Spoelstra says Heat preseason to feature a variety of lineups; Lowry stresses internal growth – The Denver Post


Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra warned Friday that what you see during the preseason from his team is not what you might get when the season starts.

So, yes, those who are curious about bigger lineups, perhaps ones that feature two out of Bam Adebayo, Dewayne Dedmon and Omer Yurtseven, there will be some of that over the course of the Heat’s five-game exhibition schedule. And those seeking a three-wing smaller-ball approach, that also could come into view with Kyle Lowry, Tyler Herro and Victor Oladipo.

Basically, the laboratory will be open for experimentation.

“There’ll probably be a decent amount of that,” Spoelstra said Friday, as his team continued training camp at the Baha Mar resort. “I mean, we do that every training camp and preseason, anyway. Our versatility is a really important part of our makeup, and you have to be able to take a look at different combinations just to see what they look like against competition.

“I like the fact that we’ve had these different kinds of lineups that we can get — the big lineup, the speed lineup, the shooting lineup. So you’ll see a decent amount of those.”

Bally Sports Sun announced Friday that it would carry all five of the Heat’s exhibitions, starting with Tuesday night’s game at FTX Arena against the Minnesota Timberwolves, the first of three exhibitions next week.

Taking note

Lowry said Friday he is using training camp to go to school on improvements from within on a roster that largely returned intact.

“I think we’ve just got guys that are individually trying to get better,” he said. “I think that’s where it’s something different.

“You figure out what they got better at.”

While Lowry, 36, said the team’s veterans “are just getting our legs under us,” he said the younger players are setting the tone at practice.

“It’s tough when you’ve got a lot of veterans,” he said, “but those guys are playing extremely hard and extremely well right now.”

Included in that group is first-round pick Nikola Jovic, the lithe 19-year-old forward out of Serbia.

“He’s young,” Lowry said with a laugh. “He’s got some passion. He wants to be good. But it’s going to take time.”

Asked what would change if he were to potentially start in the backcourt alongside Herro, Lowry said, “What changes is he’s still got to be him. I think nothing changes for him. I think everybody’s got to adapt and adjust.”

Comedic interlude

Practice ended with a spirited debate between Adebayo and 42-year-old captain Udonis Haslem about which Spoelstra would trust more to take a final shot with a game on the line.

As Haslem attempted to elicit the support of the team’s younger players, Adebayo noted that Haslem has “only one shot you take,” alluding to Haslem’s trademark midrange baseline jumper.

The chiding came after a post-practice 3-point drill featuring Haslem, Adebayo and Dedmon.

End game

With Haslem having addressed this being his final training camp as he closes out his 20-year Heat career, Spoelstra said he doesn’t want to get caught up too soon in such moments.

“I don’t want to think about that right now. I don’t want to get emotional,” he said. “I already had to go through that with Dwyane [Wade]. I’m just very grateful that he’s here in our locker room.

“And in all these moments in between, that’s where UD can express his influence and his mentorship. He’s a top mentor in this entire association. He really is selfless. He really cares about the guys, and he’ll do anything to help them be their best.”

Last call

The Heat will host a clinic for invited local youth Saturday ahead of their final camp practice on the makeshift ballroom courts at the resort’s convention center, before then flying back to South Florida.

The team then will be off until Monday’s 6:30 p.m. public scrimmage at FTX Arena, before opening their preseason the following night.

All 20 players participated in Friday’s session, with no injuries reported since Tuesday’s first day of camp.



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