Based on their offseason moves, the Heat certainly don’t appear to be focusing on playing any smaller during the 2020/21 season, writes Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel.
As Winderman observes, the club drafted Precious Achiuwa with its first-round pick, re-signed Meyers Leonard and Udonis Haslem, extended Bam Adebayo, and didn’t trade Kelly Olynyk after he picked up his player option. Chris Silva is also back on a guaranteed salary, with undrafted free agent Paul Eboua vying for a two-way contract.
“I feel like it’ll work because we brought back a lot of skilled big men,” Adebayo said on Sunday. “All of us are versatile. When you got bigs that are versatile, that can help the team and help the guards do different things, it just makes our team better. … Then you have two of us out there on the court at the same time, it’s a big difference. I feel like us being so versatile at the big spot is going to help us out a lot this year.”
Despite the Heat’s size up front, the team is confident it’ll be able to comfortably adjust against any team playing small ball.
“Just because some of us are big men doesn’t necessarily mean we’re put in a box and, ‘Oh, man, if a team goes small, there’s nothing we can do about it,'” Leonard said. “No, no, we still have plenty of athleticism, plenty of versatility at the big position and all the way throughout our roster.”
Here’s more on the Heat:
- Discussing the Heat’s new free agent additions, head coach Erik Spoelstra referred to Avery Bradley and Maurice Harkless as “plug-and-play guys” and said the team has been fans of both players “for a while,” as Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald writes. “The way they play, they can fit in really in anybody’s system,” Spoelstra said of the two veteran wings.
- Within that same Herald story, Spoelstra explained that Precious Achiuwa‘s improvement over the course of his freshman year at Memphis and a belief that his game will translate to the next level were factors in the Heat’s decision to draft him at No. 20. “His athleticism, his quickness, his fluidity, his ability to play multiple positions jumped off the screen,” Spoelstra added, per Chiang.
- After beginning individual workouts last week, Heat point guard Goran Dragic was encouraged by how his left foot felt. A torn plantar fascia in that foot sidelined Dragic during the NBA Finals. “I just finished three straight hard practices, running, shooting,” he said, according to Chiang. “My foot reacted well, no pain, nothing. Just a little bit of stiffness in the morning and that’s it.”
- While a $12.6MM guarantee was likely a major factor, Kelly Olynyk said this weekend that a desire for continuity following a short offseason also contributed to his decision to exercise his 2020/21 player option. “The way the league is going and the new season just jumped upon us, it just made sense to come back here to a familiar place and continue what we had,” Olynyk said, per Khobi Price of The Sun Sentinel.