Next Man Up or All Men Up

In game one of the NBA finals, both Goran Dragic and Bam Adebayo went out with an injury, and are now doubtful for game two on Friday night.

So now, it’s that next man up mentality.

If there was any team prepared for this type of situation, it would be this Miami Heat squad. Kendrick Nunn, Kelly Olynyk, Meyers Leonard, and Derrick Jones Jr have been patiently waiting for their moment, and now it has finally come.

The most notable is Kendrick Nunn, since he came in the game during the second half of game one, and absolutely shined. 18 points on 8 for 11 shooting proved he still has it in him.

And that’s because he has stayed ready, which is what everyone on this roster has been trying to instill in him since he was taken out of the rotation. Jae Crowder told media that he’s been telling Kendrick to stay prepared since the Indiana series, since it was tough for him to realize. Andre Iguodala mentioned that it has “something to do with that Heat culture.”

Jimmy Butler told media as well that it looks as if Kendrick will be back into the rotation, which he added “I sure hope so.” Kendrick played well with Jimmy Butler on the floor throughout the season, especially since that starting unit was so effective.

And what stands out most with Kendrick Nunn after that game one performance is that it seems as if his confidence is back. He’s a player that relies solely on his self-confidence, and when the shots aren’t falling, he never seems to be able to bounce back. That’s a little different from his fellow rookie teammate who never lacks an ounce of confidence with his shooting. But now that he’s rolling, this team may have the piece that they’ve been searching for.

Kendrick isn’t the only guy that will be looked to step up in game two. Kelly Olynyk will definitely get a bump in minutes, and most likely will be starting. This may be good for a couple of reasons. It stretches the floor on offense, and will take guys like Dwight Howard out of the paint. This may ultimately play him off the floor, since he struggles with perimeter defense.

But he can take advantage of this match-up as well. He will be able to have a field day on the glass and pretty much own the paint.

But that might call for yet another player to step up, and that guy could be Meyers Leonard.

If Miami begins to have issues with the Lakers bigs again, they will most likely use this card. Not because Meyers will be able to out rebound them, but he’s someone who can bang around down low and be a disruption.

And he’s also very capable of being a knock down shooter. He’s had some tough stretches in a few games where he got put in for a short stint, but what else do you expect from a guy that’s not getting any playing time. He’s a player that Miami could possibly look at to be a spark, and if there was any game to use it, it will be this one.

Once again, the depth of this team is clearly their strength, not even mentioning a possible role for Derrick Jones Jr and increased minutes for Solomon Hill.

“It’s always that next man up mentality,” Kendrick Nunn when discussing this team.

Although it is next man up, more importantly it’s all men up, since everybody will have their chance in game two.


Brady Hawk (@BradyHawk305) is a contributor to Five on the Floor platforms on Five Reasons Sports.

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