A: Yeah, no. The NBA is still a league about top-tier talent, and the Heat feature that with Jimmy Butler, Kyle Lowry and Bam Adebayo. While depth and development could be concerns during the regular season, this is a team with ample playoff depth, when the rotation tightens.
A: Yes, I still believe Avery Bradley would have been worth a second look, and the Heat over the years certainly have offered plenty of second looks (even more with Michael Beasley). But the Heat have been steadfast with their beliefs that it is important to remain below the tax and that they have enough at point guard.
Q: This is a classic case of hindsight being 20-20, but also of the pressures of being pressed by outside interests. In retrospect, in a perfect world the Heat could have waited on the full guarantee to Omer Yurtseven and the two-way to Marcus Garrett. But with Yurtseven having gotten off to such a strong start to summer league, it was either sign him then to a standard contract or potentially lose him to another team.
A: Perhaps one day. Perhaps sooner than expected. But not at the moment. And that is why, in part, Duncan Robinson got his huge payday this offseason, because this is a team in win-now mode. When you have 35-year-old Kyle Lowry for only three seasons, you have to make each of them count.
A: Because, in theory, he is the Heat’s backup point guard and he displayed surprising defensive efficiency last season. And he did a decent job of setup man Thursday in Atlanta, with his 10 assists (to just two turnovers). But it is difficult, based on this preseason showing, to place him ahead of any of at least 10 Heat players when it comes to the regular-season rotation, when counting Jimmy Butler, Kyle Lowry, Bam Adebayo, Duncan Robinson, P.J.
A: The Eastern Conference certainly is not as once thought. But it also is interesting how seemingly everyone overlooks the defending-champion Bucks, who have gone through the preseason sans drama and appear to be a clear frontrunner. As for the Nets, I’m not sure that a roster with Kevin Durant, James Harden, Joe Harris, Patty Mills, Blake Griffin, LaMarcus Aldridge and Paul Millsap, among others, still isn’t at least second-best on the East.
A: And? So? To paraphrase a previous basketball quote, we’re talking preseason, preseason. When it comes to exhibition games, when in doubt, sit them out. Even before the absences, the first two of which were the decision of Erik Spoelstra, the optimal scenario would have been a pair of dress rehearsals.
A: We did. He loves the game and his teammates love him. Sometimes you have to move past the cap, the tax, the roster and any of the personnel issues, and simply consider the person. I agree. Yes, it is unusual how the Heat have decided to utilize that roster spot.
A: I agree with you that Tyler Herro is trending in a very positive direction this preseason. But I disagree about your take in regard to Tyler playing at point guard. I believe that is part of the reason his play went sideways last season. Even Thursday in Houston, when Kyle Lowry went out and Tyler entered, it was Jimmy Butler who assumed the playmaking and ballhandling roles.
A: First, we are one game into a six-game Heat exhibition schedule and one week into a three-week preseason, so it is a bit early to be drawing such definitive conclusions. Beyond that, KZ Okpala’s salary is guaranteed whether on the roster or cut.
A: I hardly would classify Jimmy Butler as a ball stopper, because it’s Jimmy’s hands where you eventually want to the ball to be. But you do raise a legitimate question about whether playing at pace is necessarily in Jimmy’s best interest, considering the way he maneuvers his way to the rim, into the paint and to the foul line.
A: First, never overstate anything from a preseason game. Second, never understate the impact of Kyle Lowry. It wasn’t just his seven assists in his 14:36 of action, which should put him nicely at 24 assists per 48 minutes, but also how he orchestrated.
A: And, from this point forward, I now know to forward all criticism of Bam Adebayo to “Ask Matt.” All are points well made. Actually, the Adebayo questions should not be questions of Bam at all, but rather questions about his position/positioning.
A: And I also was cautionary during summer league, even when Omer Yurtseven was dominating in Sacramento and Las Vegas. This is a whole different, even going against NBA-level talent during Friday’s intrasquad scrimmage. It was one thing putting up numbers with Oklahoma City’s G League team in that bubble last February, or with the Heat in summer league.
A: Actually, I believe what has been most limiting to this point is the responsibility of playing as a point center. It is difficult to have eyes on the rim when you also have to have eyes on your teammates. The arrival of Kyle Lowry should alleviate some of that.
A: That, of course, starts with Duncan Robinson, which has plenty to do with why he was extended his five-year, $90 million free-agent contract this offseason. As I noted in my piece on Duncan, it’s not if he shoots .446 on 3-pointer like he did two seasons ago or .408 like he did last season, it’s that he is viewed such a threat that he draws the attention of the entire opposing defense.
A: This was in response to Jimmy Butler saying at Tuesday’s first training-camp practice that the Heat are, and have to be, about more than a Big Three, even with himself Kyle Lowry and Bam Adebayo featured. And if the Heat truly view themselves as contenders, then it has to be that way, with the Nets and Bucks having lapped the Heat when it comes to quality of Big Threes.
A: I can appreciate the perspective, after the massive flameout by Jimmy Butler in last season’s playoffs. But I’m not sure you ever have to question Jimmy’s fire. The root of his drive comes from far more than a single, four-game sweep.
A: This was in response to noticing and noting that the 2022 NBA trading deadline has formally been set for Feb. 10. And, yes, I would assume at least by then there will be far more clarity about where the Wizards stand with Bradley Beal (and perhaps the Trail Blazers with Damian Lillard).
A: Shockingly, 34 seasons into this, the Heat still aren’t soliciting the opinions of sports writers on such matters. Whatever. But, yes, I was a fan of last offseason’s addition of Avery Bradley and a supporter during his injury-marred tenure with the Heat.