Heat coach Erik Spoelstra discussed many training camp-related topics this week, including who may start at power forward this season, Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald writes. As of now, it seems unlikely Jimmy Butler will slide up to the four.
“My thing with that is I would love to be able to, at some point in Jimmy’s career, just start him at all five positions,” Spoelstra joked. “I’ve already started him at point guard. I’ve started him at his natural position, the three. I’ve started him at the two. I’ve definitely played him at the four, and he’ll play some four this year, not likely starting him there.
“But, man, that’d be cool to start him at the four at some point, whether it’s this year or the future. And then, for sure, start him at the five. That would be a great legacy. But Jimmy is a brilliant competitor and basketball player. He’ll make it work no matter what position we have him at. But playing him at his strengths is important to him and to me and to the team.”
As Chiang notes, Butler has already made it clear that he doesn’t want to replace P.J. Tucker at the four. Other contenders for the team’s power forward spot include Caleb Martin, Haywood Highsmith and Bam Adebayo — though Adebayo would only make sense if Omer Yurtseven or Dewayne Dedmon start at center.
Here are some other notes from Miami today:
- Spoelstra appreciates the “ambition” of so many players who want to start this season, Chiang writes in a separate article for the Miami Herald. Other potential starters include Tyler Herro, Victor Oladipo, Duncan Robinson and Max Strus — all of whom believe they’re worthy of that role. Herro easily has the best case, averaging 20.7 points on his way to winning the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year award last season.
- Martin, who also spoke about the team’s open starting forward slot, suggested that anyone who questions his ability to fill the role is showing some disrespect. “To me, it’s kind of a sign of disrespect a little bit that people are so worried about it,” he said, as relayed by Anthony Chiang. Of course, Martin is only 6’5″ and 205 pounds, so it’s understandable for fans to question whether he can play heavy minutes at power forward.
- Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald examines a number of Heat topics, including why Udonis Haslem doesn’t want to get into coaching. Haslem is entering his 20th NBA season. He has served as a valuable locker room presence in recent years, but has only played a combined 18 games over the past three seasons.