NBA

Need to play four? The heat can live without it

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As for the Miami Heat’s roster and rotation for the upcoming season, it’s largely been a month that’s focused on four games, like figuring out who the team’s starting forward will be.

For weeks, there has been the lament of 2021-22 starter PJ Tucker fleeing to the Philadelphia 76ers in free agency.

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From there, attention turned to the re-signing of undersized Caleb Martin, the development of unproven Haywood Highsmith to the summer league, and the ongoing storyline of more minutes for Omer Yurtseven no tested.

For their part, Martin and Highsmith noted their deep dives into Tucker’s style of play and how they hope to emulate the 37-year-old veteran. For his part, Yurtseven insisted on proving his worth as a complement to starting center Bam Adebayo.

Then, while making an appearance at Heat’s youth clinic at Hard Rock Stadium as part of the build-up to the Rolling Loud music festival, Adebayo addressed the, well, lack of elephant in the room by addressing the opportunities for 6-foot-5, 205-pound Martin as a starting forward.

“Everyone on our roster has been asked to do something they’re not comfortable with or take on a role they’ve never played,” Adebayo said. “And a lot of guys have excelled, because we put so much work into it and we put so much dedication into it, that it’s our job, it’s our livelihood.

“So the guys come in, trying to make the best impression the way they can. So I think it will. I know Caleb, he’s probably somewhere in the gym right now. I have a feeling he’s going to do well. »

All the talk and speculation probably makes Erik Spoelstra’s head explode. He of course believes in positionless basketball, that there are no strong forwards, because there are no positions, no boundaries.

In that context, if Martin starts, it’s going to be the Heat starting whatever you want to call them.

And that’s the problem, if you run through the list of current NBA starting forwards, many have the size, skill and shooting menu that they might as well be defended by Jimmy Butler (or maybe even Max Strus, should he remain an entry).

Take the Eastern Conference, with 52 of the Heat’s regular season games and the first three rounds of the playoffs against that subset.

Yes, there are definitely exceptions like Al Horford with the Boston Celtics, Giannis Antetokounmpo with the Milwaukee Bucks, maybe John Collins of the Atlanta Hawks (who largely tends to float on the perimeter).

Otherwise, there are and will be lots of little forwards, jumps, perimeter types thrown to the four in the East.

With the Brooklyn Nets, you’re talking about Kevin Durant (if he stays) or maybe Ben Simmons (whose last incarnation was a point guard).

With the Philadelphia 76ers, that would be undersized Tucker or, again, Tobias Harris.

With the Toronto Raptors, it looks like OG Anunoby or even some Scottie Barnes or Thaddeus Young.

With the Chicago Bulls, he currently settles under the name of Patrick Williams.

With the Charlotte Hornets, who seem to have passed Montrezl Harrell and have uncertainty with Miles Bridges, the answer could be PJ Washington.

With the New York Knicks, who knows where Julius Randle is heading, a potential one-year wonder.

And it continues in the conference, from Jalen Smith with the Indiana Pacers to Kyle Kuzma of the Washington Wizards, passing through the improvised youth of Paolo Banchero (or Jonathan Isaac) with the Orlando Magic, Evan Mobley with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

This isn’t the Western Conference, where opposing power forwards are the size of Christian Wood, Aaron Gordon, Anthony Davis, Karl-Anthony Towns, Zion Williamson, Chet Holmgren.

So you need a power attacker prototype in the East. . . because?

Many of the aforementioned Eastern power forwards would be the very types that Martin would typically receive minutes against, players who can also arguably be defended (and smothered) by Butler.

So who is the Heat’s starting forward?

Does it matter?

For years Spoelstra told us that there were no strong attackers.

For years, Spoelstra’s approach has been that of a coach who doesn’t believe in big things in his power rotation.

And last year Spoelstra started a 6-foot-5 power forward

Yes, Durant in Heat colors would render the debate moot.

But even with what the Heat have put together, there are plenty of answers in the East.

Four pieces ? The exercise was apparently just a tease.

Miami Heat Source

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Find out what’s buzzing about the Miami Heat, including game analysis, roster changes and more inside information.

IN THE WAY

ACT II? : After taking part in the Jr. Heat basketball clinic at Hard Rock Stadium ahead of this weekend’s Rolling Loud music festival, Heat guard Victor Oladipo was asked about the possibility of reprising his character from Thingamajig since his appearance in The Masked Singer. “I wouldn’t mind putting on the Thingamajig mask and taking a small step forward for the crowd. I think that would be good. Maybe I could get a spot in the rotation,” he joked. “There’s never room for Thingamajig, just being real.” Matt Zingler, a Rolling Loud founder who helped coordinate the Heat’s clinic, said he saw the natural crossover between music and sports. “A lot of athletes want to be musicians,” he said. “A lot of musicians want to be athletes. So there is a lot of respect in the industries.

STILL PUSHING: Bam Adebayo might prove able to rise above last season’s disappointment of losing Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals to the Celtics, but he’s apparently not letting up on being beaten for the defensive end of the league. year of the NBA over the past two seasons by Smart Marcus and Rudy Gobert. “I should have won it in the last two years,” Adebayo told campers gathered at the Heat’s youth clinic when asked about his ongoing goals, “and I will win it this year.” Caesar’s Sports Book has Adebayo as the second choice, at +700, to win the 2023 NBA Defensive Player of the Year, behind only Gobert (+550), well ahead of Smart (+1000).

GO FORWARD : Despite the strong guard game Kyle Allman Jr. for the summer league team roster, the Heat expect Allman to continue his commitment to his French League team. Allman concluded the summer league by converting the game-winning 3-pointer against the Clippers’ summer roster. The 6-foot-3 guard who was not drafted from Cal-Fullerton in 2019 said during summer league that he was keeping his options open. “I’m open to anything,” he said. “I can go back to Paris. Obviously, we’re still negotiating stuff, but I’m open to anything right now. Allman said it was a rewarding experience. “They like me and I thought it was a good opportunity to play with them to show what I can do,” he said. “And they gave me the opportunity to play point guard, shooter and show off my skills. So it was kind of like a mutual [agreement].”

GO FORWARD : The year of the roller coaster for Kyle Guy now includes a contract to play in Spain with Joventut Badalona. Guy last August played in summer league for the Golden State Warriors, followed by camp with the Cleveland Cavaliers, and started last season with the Cleveland Charge of the G League. He then made an instant impact as an emergency addition to Heat during the team’s COVID outbreak in late December, scoring 17 points on his debut. From there, he was given another 10-day Heat contract, then a two-way Heat contract on January 17, until he was waived on March 24, when he was waived and replaced with a waiver. from. Mychal Mulder. Guy finished the season in the G League.

NUMBER

50. Over-under betting line on Heat’s 2022-23 regular season wins, by BetOnLine. The Heat’s opening line was set at 48 1/2 last season, with the Heat closing at 53-29. Unlike other teams who are rumored to be tied to potentially franchise-altering deals before the season, Heat’s forward totals remain listed in most books. BetOnLine lists “Off the board” as the current futures contract totals for the Lakers, Knicks, Jazz and Nets.

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