Was the Heat’s depth a preseason illusion? – The Denver Post


Q: Ira, where’s the Heat’s depth? – Phonz.

A: It’s there, but has been in the starting lineup and on the initiative list. Max Strus, for example, already has started three of the first 10 games. He well could otherwise be helping the bench to an even greater degree. Caleb Martin was the definition of reserve energizer last season, but the lack of another option at power forward has him instead starting. But it is the absence of Victor Oladipo, who has yet to play this season, that has left the Heat bench mostly inert. Still, credit is due to Gabe Vincent, who consistently has been trusted as a fourth-quarter closer. If you had Strus, Martin, Oladipo and Vincent off your bench, it would be a second unit with far more punch.

Q: If a Warriors team with Stephen Curry, et al., is willing to change rotations after only ten games to get their mojo back, should the Heat inquire whether a 4-6 start is “growing pains” or flawed assumptions? – Stuart.

A: As mentioned above, it’s not as if there are many Plan B options. It’s not as if another starting power forward (at the moment) is coming through that door. About the only logical shift would be starting Max Strus in place of Tyler Herro. But there is a heck of an investment in place with Tyler, while Max will be a free agent in the offseason. As it is, with Herro dealing with an ankle issue, it might be Max starting in place of Tyler by default.

Q: Hi, Ira. I think everyone has forgotten that last year’s record was a mirage. It was built by playing teams when their star players were injured and unavailable to play. The Heat also played teams that were ravaged by COVID and were only able to dress the mandatory eight. The chickens are coming home to roost as the Heat are playing teams with their full complement of players, this year. We only beat Portland this year because Damian Lillard went out in the third period, never to return. This team is not as good as everyone thinks. Yes, we made it to the Eastern Conference finals due to having home court and an ailing Joel Embiid, but the Heat may only win a first-round matchup this year. They will be bounced out early in the playoffs, if they are fortunate to make the playoffs at all. – David, Fort Lauderdale.

A: Thanks. This makes it easier for me than waiting for the end of the movie. Now I can go straight to my postseason wrapup.



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