The Heat still have one of the three worst records in the NBA, as our 2016/17 Reverse Standings show, but the team is on an out-of-nowhere four-game winning streak, prompting Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald to take a closer look at the primary contributors during the run. Jackson identifies a mix of younger players making a strong impression – such as Rodney McGruder, Okaro White, and Willie Reed – along with veterans who may end up being trade candidates for the club, like Dion Waiters and Luke Babbitt.
Here’s more on those players, along with a few more Heat notes:
- Tyler Johnson isn’t traveling with the Heat this week on their two-game trip to Brooklyn and Chicago, but he doesn’t believe his left shoulder injury is serious, adding that it won’t require surgery. “I still think it’s day to day,” Johnson said, according to Jackson. “It’s not so much pain. More irritation.”
- In a Monday mailbag, Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel explores whether it makes more sense for the Heat to hang onto the surging Dion Waiters as part of their long-term plan or to seriously explore moving him at the trade deadline.
- As Winderman details for The Sun Sentinel, head coach Erik Spoelstra had plenty of praise for Okaro White, who is currently with the team as a 16th man. “We like his DNA, the fabric that it brings,” Spoelstra said of the undrafted rookie. “He’s not afraid of the moment. But he’s also trained with us. If he didn’t have that background of summer league, being here all summer, training camp and developing with us, I wouldn’t feel any kind of comfort level throwing him out there like that.”
- While Heat president Pat Riley has completed successful roster revamps in the post, he has a “big challenge ahead” this time around, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said on Monday (link via Dave Hyde of The South Florida Sun Sentinel). As Kerr notes, when Golden State made its summer pitch to Kevin Durant, the presence of stars like Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green moved the needle significantly — Miami didn’t have that kind of player in attendance at its meeting with Durant.