Heat Notes: Dragic, Spoelstra, Ellington, Winslow

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra is visiting point guard Goran Dragic in Slovenia this weekend to talk about changes in the wake of the loss of Dwyane Wade, according to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. Dragic is expected to become more of a focus in Miami’s offense with Wade leaving for Chicago in free agency. Jackson notes that in the games Dragic has played without Wade during his time with the Heat, his scoring average rose from 14.8 points per game to 17.6 and his assist average increased from 5.7 to 6.6, but his shooting dropped from 48.3 percent to 43.2 percent. In a video released by the team Friday, Spoelstra said he wants to adjust the offense to maximize Dragic’s abilities. “Goran is one of the best fast-break, transition point guards in this game,” the coach said. “He will force tempo regardless of how you want to play or how you want to defend. Goran is going to run. … You don’t find many players that can attack, that can play fast, that can make other players better in that type of game. And he’s relentless in getting to the rim. And Goran is that kind of player. And I think young players gravitate to Goran. They want to play that style.”

There’s more out of Miami:

  • Free agent addition Wayne Ellington hopes to make Hassan Whiteside a better passer next season, writes Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. The 28-year-old shooting guard, who got more than $12MM over two seasons to leave Brooklyn for Miami, thinks his 3-point range will provide an opportunity for Whiteside to increase his assist total. The newly re-signed center has handed out just 35 assists over the past two seasons and ranked 80th among centers in 2015/16 in points created off assists.
  • The departure of Luol Deng and lingering concerns about the health of Chris Bosh have seemingly opened a starting spot for Justise Winslow, Winderman notes in the same piece. Winslow averaged 6.4 points and 5.2 rebounds as a rookie last season in 78 games, mostly as a reserve. But Deng signed with the Lakers in free agency and questions remain about the availability of Bosh, whose last two seasons were cut short by blood clots. That creates an opportunity for Winslow, who is among the few holdovers after an offseason of change in Miami. “He’s going to find a way to make an impact on the game,” Spoelstra said. “And he’s going to do it in winning fashion. It might be defensively; it might be offensively. It might be leadership. All of that is far ahead of his age.”

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