Despite the signs of a much-improved skill set in an already talented player, Beasley still has plenty of work to do to make this small forward ordeal work. James Jones, Beasley's stiffest competition for the starting job, made a few crafty plays that left Beasley lost out there.

Jones beat Beasley on a pump-fake to draw a foul. He also beat Beasley on the baseline to get to an offensive rebound. And Jones also delivered the final dagger of the scrimmage, dropping a 3-pointer over a late-arriving Beasley to lead the "white" team of backups to a 17-16 win over the "black" team of starters.

If Jones gave Beasley those kind of problems Sunday, what might be in store for him Monday when he faces Tayshaun Prince in the preseason opener at Detroit? After that, Rashard Lewis awaits in Orlando on Wednesday. All told, Beasley will also have to face Rudy Gay, James Posey and David West, Jeff Green and Kevin Durant, and Marvin Williams over the course of the preseason.

That's a pretty good test run at the position defensively to get prepared for the season.

"Part of the process is learning situations," Spoelstra said of Beasley's transition between small and power forward. "The reps this summer helps. He felt comfortable. He's still learning and he'll tell you that."

For Beasley's part, he's smart enough to know that he doesn't have it all figured out just yet. But he appears to be well on his way. He can create  a mismatch just as often as he might be a victim of one during this on-the-spot learning process.

"I'm just playing my position and making sure I'm rotating right and being in the place I'm supposed to be," Beasley said. "When you try (too hard) to make it happen, it's going to be a disaster. You let it come to you."

INJURY UPDATE: Forward Dorell Wright was the only player on the 18-man camp roster who did not participate in the 12-minute scrimmage at the end of practice. Spoelstra said the team continues to monitor swelling in Wright's left knee that required two surgeries in the past 18 months. The team typically measures the amount of swelling in Wright's knee to help determine how hard he should be pushed in practices. Swingman Quentin Richardson practiced Sunday after injuring his ankle Saturday.

SCRIMMAGE SPOTLIGHT: Jermaine O'Neal had two impression moves in the scrimmage. He made a jumper from the elbow and also made a nice power move in the lane to spin away off a post-up for a New Jermaine turnaround jumper in the lane ... Dwyane Wade was his typical explosive self. He raced in for a two-hand dunk set up off a steal from Mario Chalmers. Unfortunately, Chalmers got called out by the coaches for gambling and getting out of position before he made the steal. Evidently, he went about doing the right thing the wrong way ... Jamaal Magloire is still a beast at the basket. Wherever he goes, pain is certain to follow. There is no simple way to box out the Big Cat ... Daequan Cook, who appears to be ahead of Richardson as Wade's backup at shooting guard, struggled with his jumper. I remember him taking at least four or five, but can't recall one going down ... Shavlik Randolph will be difficult to cut if he defends the way he did Sunday. The former Duke big man drew two charges in five minutes ... Sunday's scary moment came when Wade drove along the wing and was inadvertently pummeled by Tolliver. Wade hit the deck and would get up slowly. But he would continue.

NEXT UP: Heat at Pistons, Monday. Preseason opener. 

(For live news, notes and updates on the Heat, follow me on Twitter @ twitter.com/wallacesports. To post a question or join our live Heat chat each Thursday from 1-2 p.m., click here.)




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