Q: Ira, I know Erik Spoelstra was at Dolphins camp. Can he get the Heat to use their speed like the Dolphins did against the Patriots? – Bernard.
A: I’m not sure the Heat have a Tyreek Hill or even a Jaylen Waddle. But they do have players able to play at pace in their own ways, be it Kyle Lowry’s hit-ahead passes that often go to Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo breaking out with the ball after a rebound, Caleb Martin attacking the open floor, or Tyler Herro attacking from the wings. Typically the Heat talk about playing fast during the preseason, attempt to open seasons doing so, and then, invariably, the turnovers go up and the pace goes down. I would say the Heat’s ultimate goal would be to play an attacking game with their roster, but not necessarily at Tyreek-level speed.
Q: Ira, if Tyler Herro ends up making the starting five after training camp do you think Victor Oladipo can sort of take Tyler’s old spot as the sixth man, with an immediate spark of offense along with maybe some added defense this year? – Brian, Wellington.
A: He would need to. Erik Spoelstra long has been about piecing together a rotation that sets up the Heat for more than the opening jump. And a quality sixth man is part of that mix. That could be why Tyler Herro remains in a reserve role. But if Tyler does crack the starting lineup, then the opening would be there for Victor Oladipo to emerge as the spark off the bench. From there, Spoelstra can work toward his closing lineup.
Q: Why haven’t the Heat filled their final camp roster spot? – Ted.
A: Just because you are allowed to invite up to 20 players to training camp doesn’t mean you have to. The Heat often have gone to camp with fewer than the NBA maximum. But based on how the process works to funnel players to your G League affiliate, it is possible that eventually more than 20 total players pass through camp during the preseason at one time or another. Still, the 14-man standard roster basically was finalized (barring a trade) when Udonis Haslem announced his return for a 20th season.