Archive for the ‘ Miami Heat Blog ’ Category

Rodney McGruder a key defender for Heat

The Heat are just 12-30 this season, which through Tuesday’s games is the second worst record in the Eastern conference. Guard Rodney McGruder isn’t putting up big stats but he has been making his mark on the defensive side of the floor. Here’s the Palm Beach Post reporting:

Rodney McGruder didn’t expect to start this many games in his rookie season with the Heat.

And he definitely didn’t expect to be Miami’s go-to defender against the NBA’s top scorers.

But 42 games into the season, those expectations have changed. McGruder ranks sixth among rookies in starts with 25 and he’s already been asked to defend future Hall of Famers like LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Durant.

“At this point, I think this is the world that Rodney knows,” coach Erik Spoelstra said. “He’s either going against MVPs, former MVPs, future MVPs, definite All-Stars every single night. Whoever that big-ticket player is, Rodney you got him. Make him work. He’s absolutely stepped up to that challenge.

“Does that mean he’s winning battles? No. But he makes you earn everything and fight for every inch that you get.”

The Miami Heat today signed forward Okaro White to a 10-day contract.

White has appeared in 23 games (all starts) for the HEAT’s NBA Development League affiliate, the Sioux Falls Skyforce, this season averaging 18.4 points, 8.7 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 1.09 steals and 33.0 minutes while shooting 43.9 percent from the field and 86 percent from the foul line. He has helped the Skyforce to a division best 16-5 record while ranking second on the team in points (424), rebounds (201), field goals made (144), three-point field goals made (38) and free throws made (98).

White, who was originally signed by the HEAT on July 15, 2016, previously appeared in six preseason games with Miami earlier this season and averaged 5.7 points, 4.3 rebounds and 9.5 minutes. Additionally, he appeared in five games with Miami’s Summer League team in Las Vegas this past summer and averaged 8.6 points, 5.8 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.00 steals.

White spent last season with Aris B.C. of the Greek Basketball League appearing in 35 games (32 starts) and averaged 13.9 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.57 steals and 26.8 minutes while shooting 49.1 percent from the field. He was selected as the Greek Basketball Player of the Year and named to the All-Greek A1 League First Team, All-Defensive Team and All-Imports Team. He spent the 2014-15 season in Italy with Virtus Pallacanestro Bologna averaging 12.1 points, 6.8 rebounds, 1.1 assists and 1.00 blocks in 33 games (32 starts).

White played all four seasons at Florida State University appearing in 139 career games (94 starts). He set the school record for games played and finished fifth in free throws made (401), seventh in free throw percentage (.800), 10th in games started, 10th in blocks (107), 14th in rebounds (704), 16th in points (1,402) and 25th in field goals made (466). As a senior, he was named to the All-ACC Defensive Team and was presented with the Chairman of the Boards award, the Most Outstanding Offensive Player award, the Most Outstanding Defensive Player award and the award for the team’s top field goal percentage shooter at the Seminole’s annual Honors Banquet. Additionally, he earned the 2014 Golden Nole award in men’s basketball for significant contributions on the court, in the classroom and in the community.

Josh Richardson not returning yet for Heat

It does not appear that Josh Richardson will be returning anytime soon.

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra today acknowledged it “would be safe” to say Richardson is week-to-week instead of day-to-day. Miami’s second year guard has missed the last three games after an X-ray and MRI revealed he had a sprained left foot.

“It is still only a sprain, he is getting better but he still is in a boot,” Spoelstra said following the Heat practice today.

Miami (11-30) starts a four-game home stand Tuesday against the Rockets.

– Palm Beach Post

Here’s the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reporting on Heat center Hassan Whiteside and 2017 All-Star voting:

Hassan Whiteside not closely monitoring All-Star votes

Whiteside isn’t getting his hopes up when it comes to fan voting for the Feb. 19 All-Star Game, even as he puts up All-Star numbers, including his 28 points and 20 rebounds Tuesday against the Warriors.

After ranking ninth among Eastern Conference frontcourt players in last week’s initial release, Whiteside said he won’t be monitoring the weekly returns.

“It’s just a popularity contest at this point,” he said. “Our record was better than the 76ers [at the last balloting release] and Joel Embiid was fourth.”

Whiteside said that the All-Star selections should not turn into a referendum on a team’s place in the standings, with the Heat 11-29 going into Friday’s game against the Milwaukee Bucks at BMO Harris Bradley Center, which will mark the midpoint of their season.

“I don’t really feel like All-Stars should even be a record thing,” he said. “It’s the individual thing. That’s why they don’t bring the whole team; they bring a player.”

Hassan Whiteside clarifies comments about DeAndre Jordan

Hassan Whiteside added clarification to comments he recently made about Clippers center DeAndre Jordan.

The Miami Heat shot-blocking center took time pregame to clarify that he never meant any disrespect when he said a day earlier of Jordan, “He catches lobs. I shoot jumpers, catch lobs and block shots. I do a lot. He just catches lobs.”

Whiteside stressed Friday his point was that with Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and J.J. Redick alongside, Jordan had more leeway to focus on his All-NBA-level shot-blocking and rebounding.

“Definitely misconstrued,” Whiteside said in front of his locker. “First, I would never diss another big fella. I’m all for the big guys in the game. I was just saying on the offensive end, our roles are different. Obviously, he’s a top-three rebounder and one of the best defensive players in the game. I didn’t think I had to explain that, but I see I do. Quote me on that.”

– South Florida Sun Sentinel

Quick Take: Whether all in fun or actually serious, a little trash-talking never hurt anybody. It’s part of the game. Especially if there’s some truth to it. Anyway, this whole thing is no big deal. And it’s fun.

Heat have faced lots of injuries and a tough schedule

Not only does the Miami Heat lead the league in games missed because of injury (77), but the team has also faced the third-toughest schedule in the league thus far.

Saturday night, the Heat wrapped up a three-week stretch of playing 10 of 13 on the road with a heartbreaking loss to Dwyane Wade and the Bulls in frigid Chicago.

So, it’s no wonder why Goran Dragic and his teammates are looking forward to what’s around the corner.

The Heat (7-17) open a six-game home stand Monday against the Washington Wizards (9-13) , one of four opponents on tap over the next 10 days which have a .500 record or worse.

Miami Herald

Quick Take: The Heat have the third worst record in the Eastern conference through yesterday’s games. Their offense has been a struggle. Their defense has been average.

The National Strength and Conditioning Association announced that Miami HEAT Assistant Coach/Strength & Conditioning Coach Bill Foran has been named the Professional Strength and Conditioning Coach of the Year. Foran, who becomes the fourth recipient of the award, will receive the honor at the NSCA’s Coaches Conference which is held in Nashville, TN from January 4 through January 6. Past winners of the award include Ashley Jones of the Edinburgh Rugby team in Scotland, Casey Bond of the Colorado Avalanche and Joe Kenn of the Carolina Panthers.

Foran, who has been the HEAT’s strength and conditioning coach since its inception and is currently in his 29th season with the organization, supervises a combination of strength training, plyometrics, conditioning, stretching and nutrition to ensure Miami’s players’ produce maximum results on the court. In addition to this honor, Foran was inducted into the USA Strength and Conditioning Coaches Hall of Fame in 2014 and was named as the 2009 Co-NBA Strength Coach of the Year.

The Miami HEAT have waived Vashil Fernandez, Luis Montero, Beno Udrih, Brianté Weber and Okaro White.

Fernandez, who was signed as a free on October 17, appeared in two preseason games with the HEAT totaling three points, one rebound and a steal in 14:38 minutes of action.

Montero, who was signed as a free agent on October 18, appeared in two preseason games with Miami, totaling nine points, three rebounds, three steals, one assist and one block in 18:48 minutes of action.

Udrih, who re-signed with the HEAT as a free agent on August 17, appeared in four preseason games (one start), and averaged 3.3 points and 2.0 assists in 13.6 minutes per game. He also played in 36 games (five starts) for the HEAT last season.

Weber, a free agent who signed with the HEAT on April 10, played in all eight of the HEAT’s preseason games (one start), and averaged 3.1 points, 2.9 assists, 2.4 steals and 2.3 rebounds in 18.7 minutes per game.

White, who played on the HEAT’s summer league team this year and was signed as a free agent on July 15, appeared in six preseason games with Miami and averaged 5.7 points, 4.3 rebounds and 9.5 minutes while shooting 44.8 percent from the field and a perfect 4-of-4 from the foul line.

The HEAT’s roster now stands at 15.

Miami Heat sign Luis Montero, waive Keith Benson

The Miami HEAT have signed guard Luis Montero and waived Keith Benson.

Montero appeared in 12 games with the Portland Trail Blazers last season totaling 14 points, four rebounds and an assist in 42 minutes of action. He also appeared in six postseason games with Portland totaling eight points on a perfect 3-of-3 from the field, 2-of-2 from three-point range and 1-of-1 from the foul line. While on NBA Development League assignment with the Santa Cruz Warriors last season, Montero appeared in four games (all starts) and averaged 16.3 points, 6.0 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 1.75 blocks, 1.50 steals and 28.3 minutes while shooting 41.2 percent from the field, 38.5 percent from three-point range and 78.3 percent from the foul line.

Montero will wear number 44.

Benson, who was signed by the HEAT on September 23, appeared in three preseason games with Miami averaging 7.3 points and 3.3 rebounds in 10.9 minutes of action.

Miami Heat sign Vashil Fernandez, waive Stefan Jankovic

The Miami HEAT today signed center Vashil Fernandez and waived Stefan Jankovic.

Fernandez, the all-time leading shot blocker at Valparaiso University, played all four seasons with the Crusaders appearing in 131 games (85 starts) and averaged 4.7 points, 5.1 rebounds, 2.21 blocks and 19.8 minutes while shooting 54.8 percent from the field. As a senior, he led the NCAA in blocks per game (3.31) and was named the Horizon League Defensive Player of the Year for the second consecutive season. He finished his career with 289 blocks, surpassing the previous school record of 228 held by Raitis Grafs from 1999-2003, including 119 during his senior campaign, setting the school’s single-season block record, a record he held the previous season with 98 rejections.

Fernandez will wear number 14.

Janković appeared in one preseason game with the HEAT, totaling 3:40 minutes of action.

Chris Bosh is still technically a member of the Heat, but unless there’s some sort of drastic change, he’s probably played his last game for the club. Filling in the power forward spot may be a job for multiple people. Here’s the Miami Herald reporting:

Replacing Chris Bosh will be tough for Heat

It might feel like an audition on the outside — with three healthy players competing to replace Chris Bosh in the Heat’s starting lineup at power forward this preseason. But to those involved, and the coach making the decision, it isn’t building up to be a one-man job.

Luke Babbitt, James Johnson and Derrick Williams all bring something different to the table, and ultimately whoever ends up earning the starting nod when the Heat opens the season Oct. 26 at Orlando isn’t necessarily going to have the job moving forward.

The Heat, in the midst of a roster rebuild with Dwyane Wade in Chicago and with Bosh’s career in limbo, is more focused on the diversity of its lineups than it is finding a permanent replacement for Bosh.

“It’s more of a developmental phase right now,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said Thursday when asked if the starting power forward position is in an audition phase.

Heat guard Tyler Johnson averaged 5.9 points on 41.9% shooting in 18.8 minutes per game as a rookie two years ago, 8.7 ppg on 48.6% shooting in 24.0 mpg last season, and should have a bigger role this year. Here’s the Palm Beach Post blog with some insight:

Heat consider Tyler Johnson a combo guard

“He’s a combo (guard). That’s why we like him,” coach Erik Spoelstra said. “You put him on the court and he knows how to have an impact. He’s comfortable now playing either position on the ball or off the ball. That kind of versatility is important.”

The Heat are hoping [Tyler] Johnson can give them minutes at point guard this season, a position that he’s played sporadically in the past. After Miami decided to keep Johnson and matched his four-year, $50 million offer sheet from the Nets in July, he spent most of the offseason working on his point guard skills with Heat coaches.

With a log jam at shooting guard – Dion Waiters, Josh Richardson, Wayne Ellington and Johnson – Johnson will get more playing time if he’s also able to serve as Goran Dragic’s backup at point guard. The 24-year-old Johnson believes he’s better prepared for that role this season.

Here’s the Palm Beach Post Blog with an update on a key young member of the Heat:

Josh Richardson making progress in recovery

Josh Richardson is making progress.

The 23-year-old guard suffered a partially torn MCL in his right knee in a voluntary workout on Sept. 9 and said he expected the injury to keep him out for six to eight weeks. Richardson is now entering the next phase of his recovery, as he had his knee brace removed Friday just in time to travel to Knoxville to watch Tennessee, his alma mater, defeat the Gators on Saturday.

“The update is his brace was removed on Friday and he was able to go to the Tennessee-Florida game on Saturday,” coach Erik Spoelstra said at media day on Monday. “After that win, I immediately texted him saying you better not even think about charging that field. But he was able to move around. He’s excited to get the brace off.”

With Dwyane Wade gone and Chris Bosh still out indefinitely due to health concerns, there’s every chance in the world for point guard Goran Dragic to rise up and do big things. Considering how young the rest of the squad’s key players are, Miami needs Dragic to exceed all expectations. Here’s the Miami Herald with more:

Lots of pressure on Goran Dragic this season

Goran Dragic made it clear from the start that when the Miami Heat traded for him 19 months ago he was only around to support Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, not step on their toes.

Dragic, 30, obviously doesn’t have to worry about playing backup singer to anyone on the Heat anymore. With Wade, a 12-time All-Star, gone to Chicago in free agency, and Bosh, an 11-time All-Star, out for the foreseeable future after failing a physical this week in his continuing battle with blood clots, the Heat is as much Dragic’s team now as it is Hassan Whiteside’s.

“I’m ready,” Dragic said Saturday afternoon between signing autographs and taking photos with fans who lined up by the dozens at the Heat store inside Dolphin Mall in Sweetwater to meet the 2014 All-NBA third team point guard.

Heat sign Keith Benson

Heat sign Keith Benson

The Heat have signed center Keith Benson. We assume it’s a non-guaranteed deal that merely brings Benson to Heat training camp.

Benson spent last season with the HEAT’s NBA Development League affiliate, the 2016 champion Sioux Falls Skyforce, appearing in 49 games (23 starts) and averaged 13.8 points, 7.5 rebounds, 1.57 blocks and 23.8 minutes while shooting 57.3 percent from the field. The 2016 NBA D-League All-Star appeared in all seven postseason games on the Skyforce’s path to the title averaging 10.1 points, 4.7 rebounds, 2.14 blocks and 17.8 minutes while shooting 59.2 percent from the field.

Benson has now played in 93 career NBA Development League games (60 starts) and averaged 13.1 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1.58 blocks and 24.9 minutes while shooting 52.9 percent from the field. He was previously signed by the HEAT on August 25, 2015, appearing in five preseason games averaging 5.8 points, 5.6 rebounds and 11.8 minutes before being waived on October 24, 2015. Additionally, Benson has appeared in three career NBA regular season games, all with Golden State, totaling three rebounds in nine minutes of action and has spent time playing professionally in Belarus, China, Lithuania, Estonia, Italy and the Philippines.

Benson was originally drafted in the second round (48th overall) in the 2011 NBA Draft by the Atlanta Hawks.

According to the Heat, the team and forward Chris Bosh, in consultation with team doctors and other physicians, have been working together for many months with the mutual goal of having Chris return to the court as soon as possible. Chris has now taken his pre-season physical. And according to the team, they remain unable to clear Chris to return to basketball activities.

Heat do not clear Chris Bosh for return to basketball activities

The Heat say they are “not able to comment further in light of Article XXII, Section 3(e) of the NBA Collective Bargaining Agreement, which precludes a team from releasing certain medical information without a player’s consent.”

According to the Miami Herald, “Doctors found more evidence of blood clotting in Miami Heat forward Chris Bosh, derailing his attempted comeback, according to a source. The complication, believed to be in his lung, involved evidence of some continued clotting and is believed to be related to one of two previous blood clot episodes. Those episodes sidelined Bosh after the All-Star break each of the past two seasons. Though the complication is not considered life-threatening if treated, it requires medication and playing with it is considered unrealistic.”

Expect an up-tempo Heat offense this season

How will the Heat be different this upcoming season, their first in many years without star shooting guard Dwyane Wade? According to their head coach, they plan to speed things up. With Chris Bosh’s return still uncertain due to health reasons, the squad is built around Goran Dragic, Tyler Johnson, Josh Richardson, Justise Winslow and Hassan Whiteside. Here’s the Palm Beach Post blog reporting:

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra’s latest video clip on the team’s website is a message to Heat fans to expect more of what you saw the second half of last season when the Heat, behind point guard Goran Dragic, scrapped its lumbering style for an up-tempo offense.

“The style of offense when you’re pushing the tempo and you’re attacking and you’re looking for opportunities in the open court, that’s a fun style of basketball,” Spoelstra said. “Our guys enjoy playing that style, they’re committed to the conditioning level and the work ethic. … they’re willing to do it because they want to have fun they want to express athleticism and I think that’s what Heat fans can expect from this team next year.”

Heat may keep Josh McRoberts

Here’s the Miami Herald blog with a Heat update. Seems Josh McRoberts, who in 42 games last season averaged 3.6 points and 2.5 rebounds in 14.2 minutes per outing, will remain in Miami:

Heat may keep Josh McRoberts

Though he was mentioned in trade rumors previously, the Heat has indicated to Josh McRoberts’ camp that he’s in the team’s plans for this season, his agent said, adding Miami called to go over his offseason training and make sure everyone is on the same page.

McRoberts will make $5.8 million this season and has a $6 million player option for 2017-18.

But the Heat will need to dump someone with a guaranteed deal if it wants to keep point guard Briante Weber. Free agent pickups this summer cannot be dealt until Dec. 15.

Heat re-sign Beno Udrih

Heat re-sign Beno Udrih

The Heat have re-signed veteran guard Beno Udrih.

The Heat backcourt is built around Goran Dragic, Tyler Johnson, Josh Richardson and new addition Dion Waiters. Udroh’s minutes may be fairly limited.

The big change this offseason in the Heat backcourt is the loss of legendary shooting guard Dwyane Wade, who decided to join the Bulls.

Udrih has appeared in 792 NBA regular season games (272 starts) during his 12-year career and has averaged 8.5 points, 3.4 assists, 2.1 rebounds and 22.3 minutes while shooting 46.3 percent from the floor, 34.9 percent from three-point range and 83 percent from the foul line. The two-time NBA champion has appeared in 53 postseason games and averaged 4.5 points, 1.2 assists, 1.0 rebounds and 11.3 minutes while shooting 38.8 percent from the field and 80.4 percent from the foul line.

Last season as a member of both the HEAT and Memphis Grizzlies, Udrih appeared in 44 games (five starts) and averaged 4.7 points, 2.6 assists, 1.6 rebounds and 16.1 minutes while shooting 43.4 percent from the floor, 34.1 percent from three-point range and 90 percent from the line. In his 36 games with Miami last season, he led the team in plus/minus seven times, the third-most on the team. He also posted an 11-assist, no turnover game on January 15 at Denver, marking the most assists without a turnover during a game in his career and the 28th double-figure assist game without a single turnover in HEAT franchise history.

Heat sign Dion Waiters

Heat sign Dion Waiters

The Heat on Tuesday signed guard Dion Waiters.

According to the South Florida Sun Sentinel, the deal is a two-year, $6 million contract with a player option for the second season.

“Dion is not a Room Exception player,” said HEAT President Pat Riley. “He wanted to play for the Miami HEAT and chose to forgo other more lucrative financial opportunities to be a part of our championship organization. We are very honored that he made the commitment to come to South Florida and sign with us. Dion is young, athletic and explosive, which fits in with our roster. He will add a great dimension for us at the off-guard spot. I really like the depth and versatility that we now have in our perimeter positions. Welcome aboard Dion!”

According to the Sun Sentinel, “Waiters previously had bypassed the Oklahoma City Thunder’s since-rescinded $6.8 million qualifying offer for 2016-17 and took a pay cut from last season’s $5.1 million salary at a time when several teams have in excess of $10 million remaining in salary-cap space.”

Waiters has appeared in 289 games (110 starts) over his four-year NBA career and averaged 12.8 points, 2.6 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.01 steals and 28.3 minutes while shooting 41.1 percent from the field, 33.4 percent from three-point range and 70.7 percent from the foul line. The former fourth overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft was named to the 2012-13 NBA All-Rookie First Team and earned NBA Rookie of the Month honors in February of 2013.

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