Haywood Highsmith

Heat Notes: Herro, Starting Five, Defense, Love, Bryant, More

While Thursday’s loss to the Sixers was a disappointing one, the Heat had a good day on Friday, writes Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald, as Tyler Herro returned following a 20-game absence and scored 17 points in a convincing, much-needed victory over Houston.

“It’s just great to have him back,” Erik Spoelstra said of Herro. “His head coach didn’t forget what he brings to the table. That skill level, the creativity, the speed, the quickness, all that stuff is what we need.”

Herro came off the bench for the first time this season in his return to the court, as the Heat stuck with a starting lineup of Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo, Terry Rozier, Duncan Robinson, and Nikola Jovic. No five-man unit has started more games (13) or played more minutes together (170) for Miami this season than that one.

However, the results for that group have been mixed, as Chiang observes, with a -4.9 overall net rating, so Spoelstra won’t necessarily feel the need to stick with it now that the team is healthier. Herro had started 103 consecutive regular season games prior to Friday — it could just be a matter of time before he returns to the starting lineup.

Here’s more on the Heat:

  • The Heat had another strong night defensively on Friday, according to Chiang, who wrote earlier this week about the way the team has been performing on that end of the court during the second half. Since January 30, the Heat rank second in the NBA (and first in the East) in defensive rating and have now moved up to No. 4 for the season. “It’s been a goal all season to get to top five and stay top five,” Caleb Martin said. “So it’s good that it’s starting to come around at the right time. I think that we always understand when it really comes down to it, that’s our ticket to winning the game, whether that’s in the playoffs or getting in a position to where we don’t have to worry about the play-in.”
  • Kevin Love, who has been back in the Heat’s rotation for the past three contests after missing 16 games due to a heel injury, went out of his way this week to praise his replacement, writes Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel. “You got to tip your hat to TB (Thomas Bryant). He’s been playing awesome,” Love said. Bryant has been a DNP-CD in the three games Love has played, but earned praise from Spoelstra as well for the minutes he gave the club during Love’s absence: “It takes a professional like Thomas to have an understanding of that, this is what depth is all about. And obviously we’ve used all of our depth. But the depth becomes more complex when you have more guys available. He really gave us such tremendous minutes the last six weeks when Kevin was out.”
  • Haywood Highsmith didn’t open the season as a regular rotation player for Miami, but has become a trusted contributor and played nearly 27 minutes on Friday even with Herro back and the roster relatively healthy. “He’s so inspiring right now,” Spoelstra said this week, per Winderman. “He just continues to grind, continues to work, continues to get better. And he just does all the little things for our team, to help you win. You need players like this to win in this league.” Highsmith will be an unrestricted free agent this summer if he doesn’t sign an extension by June 30.
  • While the Sioux Falls Skyforce were eliminated from the G League playoffs on Friday, the Heat’s NBAGL affiliate earned a pair of end-of-season awards earlier in the day. Two-way player Alondes Williams, who was the runner-up for the G League’s MVP award, was named the NBAGL Most Improved Player (Twitter link), while Skyforce general manager Eric Amsler was the league’s Executive of the Year (Twitter link).

Heat Notes: Lineup Combinations, Jaquez, Highsmith, Jovic

With their season disrupted by injuries, the Heat won’t be able to rely on continuity in the playoffs, but coach Erik Spoelstra thinks they might have something even better, writes Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. Miami has used 34 different starting lineups this season — trailing only Memphis and Portland — and Spoelstra believes it has been beneficial for so many players to receive important minutes.

“There’s always going to be a benefit,” he said. “A lot of guys get to step up and earn the opportunity to impact winning. The more players that can be engaged in a season and impact wins, that helps. Our versatility is super important for our team. So we feel like we’ve been able to weather some of the missed games.”

Chiang notes that the Heat only have one five-man group that has logged more than 100 minutes together. Terry Rozier, Duncan Robinson, Jimmy Butler, Nikola Jovic and Bam Adebayo have played 115 minutes as a unit, but they’ve been outscored by 4.2 points per 100 possessions.

One positive sign is that Butler, Adebayo and Tyler Herro were very effective in their 21 games together before Herro was sidelined with a foot injury last month. Groupings featuring those three are outscoring opponents by 5.1 points per 100 possessions, and Spoelstra will have a lot of options to surround them with once Herro returns.

“Some teams will be trying to throw different lineups and they’ve never played with each other,” Caleb Martin said. “There’s no way we throw a lineup out there now that hasn’t played with each other. So that’s definitely going to come to our benefit eventually. Obviously, it’s been a struggle during the regular season. But around this time of the year, it’s going to benefit us.”

There’s more from Miami:

  • Jaime Jaquez was added to the injury list on Sunday with discomfort in his left knee and ankle, Chiang states in a separate story. There’s no immediate prognosis on Jaquez, but the Heat hope to have him back before the end of the regular season, along with Herro, Robinson and Kevin Love, who also sat out the game.
  • Haywood Highsmith provided a lift by hitting his first five shots from the field and making all four of his three-point attempts, notes Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel. The outburst was welcome, as Highsmith had only reached double figures in scoring one time since February 26.
  • Jovic feels fortunate to be learning about the NBA from Spoelstra, tweets Brady Hawk of Five Reasons Sports. “He wants me to be great,” Jovic said. “And I appreciate that.”

Heat Notes: Robinson, Herro, Jovic, Highsmith, Martin, Swider

If the Heat manage to reach the playoffs, they may head into the postseason with at least one starting position unsettled, writes Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. It’s not clear who would start at shooting guard, especially if Duncan Robinson returns from his back issues before Tyler Herro recovers from his foot injury.

Jackson notes that lineups with Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo and Robinson have fared better than those with Butler, Adebayo and Herro, but only slightly. Both Robinson and Herro provide floor spacing, which has been missing from Miami’s offense during their absence.

“You can’t replace a guy like Duncan who shoots from anywhere, and Tyler, who creates his own shot, and the leadership of (Kevin Love),” Adebayo said.

The Heat have tried several options this season at power forward, although Jackson points out that Nikola Jovic has started the last 14 games when he’s been available. However, Haywood Highsmith has been more productive with Butler and Adebayo, and Caleb Martin has also seen significant minutes alongside the two stars. Coach Erik Spoelstra seems to be committed to using Jovic as the starter because of the overall effect he has on the offense.

“The one thing I do know is they both have great skill levels,” Spoelstra said. “And it’s almost inverted with us, when two bigs can handle. They both can pass. They both can make plays. They can both finish at the rim. And they both feel very comfortable just being facilitators.”

There’s more from Miami:

  • Robinson has been ruled out for Sunday’s game with Cleveland, but his back is feeling much better, Jackson states in a separate story. Robinson got a positive report from a back specialist after being sent home early from a road trip on Monday. “Thankful it’s not too serious,” he said. “Big thing is making sure [to] calm it down. It’s flared up right now. I’m trying to play as soon as I possibly can. Itching to be back out there. As soon as I get the clear and OK, I’ll be back out there. Taking a couple days helps a lot. The recovery and treatment has helped as well as other things.”
  • Friday’s game with the Pelicans was much calmer than the teams’ February meeting, which resulted in four ejections and five suspensions, Jackson adds. Spoelstra said before the game that he didn’t expect any bad feelings from the scuffle to carry over. “It’s all behind us,” he said. “This was nothing compared to the ’90s.”
  • Making his 12th appearance of the season on Friday night, two-way small forward Cole Swider went 4-of-6 from three-point range and scored 14 points in 18 minutes. Earlier this week, he told Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel that he’s ready to help fill the need for outside shooting. “This is what a two-way is for, is for moments like this when Duncan’s out, Tyler’s out,” Swider said.

Heat Notes: Rozier, Herro, Wright, Suspensions, Jovic, Jaquez

Terry Rozier will suit up for the Heat at Portland on Tuesday night after missing the previous four games with a sprained right knee, Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald reports. Rozier is averaging 12.6 points, 5.6 assists and 4.5 rebounds per contest since being acquired from Charlotte.

Miami will also have Jimmy Butler and Nikola Jovic back after they served one-game league suspensions on Monday. Tyler Herro (left knee hyperextension) will sit out once again. Herro was injured on Friday against New Orleans.

Herro underwent an MRI on his injured knee on Monday that showed no structural damage, according to Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel.

We have more on the Heat:

  • Delon Wright played a major role in the shorthanded team’s 121-110 victory over Sacramento on Monday night during his Heat debut, Chiang writes in a separate story. He contributed 13 points, two rebounds, five assists, two steals and one block in 35 minutes. Wright signed with Miami after being bought out by Washington. “The player of the game for us in the locker room was Delon,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “I don’t think his stat line was spectacular by people probably on the outside. But, man, he plays winning basketball.”
  • Wright adds depth at the guard spots but it will be tough for him to get consistent minutes when everyone’s healthy, Chiang notes in his latest mailbag. With eight other players locked into the rotation, Wright will have to fight for playing time with Josh Richardson, Haywood Highsmith and Jovic.
  • Going back to the altercation with the Pelicans, Spoelstra was grateful that more players weren’t suspended for leaving the bench area. He praised the NBA’s head of basketball operations, Joe Dumars, for not penalizing players who stayed out of the scuffle. “[Dumars] understands it from a player’s perspective and I think that’s really important,” Spoelstra told Chiang. “That it’s not letter of the law, it’s observing it, looking at it, seeing all the context of it and then making the best decision based on everybody’s parties. The league, No. 1, the players and teams.”
  • Jovic and Jaime Jaquez Jr. were mentioned prominently in trade rumors last summer when the Heat pursued Damian Lillard before the Trail Blazers dealt the perennial All-Star to Milwaukee. Both players spoke to Winderman about what might have been if a trade had gone through. “Me and Jaime were not the biggest pieces in the trade, but of course you think if you’re going to be in a package,” Jovic said.

Heat Notes: Adebayo, Jovic, Highsmith, Jaquez

Bam Adebayo admits he’s had a tough time adjusting to his new role as team captain, the Heat center told Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald. Adebayo says the leadership responsibilities have made his season much more challenging.

“You’ve got to understand how to translate messages to everybody because everybody is different and everybody has their own stuff going on,” Adebayo said. “I got my own stuff going on in my mind, how I want to play and how I want to affect the game. And 14 other guys do, too. So trying to get 14 other guys to buy into your message, how you’re saying it, get them to buy into what the coach is saying. It’s tough because guys got dilemmas, guys got feelings.”

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  • Adebayo only attempted two shots in the All-Star Game but he feels validated by the fact he’s been selected three times, Chiang writes in a separate story. “Respect, at the end of the day,” he said. “Being able to, obviously, get to this thing three times, you want it to become a routine. You want it to be an every year thing. For me, it’s just respect from all the coaches who voted me in and respect for who I am and what I do.”
  • Forward Nikola Jovic is trying to adjust to coach Erik Spoelstra’s rotation tinkering. Jovic had a 24-point outing against Milwaukee in a game shortly before the All-Star break. In other games, he barely sees the court. “The wild thing is I either start or I don’t play,” Jovic told Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel. Jovic said he’s happy for any opportunities he gets on a contending team.
  • A man who was seriously injured in a car accident when he was struck by Haywood Highsmith‘s vehicle has filed a civil lawsuit against the Heat forward, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald tweets. The man was helping another driver whose car was stuck in the middle of a dark road when he was struck by Highsmith’s vehicle. The victim remains hospitalized after a partial amputation of his leg.
  • Jaime Jaquez Jr. has been one of the league’s most productive rookies and The Ringer’s Wes Goldberg’s details how the former UCLA star has quickly endeared himself to the team’s coaches and players.

Heat Notes: Adebayo, Lowry, Roster Spot, Highsmith

Heat center Bam Adebayo faces a difficult path toward making an All-NBA team or earning Defensive Player of the Year honors, which would qualify him for a super-max contract that would be the richest in franchise history, according to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. Either achievement would make Adebayo eligible for a four-year extension this summer that would pay up to $245MM. Otherwise, his extension would be capped at three years and $152MM.

The league has changed its all-NBA structure so that the team is now positionless, meaning the top 15 vote-getters will be honored regardless of where they play. Jackson notes that under the old rules, Adebayo would have a decent chance at landing one of the three center spots, considering that Joel Embiid will miss the 65-game requirement and Anthony Davis and Kristaps Porzingis aren’t guaranteed to reach that mark either. Now Adebayo is competing with the entire league after ranking 27th overall in All-NBA balloting last season.

Adebayo is given the sixth-best odds for DPOY by Draft Kings and Fanduel, Jackson points out. Minnesota’s Rudy Gobert is seen as the clear favorite for that honor as the anchor for one of the league’s top defensive teams.

Jackson states that Adebayo turned down a two-year, $97MM extension last summer in hopes of qualifying for the super-max. His current contract runs through 2025/26.

There’s more on the Heat:

  • There was no reunion with Kyle Lowry in the Heat’s Wednesday win at Philadelphia, Jackson writes in a separate story. The former Miami point guard signed with his hometown Sixers after reaching a buyout with Charlotte, but he won’t join the team until after the All-Star break.
  • Miami is expected to fill its 15-man roster opening soon to avoid reaching the 90-game combined limit for its players on two-way contracts, Jackson adds.
  • Haywood Highsmith is grateful to have basketball as an escape as he deals with the aftermath of last week’s auto accident that left a man hospitalized, per Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel. “Basketball is my peace,” Highsmith said. “I wanted to get back with my teammates and my coaches, to be around them, so they can get my energy up. Obviously, it hasn’t been the easiest week or so for me, but I’m just taking it day by day, and being around my team has been very helpful. Being around my family, the coaching staff, everybody, has been very helpful. So the Heat culture, Heat family had my back, so I appreciate that.”
  • Bucks coach Doc Rivers was impressed by Miami’s ability to cultivate young talent after Jaime Jaquez and Nikola Jovic led the Heat to a win at Milwaukee Tuesday night, Winderman notes in another Sun Sentinel story. “Jaquez, I mean, he’s the perfect fit for who they are and how they want to be,” Rivers said. “You know, it’s funny, I think certain guys actually target them, ‘Man, I’d fit in this system.’ Utah did that for years with Jerry Sloan. They kept doing it. And Miami’s doing it. But it’s more about their system and how they play, and how they target. But both of those guys are fun to watch.”

Southeast Notes: Highsmith, Rozier, Jones, Wright, Magic, Forrest

Heat swingman Haywood Highsmith has been cited for careless driving after being involved in a car accident that left a man hospitalized, reports Angie DiMichele of The Sun Sentinel. The citation is not considered criminal, but Highsmith was described in a police report as driving in a “careless or negligent manner,” per DiMichele.

Highsmith’s agent Jerry Dianis issued a statement describing the circumstances of the accident.

“At approximately 11:20 pm, Haywood struck a pedestrian pushing an unlit disabled car down the middle of a dark road,” Dianis said. “Haywood immediately rushed to help the person pushing the car who had been injured. Haywood assisted a bystander who applied a tourniquet to the injury and stayed on the scene talking to the injured man offering words of comfort until an ambulance took him to the hospital.

“Mr. Highsmith had not consumed alcohol or drugs and was not speeding. This was an unfortunate accident. We have been notified that the person sustained significant injuries but is in stable condition. Haywood and his family are praying for him. Haywood is of course shaken by this and appreciates the support and prayers he has received from the Miami Heat and fans.”

Highsmith returned to Heat practice on Friday after missing Wednesday’s game in the wake of the incident.

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • Terry Rozier was acquired by the Heat on January 23, but due to the nature of the team’s in-season schedule, he didn’t take part in a full practice with his new club until Friday, writes Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel. “It feels good just to get up and down with these guys and put a lot more things in that we can get better at in the game,” Rozier said after the session.
  • Josh Robbins of The Athletic takes a look at why the Wizards‘ trade deadline was quieter than anticipated, with guards Tyus Jones and Delon Wright among the trade candidates who stayed put. Teams were only willing to offer second-round picks for Jones, Robbins reports, so Washington decided to hang onto him and will strongly consider re-signing him in free agency this summer. Robbins adds that the offers for Wright were “underwhelming” and would’ve required the Wizards to take on salary beyond this season.
  • Franz Wagner has no problem with the Magic opting to stand pat at the trade deadline, telling Jason Beede of The Orlando Sentinel (Twitter link) that he views it as a sign of trust from the front office.
  • The Hawks will have to make a decision soon on guard Trent Forrest, tweets Brad Rowland of Locked on Hawks. As Rowland explains, despite only appearing in 19 games so far, Forrest has been active for 49 — players on two-way contracts are limited to a maximum of 50. Atlanta would have to promote Forrest to its standard roster, which is currently full, to allow him to exceed that limit.

Haywood Highsmith Involved In Car Accident

5:08pm: Highsmith struck a person who was helping a driver whose car was stuck in the middle of the road, Jackson states in a full story, citing a report by Miami radio reporter Andy Slater. The victim had his leg partially amputated and is listed in critical condition, according to Slater. Highsmith wasn’t arrested and is expected to return to the team soon, Jackson adds.

4:50pm: Haywood Highsmith will miss tonight’s game after being involved in an auto accident after Tuesday’s contest, the Heat announced in a press release.

“We have been made aware that Highsmith was involved in a car accident heading home from last night’s game,” a statement from the team reads. “Highsmith is listed as out for tonight’s contest against the San Antonio Spurs due to Personal Reasons. Our hearts go out to those who were injured. We will have no further comment at this time.”

Highsmith didn’t suffer any significant injuries in the crash, according to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald (Twitter link). No details have been released about the extent of injuries to anyone else involved, but Jackson states that no one was killed.

The 27-year-old combo forward has seen his role shift frequently throughout his third season in Miami. He has started 24 of the 37 games he has appeared in, but his playing time has declined recently as the roster has gotten healthier. Highsmith was on the court for just three minutes in Tuesday’s blowout win over Orlando.

Heat Notes: Losing Streak, Rozier, Rotation, Jaquez

The Heat are fully healthy for the first time all season, but their long losing streak continues, writes Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. Apart from guard Dru Smith, who underwent season-ending knee surgery in December, Miami had a complete roster available for this afternoon’s game in New York. So it was discouraging that the Heat weren’t able to remain competitive against a potential playoff rival, falling 125-109 for their first six-game losing skid in nearly three years.

“Look, right now we’re going to rally around each other, rally around our identity,” coach Erik Spoelstra told reporters. “It’s a tough time right now.”

Miami is 0-3 since acquiring Terry Rozier from Charlotte on Tuesday in a move to add another weapon to the offense. Rozier is struggling badly with his shot since the trade, connecting at just 30.3% from the field and 18.2% from long distance.

“He’ll figure it out,” Spoelstra said. “He’s trying to fit in and I get that. We’re all saying the same thing. We want Terry to be Terry. He’s going to unlock other things for us.”

There’s more on the Heat:

  • Rozier started for the second straight game, alongside Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo, Tyler Herro and Haywood Highsmith. Spoelstra used Kevin Love, Duncan Robinson, Jaime Jaquez and Caleb Martin off the bench in the first look at what his rotation might be with everyone available. Chiang notes that Josh Richardson picked up his first DNP-CD of the season, while center Thomas Bryant also didn’t play.
  • Jaquez returned after missing the previous six games with a strained groin, Chiang adds. He provided six points and four assists in about 24 minutes and played 7:33 in the fourth quarter until the game got out of hand. “There are definitely some things defensively that he needs to fast track on and he knows that,” Spoelstra said. “But offensively, you can definitely see some of the intangibles that he brings. He just has a knack for the play, a knack for getting us some rim pressure and we need a lot more of that.”
  • Today’s loss shows the Heat need to add size before the trade deadline to have a shot at another long playoff run, states Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. He observes that Miami was outrebounded 29-19 in the first half and frequently had to throw double teams at Julius Randle, leading to open three-point shots.

Heat Notes: Jaquez, Spoelstra, Jovic, Wade

Jaime Jaquez didn’t travel with the Heat for their two-game road trip after suffering a left groin strain Sunday night, according to Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. The rookie forward is the only player on the roster who hasn’t missed time this season, but that will change after he was injured on a dunk attempt in the first quarter.

“When I went up for the dunk in transition, I just didn’t feel that well when I took off,” Jaquez said. “It totally started to get worse throughout the duration of the game.”

Jaquez tried to play through the pain, but after talking to assistant coach Caron Butler, he decided to sit out the rest of the game as Haywood Highsmith took his place in Miami’s starting lineup for the second half. Jaquez also suffered a groin strain that forced him to miss two weeks during the preseason, but he doesn’t believe this one is as severe.

“I would say I don’t think it’s as bad,” Jaquez said. “I think especially since we’re on it very early, I’m going to make a very quick and smooth recovery. A lot of prevention is what we’re looking at right now.”

There’s more from Miami:

  • Coach Erik Spoelstra sees a bright side to the continuing injury issues, saying they have brought a unique focus to the team, Winderman adds in a separate story. As an example, he points to forward Caleb Martin, who returned Friday after his second extended absence of the season. “Guys like Caleb, he wants to gobble up any minute of this type of environment that he can right now,” Spoelstra said. “And the underlying benefit of all this, without anybody having to talk about it, nobody’s taking any of this for granted. When you’re out and you want to play, you’re incredibly grateful to do what we get to do and compete at a high level.”
  • Nikola Jovic is learning how he can help the team during his greatest stretch of playing time since entering the NBA, per Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. Injuries have provided a rare opportunity for the second-year forward, who was hurt for most of his rookie year and was barely used in the first 30 games of this season. “Defensively, I still need a lot of work. I feel like I’ve improved a lot because I’m working on it,” Jovic said. “But I still feel like I’m not there. As someone who is 6-foot-10, I think I can do a lot more. Those things are going to keep me on the court and those are the things that (Spoelstra) talks about and those are things that are important.”
  • Team president Pat Riley announced on Sunday that the Heat will build a statue of Hall of Famer Dwyane Wade outside their arena, writes David Wilson of The Miami Herald.