Heat Notes: Swider, Preseason, Adebayo, Bryant

Heat forward Cole Swider is making a case for the team’s open roster spot, earning buzz in training camp and then scoring 17 points in the fourth quarter of Miami’s preseason game against the Hornets on Tuesday. He’s aiming to be the next in a long line of undrafted success stories for the organization, following players like Duncan Robinson, Gabe Vincent and Max Strus.

Swider attributes some of his success in the NBA so far to Robinson, in particular, according to Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald. When Swider signed his two-way deal with the Lakers following the 2022 draft, Chiang writes, one of the first people he texted was Robinson.

I hit him up and I said, ‘Hey, man. I just want to say thank you,’” Swider said. “Because [Lakers general manager] Rob Pelinka had mentioned he passed up on Duncan in the pre-draft process and he didn’t want to let that happen again. So that was part of the reason that I got the two-way. So I just texted Duncan and I said, ‘Thank you.’

As Chiang writes, Robinson and Swider have followed similar career paths. Both players are shooters with size (Swider is 6’8″ and Robinson and 6’9″), both have their own podcasts, and both grew up in the New England area.

Duncan has been a great role model to me,” Swider said. “He’s obviously made it in this league. He’s made a lot of money in this league. He’s played in two NBA Finals and has gone on deep, deep playoff runs. So he’s been a great mentor to me and I’m going to keep picking his brain.

Robinson is looking to pass the baton and help turn Swider into a Heat rotation staple, according to Chiang, who notes that Robinson credited former teammates Wayne Ellington, James Johnson and Ryan Anderson as some veterans who helped him get acclimated to the team.

We have more notes from the Heat:

  • Almost all of Miami’s rotation regulars will miss Friday’s preseason tilt against the Spurs, Chiang writes in another piece. Only Thomas Bryant, Duncan Robinson, Orlando Robinson and Haywood Highsmith from the standard roster will travel, with the rest of the rotation fleshed out by the team’s Exhibit 10 and two-way players. This will give the Heat an opportunity to gather more information for their upcoming roster decisions, with players like Justin Champagnie and Alondes Williams among those looking to crack the team, Chiang notes. “They’ve been working their tails off, and I want to reward those guys for the work they’ve been putting in,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “They’ve earned these minutes. We also want to evaluate them.
  • Spoelstra was disappointed that Bam Adebayo didn’t receive more recognition on this year’s preseason survey of general managers. Adebayo did not receive a single vote for best defensive player in the NBA, but did receive the third-most votes for most versatile defender in the league, Chiang says in another Herald article. However, Adebayo brushed off the lack of votes in his favor. “They’re just mad because I be locking up their best player. That’s all that is,” Adebayo said.
  • The Heat have cycled through backup center options for Adebayo in recent seasons, including Cody Zeller and Dewayne Dedmon. Bryant is the next attempt at finding a viable backup for Adebayo, Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel opines. The big man posted 15 points and eight rebounds on Tuesday in the preseason, providing optimism that he could be a suitable piece for Miami, Winderman writes. “We’re all encouraged by it,” Spoelstra said. “He has a physical presence in the paint. But he has exceptional touch, as well. … He’s got a variety of different kinds of jump hooks or finishes at the rim. He’s been historically a very good finisher in the paint, so it’s not something new.
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