The precarious nature of a bubble environment could force the Heat to rely on young players who haven’t seen much court time so far, notes Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. The team is intrigued by the development of second-round pick KZ Okpala, who missed the early part of the season with a strained Achilles tendon but showed promise in 20 G League games and five games with Miami.
“Once mid-January came around, we saw the strides,” said Adam Simon, vice president/basketball operations and assistant general manager. “He was feeling more comfortable with the ball in his hands. The game was slowing down for him. The greatest things he was doing were on the defensive end, making an impact guarding multiple positions. At times, he was switched onto (centers), guarding both forward positions, being versatile, doing a great job on the glass. All those things were positives.”
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- Jackson also looks at two-way players Gabe Vincent and Kyle Alexander, who were both dealing with knee injuries when the G League season was cut short. The NBA has discussed making two-way players eligible for the postseason this year. Simon proclaims Vincent “good to go,” while Alexander is expected to be ready if the season resumes at the end of July. “(Vincent) was determined to not use (the injury) as an excuse,” Simon said of the rookie point guard. “He has the qualities we looked for — being a real gym rat, a real hard working kid with great character, well liked wherever he’s been, good teammate, unselfish.”
- Kendrick Nunn admits he hit the “rookie wall” as the season dragged on, writes Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel. Rest from the hiatus should benefit Nunn, who has never had to deal with the rigors of an NBA schedule. “One thing that I want to improve on going into my second season is how I maintain my body, to be able to be prepared for that full season,” he said. “There was a time in this season where I felt my body had hit a wall, and that’s just because I wasn’t used to playing that many games.”
- Bam Adebayo has concerns about the possible spread of COVID-19 no matter when the season resumes, according to The Associated Press, saying the conditions surrounding the game are naturally unsanitary. “Some players like Steve Nash used to lick his hands,” Adebayo said. “Some people still have that in their routine. Some people wipe the sweat off their face and put it on the ball. It’s going to be weird how they try to control it, because we have to touch each other. And then you have to worry about the family members that we may be touching.”