Archive for the ‘ Miami Heat Blog ’ Category

Justise Winslow is an intriguing young player for the Heat, but he still has a long way to go to prove himself as a starter-level player who can be counted on in a big-time situations. Here’s the Miami Herald with more:

Justise Winslow shooting ability still a work in progress

Two NBA scouts insisted over the past several months that even though he’s a terrific defender and smart player, Winslow would need to become a more efficient perimeter shooter to become a quality starter on a good team.

And Heat people strongly believed that was going to happen this season after his work last summer with shooting coach Rob Fodor.

But injuries derailed his season, and his 7 for 35 three-point shooting in 18 games wasn’t a fair gauge because a wrist injury affected him before the season-ending shoulder surgery.

“It held me back a little bit,” Winslow said when asked whether the troublesome wrist hurt his ability to incorporate Fodor’s mechanical changes.

Here’s the Miami Herald with the latest on Chris Bosh, who is technically still a member of the Heat but whose NBA career is currently in limbo:

Chris Bosh still hopes to resume NBA play

He hasn’t been around the team all season, not since he failed a physical in the preseason following his third blood-clotting episode since he was first hospitalized with one after the All-Star break in 2015.

But Bosh did speak to Larry King recently. In clips from an interview on “Larry King Now” on the Ora.tv digital network posted Sunday night, Bosh said he still believes he will return to the NBA one day, but made no promises it will happen.

He also sounded much more at peace than he had in the past about Pat Riley’s decision back in September to no longer work towards his return and to eventually recoup the 11-time All-Star’s $25.2 million salary cap hold for next season, giving the Heat money it can spend elsewhere to improve the team.

“I understand what they have to do as a team,” said Bosh, who is signed through the 2018-19 season. “It is a business. I know we as athletes and owners and people involved with the NBA never want to say that it’s a business and things like that. It is a business. And hurt does come in with that. But, as president of the Miami Heat, I understand what he has to do.”

Goran Dragic set to return for Heat

Good news for the Heat as guard Goran Dragic is returning quickly after taking a hard elbow to the face. Here’s the South Florida Sun Sentinel reporting:

Goran Dragic set to return for Heat

The veteran point guard is back in the mix for the Miami Heat after missing Sunday’s loss to the Indiana Pacers with a right orbital contusion.

“I mean, it’s a little bit blurry, but that’s normal,” Dragic said Wednesday, in advance of facing the New Orleans Pelicans at AmericanAirlines Arena. “Doc said it’s going to take time to clear the fluids, the swelling, but it’s much better.”

Dragic was injured on an inadvertent elbow from Toronto Raptors guard Cory Joseph in a Saturday victory, before sitting out the loss to the Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

The Heat are only 31-34, which is the 9th best record in the Eastern conference, but after a lousy start to the season the team has been on a winning path. They’re moving on up. And a big reason why has been the play of guard Dion Waiters. Here’s the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reporting:

Dion Waiters has become a fan favorite in Miami

Since the team’s second-half revival, Waiters has taken on the role of fan favorite. He appears in Internet memes, is arguably the most popular player on social-media and even had a song written about him.

While Waiters is flattered by the attention, he says it’s mostly because of the team success.

“I just think of what we did as a team,” Waiters said. “What we’re doing from a team standpoint, just how we fought back and into the position that we’re in now.”

The Waiters phenomenon hit an all-time high when a song based on the theme of “Gilligan’s Island” hit the Internet earlier this week. The lyrics are cleverly based on Waiters’ arrival in Miami, while also sprinkling in mentions of teammates.

The track is titled, “Waiters Island.”

Miami Heat hire Shane Battier as Director of Basketball Development & Analytics

The Miami Heat announced today that they have hired former HEAT player and two-time NBA champion Shane Battier as the Director of Basketball Development & Analytics. His duties will include the development of analytics in evaluating all talent, including college, free agents and current Miami players.

“We believe Shane is an incredible example of our HEAT program, not only for the present, but also for the future,” said HEAT President Pat Riley. “He embodies everything that we are looking for in our players and staff. We feel he will help us tremendously with his experience and knowledge of the game. Shane is an out-of-the-box thinker and will bring a fresh expertise that can help us evolve as a franchise.”

“I am thrilled to be joining the front office of the Miami HEAT,” said Shane Battier. “I look forward to working with the Arison family, learning from a Hall of Fame executive in Pat Riley, General Manager Andy Elisburg and of course my old coach, Erik Spoelstra. My goal, as is the entire organizations, is to bring another championship back to Miami.”

Battier, a role player who played three seasons with the HEAT, helped bring back-to-back NBA championships, three Eastern Conference Championships and three division titles to Miami over that span. He appeared in 210 games (86 starts) with the HEAT and averaged 5.1 points, 2.2 rebounds, 1.0 assists and 22.6 minutes while shooting 39.8 percent from the field. He won the Twyman-Stokes NBA Teammate of the Year award in 2014 and the Magic Johnson Award for excellence on the court with cooperation with media and fans in 2013, both as a member of the HEAT. The 13-year NBA veteran appeared in 977 career NBA games (705 starts) and averaged 8.6 points, 4.2 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.01 steals and 30.7 minutes while shooting 43.7 percent from the field.

Heat sign Marcus Georges-Hunt to 10-day contract

The Miami Heat yesterday (Wednesday) signed guard Marcus Georges-Hunt to a 10-day contract.

Georges-Hunt, a 2017 NBA Development League All-Star, has appeared in 32 games (27 starts) with the Maine Red Claws this season averaging 16.4 points, 5.8 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 1.03 steals and 36.7 minutes while shooting 46.6 percent from the field, 39.7 percent from three-point range and 86.1 percent from the foul line. He leads the NBA D-League in minutes (1,176) and among team leaders he ranks first in assists (133), second in rebounds (184), steals (32) and free throws made (118) and third in points (524) and field goals made (177).

Georges-Hunt was originally signed by the Boston Celtics on August 17 after going undrafted in the 2016 NBA Draft. He appeared in two preseason games with the Celtics totaling six points, two rebounds and an assist while shooting 2-of-3 from the field and a perfect 2-of-2 from the foul line before being waived on October 20. He played all four seasons at Georgia Tech totaling 129 starts, the most in school history. He finished his collegiate career ranking third in free throws made (468) and 11th in points (1,728) on the school’s all-time lists. Additionally, he became 19th player in school history to record at least 1,000 points and 500 rebounds.

He will wear number 24 and join the team tomorrow and be available for Miami’s game in Brooklyn on Friday.

Atlanta Hawks forward Taurean Prince has been fined $25,000 for forcefully pulling down Miami Heat center Hassan Whiteside during play and Heat forward James Johnson has been fined $25,000 for escalating the situation in retaliation by throwing a forearm into the chest of Prince, it was announced today by Kiki VanDeWeghe, Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations.

The incident, for which Prince was assessed a Flagrant Foul 2 and ejected while Johnson was assessed a Technical Foul and ejected, occurred with 5:53 remaining in the fourth quarter of the Hawks’ 116-93 loss to the Heat on Feb. 1 at AmericanAirlines Arena.

Heat sign Okaro White to second 10-day contract

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

White, who was signed to a 10-day contract on January 17, appeared in four games with the HEAT and averaged 3.8 points, 3.0 rebounds, 1.00 blocks and 16.4 minutes while shooting 50 percent (5-of-10) from the field, 40 percent (2-of-5) from three-point range and a perfect 3-of-3 from the foul line.

Earlier this season, White appeared in 23 games (all starts) for the HEAT’s NBA Development League affiliate, the Sioux Falls Skyforce, and averaged 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 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 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.

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.

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