Southeast Notes: Lowry, Haslem, Poole, Wright, Griffin

With guard Tyler Herro out for at least the next two weeks, the Heat want to see a more aggressive version of veteran guard Kyle Lowry, according to Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald.

Lowry has been effective for the Heat, averaging 6.9 points, 5.3 assists and 4,9 rebounds per game while leading the team in deflections and drawn charges. However, he’s only taking 5.8 shots per night, his lowest output since the 2008/09 season.

At this point in his career, it’s all about winning,” coach Erik Spoelstra said. “That’s what I really love about Kyle. He’ll sacrifice points, he’ll sacrifice stats. He does so many other things that impact winning. With that said, I don’t want him to be an afterthought, either. His aggressiveness and finding those moments in between where he can create some chaos is one of the greatest strengths that he’s had over the course of his entire career.

Lowry has just a 10.6 usage percentage, Chiang adds, which is not only the lowest of any Heat player this season but would also be the lowest in his career.

But Kyle is smart and he knows his aggressiveness is important to our team,” Spoelstra said. “The aggressiveness comes from the attacks, getting in the paint. But also being a recipient behind the three-point line and aggressively hunting those open catch-and-shoot threes. That’s really important for our team. It’s part of his brilliance. He’s been able to find ways to be effective on the ball or off the ball, and that’s important for our team.

Herro currently leads the Heat in shot attempts and points, so there’s plenty of production left to pick up for Lowry and the Heat’s other guards. Lowry, 37, is in the final season of a three-year, $85MM contract.

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • Udonis Haslem played for the Heat for 20 years, officially retiring after the conclusion of the 2022/23 season. Haslem stuck around Miami, helping players at practice and then taking on the role of vice president of basketball development. According to the South Florida Sun Sentinel’s Ira Winderman, Haslem isn’t allowed to unretire and suit up for the Heat as a player now that he’s receiving a salary in a front office role, something the big man was unaware of. “I didn’t know that. But I don’t miss it. I wasn’t planning on that. I’m fine with that,” Haslem said.
  • Wizards guard Jordan Poole is taking what he learned from the Warriors to Washington, he told Yahoo Sports’ Jake Fischer in an interview. After winning a championship with the Warriors in 2022, Poole is getting the chance to help lead a team, something that always intrigued him, according to Fischer. “Obviously, I wanted to be in a position to have my own team, and then if it did come, how would I go about that?” Poole said. “Luckily, I’m able to do that so young, after learning from some of the best. It’s cool. It’s a smooth transition. We’re building everything from scratch, essentially. Building up a new foundation. Everything in Golden State was already established, so we kinda had to fit into the mold that they have there.
  • Wizards guard Delon Wright exited Friday’s game against the Hornets with a left knee injury, according to the team (Twitter link). According to The Athletic’s Josh Robbins, Wright won’t play in Washington’s games on Sunday in Brooklyn or Monday in Toronto and will undergo further testing to determine the severity of the injury (Twitter link).
  • Following a promising rookie season in which he immediately impacted the Hawks rotation, AJ Griffin hasn’t played much in his sophomore year. Griffin averaged 8.9 points in 19.5 minutes across 72 games (12 starts) last year compared to 3.2 points in 9.2 minutes this year. Head coach Quin Snyder explained that Griffin is working on his defense. “I think not just AJ, we want growth from others,” Snyder said, per Lauren L. Williams  of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Twitter links). “As I’ve said before, sometimes minutes are hard to come by with this group… I think he’s focused.”
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