The Miami Heat will be playing against the Toronto Raptors in their second and last preseason game. Now that they got a look at the raw talent of their young guys, there are now new expectations. Here are five things to expect tonight…
1. Goran Dragic getting some minutes, most coming with Avery Bradley.
Goran Dragic mentioned yesterday that he’s going to play tonight a bit, which most likely won’t be much. It’ll be good to see the exact level that his health is at currently, but if he’s playing in a preseason game, my guess is he’s fine. In those limited minutes tonight, I’d bet that Avery Bradley lines up next to him in most or even all of his minutes. For one, it’ll be interesting to see how Avery looks next to Goran, especially since we know how Goran plays next to the other guards. They will also be coming off the bench this year together most likely, which makes me think Spo throws that lineup out there. We will see what he does with these two tonight, but as I mentioned, the most important thing is the evaluation of Goran Dragic.
2. The young guys game-to-game adjustments.
As I’ve mentioned lately, I expect some adjustments to be made involving KZ Okpala and Precious Achiuwa. KZ Okpala seems to need a bit more confidence in his game right now, since he was reluctant in the first preseason game. If he tries to be involved a bit more offensively by attacking the basket, it would be huge for him. Precious Achiuwa, on the other hand, just needs to improve on the small aspects of the game, involving dribble hand-offs and picks and rolls. After him watching a bit of film, I think we see him begin to set some good, hard screens on the pick and roll, while giving better hand-offs. This is something the coaching staff definitely brought up heading into tonight’s game, which is why I’m interested to see if he fixes it right away.
3. A Kendrick Nunn possible bounce back.
I expected a better first game performance from Kendrick Nunn on Monday night, mostly since he’s the one guy whose role is unknown. After his struggles in the bubble, he needs to show people once again that he can make an impact on this team. One thing I noticed on Monday was that spacing was a bit of an issue when he was on the floor. And after some missed opportunities early in the game for him, that usually means it’s hard for him to bounce back. But if he comes out tonight with a purpose, and has confidence in his game to score the basketball, we may be having a different conversation heading into the first game of the regular season. But first, he needs to show the coaching staff and team that his scoring abilities can help this team right now.
4. A true Moe Harkless evaluation.
It’s hard to truly evaluate Moe Harkless from that first game, especially on the defensive end. He’s not going to be guarding Zion Williamson every night, since he’s just a unique player who can overpower his opponent once he gets the ball inside. Now Moe will get to match-up with Paschal Siakam, which will be a much more interesting defensive assignment, since he can showcase his perimeter play instead of his interior defense. The main thing that has been discussed when Miami signed him was that he can truly help guard the perimeter, since it was a need on this Heat team last season. The Raptors were one of the main teams that Miami struggled in that area against, due to their offensive perimeter play, as well as the two point guard lineups. This game will be a great one to evaluate Moe’s overall game.
5. Duncan Robinson and Tyler Herro play off each other offensively.
One thing that has never been discussed much with Tyler Herro and Duncan Robinson is their impact together, mostly since the lack of defensive abilities are hard to play together. But one thing I noticed on Monday was that they played off each other a lot more, utilizing the pick and pop frequently. Tyler has greatly improved his ability to attack the basket, which is why they’re able to use this a lot more. And when Duncan is on the floor, most defenses make it a priority to follow him wherever he goes. Consequently, Tyler’s improved passing abilities allow Miami to create a lot of offense out of this. We may not see it a lot tonight, since there’s no reason for Spo to show it in a preseason game, but what you can expect is these two guys playing off each other quite a lot.