Q: Ira, I love their hustle and their grit, but in this league, talent beats hustle on most nights. Counting on Victor Oladipo to return to form was obviously a mistake. We need another All-Star and return Tyler Herro to the bench. I sense (I know it’s early) this is going to be a frustrating season. – Cheryl, Fort Lauderdale.
A: On almost a nightly basis the Heat find themselves at talent and athleticism deficits. The skill and guile of Jimmy Butler and Kyle Lowry can take you places when the games slow down in the playoffs, but as the Heat’s hideous transition defense shows, opponents know they can run it down the Heat’s throats and in the halfcourt can blow by them. The issue is real, and has nothing to do with the loss of P.J. Tucker. It’s almost as if the Heat know that Tyler Herro is their lone athleticism on the wing, which is why the perimeter game all too often turns into Tyler or bust.
Q: Hey, Ira, During the offseason all we heard about was feel good stories about Victor Oladipo and his comeback. Just before preseason starts we are made aware of another knee issue on his non-surgical knee. I accept that this is likely a real concern. However, this is beginning to feel like the Heat will move him once he is trade eligible. Perhaps an Oladipo and Jae Crowder trade? – David, Venice.
A: Why if Victor Oladipo can’t play would anyone trade for his two-year, $18 milloin contract that includes a player option for 2023-24 until he can prove he is ambulatory on an NBA level? Right now, the Heat are stuck holding his salary bag. Considering Vic is not trade eligible until Jan. 15, many things could change by then. But at the moment, Victor Oladipo is not a trade asset.
Q: It’s now obvious the Heat’s lack of offseason moves were a result of their desire to enter the Victor Wembanyama sweepstakes. Thus far, Erik Spoelstra is doing a masterful job of appearing to want to win while staying within a couple of games of the league’s worst records. How long will it be before he drops the act? – Jordan, Miami Lakes.
A: Hmm, so he had Tyler Herro miss at the buzzer against the Pacers and then had Jason Hart convert Monday night’s game winner? Now that, indeed, would be superior coaching influence.