Tag Archive for: Kelly Olynyk

5 Takeaways from Heat’s Win Over Magic

The Miami Heat escaped yet another rough offensive night against the Orlando Magic, expanding their win streak to four in a row. Another all-around Jimmy Butler performance led to this outcome, after a 29 point night, sealing it with a steal and a layup with 4 seconds left. Anyway, here are five takeaways from this game…

#1: Miami’s peak defensive potential on display throughout.

If there’s been any wonder lately how Miami has stayed at that number one spot in defensive rating, this Heat game solidified that. Miami has been exceptionally good at hitting passing lanes, rotating close to perfectly, and altering between different defensive schemes. By that I mean Erik Spoelstra’s continued adjustments throughout a game, rotating between man to man, 2-3 zone, and a 2-2-1 full court press. Obviously it’s a soft press since Tyler Herro was heading it with Andre Iguodala, but it still forces the opposing offense to play at a speed that they are not used to. Kelly Olynyk must be mentioned in this defensive discussion as well, since he’s made major leaps with lateral quickness, rim protection for spurts, and mostly denying post entry passes, which is a huge improvement for this team’s current success.

#2: The Kelly Olynyk-Jimmy Butler offensive duo being schemed by Coach Spoelstra.

As I’ve discussed endlessly since Bam Adebayo went out, Kelly Olynyk has seen a decent sized change in his offensive role. The offense is running through him for a lot of the game, which means they’re handing him the keys as a primary play-maker. This has led to Coach Spo running many more sets for these two together, including off-ball screens for Butler leading to lobs, as well as Butler finding Olynyk in alternate spots on the floor. The reason this is so intriguing is because Adebayo can be utilized in a different way when he returns as well, which can alter Miami’s major offensive issues. If this can force Adebayo into a slightly larger scoring role, instead of worrying about setting others up, it may be the one piece to put this whole puzzle together.

#3: A longer leash for KZ Okpala leading to a positive outcome.

While I’m discussing defense a bit, it seems necessary to throw KZ Okpala into the discussion. His defensive attributes have never been questioned, but it’s actually been about over using them at times leading to foul trouble and defensive breakdowns. But well, that wasn’t the case today, since he was in the right spots throughout the game consistently. The offense is the part that should be discussed though, since there were even more flashes in tonight’s first half. As much as made threes may excite some, the off the dribble attack is what will truly keep him in the rotation for good. That slight hesitance still seems to be holding him back a bit, but once that is overcome completely, that full potential will be reached.

#4: Jimmy Butler steps up in the third quarter, trying to counter Nikola Vucevic’s takeover.

Nikola Vucevic was not only a main topic for the portion of the night, but mainly in the third quarter. He couldn’t miss from deep during this stretch, expanding the Magic’s lead little by little. And since Miami’s offense just can’t get into any type of flow for a good portion of the game, it was time for Jimmy Butler to step up in that moment like usual. Three point shooting clearly wasn’t the strength of the night for Miami, which led to constant penetration from Butler to put in his work around the rim. It’s pretty obvious that he can choose his moments to score at will when he wants, but the issue is that others must balance that timely takeover with scoring of their own. And too many droughts seem to come up throughout in their half-court offense, mainly when Butler is off the floor.

#5: Tyler Herro: Reverting back a bit, showcasing some indecisiveness early. 

Tyler Herro must be discussed in general following this game, since he hasn’t done much lately to mention. But now, he’s showcasing previous habits, which is the flipping switch between positive flashes and unnecessary decisions. Although the numbers may not look bad when evaluating the box score, he had moments throughout that aren’t explained through a stat-sheet. There are too many instances with indecisive movements or the tough choice between shooting or passing. Although it seemed as if he may have been past that, it seems like he’s reverting back slightly. Now, that’s not a hard thing to touch up, since he just needs that natural Herro confidence once again, where he doesn’t worry about that previous miss or that last turnover. Duncan Robinson has made that adjustment, and it’s made the difference. But as seen late in the game tonight, Herro stepped up when needed to not only boost this team, but boost his self confidence.

A Breakdown of Kelly Olynyk Against the Magic

The Miami Heat started off the second half of the regular season with a win over the Orlando Magic, and although Jimmy Butler was a huge reason for that, Kelly Olynyk deserves a lot of credit.

He was forced to play a role that he doesn’t usually play since Bam Adebayo was out, and he filled that spot quite effortlessly. So, let’s take a look at what stood out last night from Olynyk’s overall performance.

– A different role, same Olynyk

As mentioned previously, this play showcases the difference in Olynyk’s role last night. Although it seems like a simple and ordinary Olynyk drive to the basket, it’s a bit different.

For one, this is usually the part of the game where Adebayo is the screener and Olynyk is the floor spacer, but that wasn’t the case yesterday. He went up to set the screen for the mismatch, since Nikola Vucevic was out of the play guarding the corner. Olynyk reading that, received the ball in the post and went straight to work, getting an easy bucket at the basket.

It’s something I will point out a little bit later, but Olynyk’s feel for the offense has really seemed to make a jump this year, mostly due to consistent minutes.

– The silent play-making

Since Miami has one of the best play-making bigs in the league, in Bam Adebayo, Olynyk’s passing abilities get swept under the rug at times. But on night’s where he’s basically the only big, that part of his game shines.

This play shows the defensive respect of him as a passer, since after Duncan Robinson got his defender in the air and cut, the defender stepped back to prevent that. Obviously the defense must do that no matter the passer on the perimeter, but it just shows the many options in his offensive game.

When he noticed this happening, he immediately got into his shooting motion with zero hesitation, which is pretty much the motto with him every time, and I will discuss later.

Here’s a great example of that play-making trust. It was a designed play for Butler off of a great Tyler Herro off-ball screen, and the pass couldn’t have been put in a better spot for that dunk.

It was obviously a tight game down the stretch, so to see this team’s continued trust in that part of Olynyk’s game, working the offense through him late in the game, truly shows the growth of him on this Heat team.

And if Miami could run some creative stuff like this when Adebayo returns, it may be the perfect time for Bam’s scoring leap that many have been awaiting.

– Running the floor

Olynyk has always been a pretty decent transition player, since he knows when to run the floor, due to an advanced ability to read the pace of the game.

Before addressing Olynyk’s side all together, Kendrick Nunn’s point guard abilities continue to shine, especially on this play. A lot of guys that try to blend into that position have trouble keeping their head up and eyes lurking on the break, since they’re used to that push the ball and put your head down scoring technique. So seeing these flashes on a nightly basis is a great sign for him as a player and the current state of this team.

But now, back to Olynyk, take a look at the direction he is looking on the break. Obviously he’s looking at the ball-handler, but he also noticed every defender on the floor jogging with their eyes on Nunn. As he speeds up to the rim with no one in sight, he finishes at the rim with ease.

– A season-best defensive performance

Whenever I dive into Olynyk film, it always consists of his offensive play primarily, since defense is not one of his strengths. But last night, it was a strength for him, since it was one of the best defensive games he has played.

This article could go on forever with video examples of his constant denial on Vucevic all night, but I’ll only show a few. The one above just shows his defensive IQ, since although he had his hands full with Vucevic, he immediately went to help Goran Dragic with a clear mismatch, leading to an impressive swat.

Now, this is one example of the constant denial I just mentioned previously. With the Orlando Magic short-handed, it was even more obvious that the offense would go through Vucevic in the post from just about every spot on the floor. So, he fronted him on every possession, making him as uncomfortable as possible.

You may look at Vucevic’s 24 points and say, how did he have a great defensive game? But during his spurts on him, he battled the entire time, while also being a major proponent of the offense, which is another example of his role change.

If he could do this consistently with opposing 5’s, it’ll make this defense even better by giving Adebayo the luxury of playing the perimeter more often than he already does. And it’s pretty promising to be discussing areas of growth for their defense, since they’re already the number one team in defensive rating over their last 15 games.

– The shooting element

Well, it was one of those nights for Olynyk where the shots were dropping from outside the arc often. Real often.

The first clip showcases that Jimmy Butler downhill gravity that is constantly discussed, since Vucevic sunk in all the way from the top of the key. And when you do that, it’s a known thing that Butler will find the open man, even when getting caught in the air.

In the second clip, Herro and Olynyk run a type of pick and pop, while both defenders go with Herro, leading to a switch. But take a look at how Olynyk drags his defender back in for a second, before back-pedaling out to the three-point line for a triple. That slight movement caught the defender ball-watching, leading to another offensive possession generated by Olynyk.

– Reading the defender, cutting off the ball

This was the most impressive play of the game in my opinion, and not just because Butler made an incredible bounce pass.

Take a look at Olynyk’s patience on the opposite wing, allowing Butler to operate in the post. As soon as Vucevic turns his head toward the ball, Olynyk immediately sprints toward the lane, ending in an easy finish at the rim.

These off-ball cuts have become a staple of Miami’s offense recently, mostly due to defenses overplaying the three point line and three-point shots not falling a lot lately. Although it’s a big part of the Heat’s offensive scheme, adjusting on the fly like on this play reflects totally onto the individual player. And this individual player basically kept Miami afloat all night, other than Butler’s constant all-around takeover.

5 Takeaways from Heat’s Win Over Kings

The Miami Heat got a much needed win on Thursday night against the Sacramento Kings. Although many players stood out for Miami throughout, Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo both getting a triple-double was the biggest storyline of the night. Here are five takeaways from this game…

#1: A Kelly Olynyk first quarter scoring display.

When the Miami Heat hit the 20 point mark in the first quarter, Kelly Olynyk had exactly half of those points, scoring them in a variety of ways. Every few games, as I’ve mentioned in the past, Olynyk ends up on one of these takeaway pieces since he explodes from a recent slump. On night’s that he shines, his three point shooting is usually the reason, but his ability to find mismatches proved to be useful tonight. He has an ability to cut off the ball when a favorable match-up presents itself, allowing him to receive the ball in great position for a layup. The only issue is that those things aren’t utilized on a night to night basis, but when they are like tonight, things click for the team as a whole.

#2: Tyler Herro’s continued unique touch around the rim.

I’ve discussed Tyler Herro in different ways lately due to his evolving play, but his finishing at the rim needs to be mentioned yet again. He had 14 first half points, due to his ability to utilize the backboard on the move, which is not an attribute that is normal for young players. Goran Dragic definitely played a role in that development, since that’s a veteran move that Dragic utilizes when attacking off pick and rolls. His package is still growing as well, especially with minor moves leading to added opportunities when driving. A very impressive first half slight hesitation when driving baseline, led to a nice reverse layup at the rim, and those are types of plays that continue to stand out when evaluating the upside of his offensive game.


#3: Erik Spoelstra figuring out lineups for Andre Iguodala to thrive.

One of the things I mentioned a few weeks ago involving lineups with Andre Iguodala was that it doesn’t seem like a viable option to play him with Butler and Adebayo. It just limits offensive effectiveness due to spacing, which led to Miami’s new rotation. Part of this has something to do with Dragic being out, since Coach Spo is staggering Butler and Adebayo’s minutes, but the Iguodala elements comes into play as well. Most of his minutes lately have come with one of Butler, Adebayo, or Precious Achiuwa, since having three players who can’t stretch the floor as a perimeter threat makes lineups ineffective. If they’re figuring out ways to run these with Dragic out, it’s clear this will continue whenever he returns which will maximize the play of Iguodala moving forward with the bench unit.

#4: Kendrick Nunn finding scoring consistency, while his passing continues to make strides.

Kendrick Nunn has found himself on these takeaway pieces almost every night as of late, and rightfully so due to his consistent offensive play. The only thing that speaks to is that he is overcoming the inconsistent measures that once got labeled to him, but he seems to be very effective throughout the entire game since his insertion into the starting point guard position. But instead of discussing his scoring, or his defensive off-ball presence that I mentioned last night against Stephen Curry, his improving play-making abilities must be touched upon. It is not an overstatement when I say that Nunn’s entire game thrives from confidence, since when shots are dropping, he has much more confidence to throw difficult passes instinctively. Other than a few skip pass mistakes he makes here or there, he can read a half-court offense pretty well, which was displayed tonight once again.

#5: Adebayo and Butler filling stat-sheet with all-around impact, while setting up teammates as scorers.

At times, it’s widely known that Butler and Adebayo could be a bit too passive when their natural scoring talents should be utilized. But when facing a poor defensive team as they did tonight, it’s necessary to attack from all angles. As Luke Walton said before the game, the plan was to stop Butler at all costs from getting to the rim and free throw line by throwing a bunch of bodies at him. And with switching defenders throughout, it led to guys like Kelly Olynyk having easy opportunities match-up wise as described earlier. The point is that these are the games that Miami’s two stars can afford to be unselfish, while filling up the stat-sheet all around tonight led to both Butler and Adebayo getting triple-doubles on the same night.

Miami Heat: Regaining Confidence and Regaining Clarity

Although Miami won a game that they were expected to win against the Oklahoma City Thunder, it holds more value than you may think.

For starters, the confidence factor. This is across the board for everybody, but that starts with Jimmy Butler. He got some easy buckets at the start of the game, which was needed since him setting the tone was essential.

Also, the recent lack of 2 point shot attempts for Miami this season falls on Jimmy, since he is their primary attacker.

Duncan Robinson hitting 4 threes in the first half, after going 0-5 in the first half against Dallas is also very important. As I mentioned before the game, this match-up with OKC was a rhythm game. Getting Duncan back into his normal shooting rhythm holds value heading into Wednesday’s game against Boston.

So regaining that confidence was important for this team right now, but it wasn’t as important as regaining clarity.

Sixth different starting lineup in six games definitely doesn’t scream clarity, but maybe the slogan should be sixth time’s a charm.

Miami now has a clear 9 man rotation that they can go to on a regular basis, since this issue all along has been the 5th starter. I’ve been discussing keeping the main four guys off the bench together, since there is obvious continuity between them. The Goran Dragic and Precious Achiuwa offensive importance, and the Avery Bradley and Andre Iguodala defensive importance.

The fifth starter needed to be a guy that fits next to Bam Adebayo, can space the floor, and keep Miami in a good flow. And well, Kelly Olynyk did just that.

This does not mean Erik Spoelstra won’t change some things up with the starters or rotation going forward, but as of right now, he has his core group.

Miami needed both confidence and clarity these past few games, and it looks like they already have both after the sixth regular season game. And I believe that has a lot to do with the return of Jimmy Butler.

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.

Miami May Need a KO Punch to Close Out the Series

It has been clear that Kelly Olynyk hasn’t had the greatest series against the Boston Celtics, with a team worst minus-22.

This meant that he didn’t see the court at all in game four and played three minutes in game five. But will that be the right decision to try and close out this series?

The Miami Heat have struggled shooting the ball from beyond the arc over the past few games, which is very unlike them. This was due to the regression of Jae Crowder, and even guys like Goran Dragic weren’t shooting it well. This caused Miami’s offense to grow stagnant. Even though the shots weren’t falling, they continued to shoot them, instead of trying to attack.

But if the offense needed a spark to get the team on track, why not let Kelly Olynyk get some run.

He definitely hasn’t been great on defense this series, but ultimately you have to pick your poison. Do you take a chance on getting dominated by Daniel Theis to get your offense going? Yes. That’s a chance you must take.

Kelly scored 5 points in only three minutes on Friday night, hitting a deep three and throwing down a dunk off of a nice roll to the basket.

This is not to say that KO is going to need to play big minutes and carry them to a win. It just means that he will need to be utilized off the bench on Sunday night for longer stretches if these shooting woes continue. But if they get back to their elite shooting, it may mean that Spo goes with Soloman Hill or Derrick Jones Jr for defensive purposes.

It is now time for Miami to close this out in six. Kelly Olynyk will be given an opportunity to send his old team home. The question is if he will capitalize on the things mentioned, and I think he does exactly that.

KO will need to give the KO punch against Boston to send Miami to the NBA finals.


Brady Hawk (@BradyHawk305) contributes to the Five on the Floor platforms on Five Reasons Sports.

The Miami Heat’s 5 free agent decisions

The Miami Heat will have little time to celebrate a successful playoff run this offseason before making some roster decisions about the upcoming season. The Heat are positioning themselves to be major players in the 2021 free agency market, with names like Giannis Antentokounmpo, Kawhi Leonard, LeBron James and Anthony Davis potentially being available for the taking.


Although Miami is set to have enough cap room to sign a max player, there are some tough choices this summer that could impact the Heat’s “whale hunting” in the future. Here are a few of Miami’s impending free agents and where they potentially fit in Miami’s plans moving forward.  


  • Goran Dragic

Dragic has been one of the biggest stories of the team’s run in the bubble. He is leading the team in scoring in the playoffs and has displayed some of his best basketball in a Heat jersey this year. Goran is in the last year of his deal, which pays $17 million this season. Considering his production, that number is relatively inexpensive. However, at 34, his best days are probably behind him and he will likely return to the bench next season. Miami will want to reward Goran because of how important he has been to this team’s success but avoid messing with any of its potential spending for 2021. Is the Dragon willing to take a one-year balloon payment or will he take a multi-year deal elsewhere? 


Prediction: Dragic will take the one-year balloon payment this summer and negotiates a team-friendly deal with the Heat next offseason. Dragic has now spent half of his career in Miami and this run should help both he and the franchise realize that he should finish here. 


  • Meyers Leonard

Leonard has been a joy to have in Miami this season with not only his play, but his professionalism and commitment to the organization and the community. Meyers has been a model citizen this season and would have been welcomed back with open arms under any other circumstances. He will command more than his current $10 million salary this summer from another team. The Heat will not be able to match that. 


Prediction: Leonard will give the Heat an opportunity to retain his services. Unfortunately, the team won’t have much to offer him in terms of money, long-term security or playing time. Meyers will be a one-and-done in a Heat jersey, but he will be remembered fondly by fans.


  • Jae Crowder

Crowder was the steal of the Winslow trade. His impact on defense became a secondary thought when compared to the revelation that has been his three-point shooting. The Boss Man converted at a nearly 45 percent clip during the regular season for Miami after arriving from Memphis. He is shooting 38 percent on nine attempts in the playoffs. The team got more than what they bargained for in Crowder and will scramble to make room for him on this roster moving forward. The challenge will be convincing Crowder to forgo a multi-year deal and accept a one-year deal to remain in Miami. By all accounts, Crowder enjoys Miami and wants to be here. With his shooting numbers going up, so has his value to other suitors, many of which more willing to spend than Miami. He may have played his way to much more than his current $7 million number. The question for Jae is will he choose culture of currency.


Prediction: The likelihood of Crowder duplicating this year’s success next season are slim to none. He has been a sniper for Miami, but there is no evidence to suggest that he can sustain that level of play long term. Miami will do everything within reason to keep him, but ultimately, another team comes in with a deal too good for Jae to pass up.


  • Derrick Jones Jr.

DJJ deserves to be paid and he will be paid, but will it be by Miami? If the Heat were able to keep him at his current $1.5 million price tag, the deal would have been done months ago. Jones’ defensive length and athleticism are hot commodities in today’s league where long, versatile wings are all the rage. Miami might have an avenue to success. Unless they are completely outbid in the market, Miami may be able to use the scraps of the potential Leonard and Crowder departures to cobble up a suitable deal for the slam dunk champ. 


Prediction: Miami should be able to keep DJJ for a price between $5-7. The only two things that could derail that are unexpected offers from outside teams and Jae Crowder choosing to stay in Miami.


  • Kelly Olynyk

This one is pretty straight forward. Olynyk declining his $12 million player option for next year is as about as likely as Pat Riley calling Danny Ainge up to go for beers. Expect to see Kelly in a Heat jersey next season, unless he can be flipped for something better by the trade deadline. While KO has been inconsistent at times, at his best, he is the perfect complement to Bam Adebayo. His ability to shoot from range, above-average playmaking and basketball IQ have become invaluable off of Miami’s bench.


Prediction: Olynyk was nearly traded to Dallas last year along with DJJ to help facilitate the Jimmy Butler trade. While Kelly may start the season with Miami, expect the Heat to try and trade his expiring contract before the end of the season.  


Honorable Mentions: Solomon Hill, Gabe Vincent, Kyle Alexander, Udonis Haslem


Royal Shepherd (@RoyalAShepherd) has written for several major newspapers, including the Tallahassee Democrat and the Augusta Chronicle, and now contributes to Five Reasons Sports.

5 Main Comments from Media Session with Spoelstra, Herro, Olynyk

The Miami Heat are coming off a big game three win over the Indiana Pacers, as they prepare to try and sweep the Pacers tomorrow. Erik Spoelstra talked with some media about these past few playoff games, while Tyler Herro discussed some of their defensive issues. Here’s what was said…

Comment #1:

Erik Spoelstra talked about the recent success of his veteran Goran Dragic on the offensive side of the ball. He said, “If he shot 8 to 10 three-pointers a game, his coach would love it.” The same goes for Duncan Robinson. Spoelstra, Jimmy, and Bam have continually talked about wanting their shooters, including Duncan Robinson, Goran Dragic, and Tyler Herro, to shoot as much as possible. Spo also praised Goran’s work ethic when he mentioned the first playoff series against Charlotte a few years back, saying “their strategy was to go under on him…He’s put in such diligent work off the catch, not just the dribble.” Goran has been a much better shooter off the catch and shoot this season, since he’s never played this role before. This leads into Spo’s comment on his leadership, saying “I just think he’s gotten a lot more comfortable with his stature, not only within the league but within this organization.”

Comment #2:

Erik Spoelstra also took some time to reflect beack on the late great Kobe Bryant, since today would have been his 42nd birthday. Spo said, “I imagine Kobe Bryant would have figured out a way to have his own gym time at 5am…when everyone else was sleeping.” This was something that the Heat always took note of, since their star Dwyane Wade got his work ethic from Kobe as well, since he was the one he was chasing. Spo also mentions that “It’s just tragic seeing a lot of the stuff on the news today. I still can’t believe that this happened.” It still seems a bit surreal for everybody, since he was such a mentor in not only basketball, but in life.

Comment #3:

Tyler Herro discussed the way that Indiana has attacked him on defense through isolation. Tyler said, “It’s no secret who they’re going at, they’re going at me and Duncan.” It seemed as if Malcolm Brogdon was having a field day yesterday on offense, when he saw Tyler Herro matched up with him and no help defense around. After a couple late buckets from Brogdon, Jae Crowder was consequently subbed into the game for defensive purposes, and was the main reason that they came away with the win. Tyler also adds, “That’s something I’m not going to run from.” Although this was a problem yesterday, Tyler has shown some major defensive improvements in the bubble, mostly through his IQ on help defense. While the one on one stuff still seems to be an issue, Spo mentions that “They both really work at it, study it, and that why they improve. I love their approach.”

Comment #4:

Kelly Olynyk mentioned his role of being Miami’s single big, and consequently “doing Bam’s job.” Kelly said, “You’ve got to set screens, make sure the offense is flowing, moving side to side.” This is something that he’s continued to do in the bubble off the bench, which is why he made the cut for the 9 man rotation. And not only does he have to do Bam’s job, but he has to take the role as the spacer who can hurt the defense from beyond the arc. Kelly also mentioned that since Miami’s running smaller lineups, “you’ve got to rebound.” This is something Kelly put on display yesterday, when he grabbed 9 rebounds in only 13 minutes. Kelly ended with, “I’ve got to make sure I’m contributing.”

Comment #5:

Jae Crowder has clearly shown some major improvements in his three point shooting since joining the Heat. Kelly Olynyk spoke about Jae’s shooting compared to Boston, saying “I was looking at his shot the other day, and it’s really pretty…One thing you don’t want to do is ask what he’s doing, so he will think about it.” The reason you don’t want Jae to think about it is because he’s shooting with the utmost amount of confidence. This is mostly due to Spo’s confidence in him, when he would tell Jae to shoot them contested. Kelly also got asked if he has tried Jimmy Butler’s coffee, which he responded “No, I’m not a coffee drinker. But if he comes with some Jimmy Butler spicy tuna rolls, I’ll be right on it.”

5 Takeaways from Heat’s Second Scrimmage Game

The Miami Heat had an evening scrimmage game on Saturday, and they fell short, 101-99. The Heat were without Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo in this game, which was due to rest in preparation for the counting regular season games. Well, here’s what was seen in this game…

#1: Kelly Olynyk solidifying big minutes off the bench.

Kelly Olynyk’s spot in the rotation has been in question due to the Heat’s major depth. Well, Kelly proved he can definitely be utilized after he put up 27 points in today’s scrimmage. This was one of the major factors that the Heat were in this game, since the Heat’s starters struggled early. Kelly was a threat at all three levels on the offensive side of the ball, which then opened up the floor for guys like Jae Crowder. We know Kelly is capable of doing this on offense, but the question is consistency. If he can do this on a regular basis, he will be a major part of this Heat rotation.

#2: Tyler Herro bounces back after tough shooting game.

Tyler Herro was coming off of a game that struggled from beyond the arc. His shooting seemed to be back to mid-season form, but that’s not what stood out. What stood out was his play-making improvements. He seems to be getting much more comfortable with running the point, which is a role the Heat would love him to play. This has especially been the case at ends of games, when Tyler runs the offense and is the go to scorer. This is just a glimpse of what we can expect from Tyler in the next three years, where he may be the primary play-maker on the roster.

#3: Heat’s offense is choppy without Jimmy Butler.

Jimmy Butler took the day off on Saturday, after a hard practice the night prior. Something I mentioned after the first scrimmage game was how much more fluid the offense was when Jimmy was on the floor. This seemed pretty evident in this game since the offense was very choppy throughout, especially with the first unit. Though Tyler and Iguodala did a good job running the offense today, it just isn’t the same without Butler on the floor. Guys like Duncan Robinson and Meyers Leonard benefit when Jimmy is playing, since he constantly draws people in, which forces wide open threes. Don’t be alarmed by the tough scoring night by Miami, since this will be fixed quickly upon both Jimmy and Bam’s return.

#4: Turnovers become problematic for Heat rhythm.

The Heat seemed to make some mistakes throughout this game on both sides of the ball, but turnovers seemed to be a big one. We know the defensive mistakes that were made due to the lack of a defensively strong back-court. But, the offense will need to clean themselves up, especially in games that are tight down the stretch. This may be something else that falls under the Jimmy category without him running the offense, but there will be times without him on the floor, and they need to be trusted. This also may be due to the fact that most of the guys are trying to get back to their pre-hiatus form, but hopefully this won’t carry over into the regular season games.

#5: Heat’s bench unit seems to be Miami’s biggest advantage.

To end on a positive note, Miami’s bench unit seems to grow stronger and stronger every time they play. Between the Kelly Olynyk display, Jae Crowder shooting, and Tyler Herro play-making, it seems as if this will be the biggest match-up for other teams. At times it feels like the team is getting better once the bench enters, which is not the case for many other teams. Goran Dragic and Andre Iguodala are two other names off the bench that will impact this team, especially when the playoffs get going. Even Soloman Hill had good stretches throughout the game with his perimeter defense. As repeated over and over about this team, their depth is going to be a huge problem for opposing teams.

5 Main Comments from Spoelstra, Olynyk, Hill Interviews

As these post-practice interviews continue, you begin to see more of a comfortability in the players as they continue to adjust to these unique circumstances. Here’s what Coach Erik Spoelstra, Solomon Hill, and Kelly Olynyk had to say to the media today…

Post-Practice Comment #1

Solomon Hill started off his interview today with media on Heat’s star Jimmy Butler. He says that he can see how some people can create ideas and stories about him. He follows this point explaining how much of a competitor Jimmy is and how he shows it every time he walks onto the court. This is a perfect example of Jimmy showing his teammates what to do instead of just telling them. Solomon also says, “He defines Miami Heat. He defines Heat culture.” It’s been pretty obvious that this is true all season with his hard-work, leadership, and winning mindset.

Post-Practice Comment #2

Coach Erik Spoelstra was asked about the troubles of maintaining focus in the bubble without being distracted. He responded, “It’s not as challenging as everybody thinks on the outside.” He continues to say that it’s actually much easier to remain focused in this format since there’s nothing to do. He also mentions that he appreciates the idea of pushing the bubble protocols. He said, “This is not something we have experience or expertise in.” He basically wants everybody to be on the same page, which he seems to think has been going pretty smoothly.

Post-Practice Comment #3

Kelly Olynyk talked about how unusual it will be for teams to play in front of no fans. He seemed pretty optimistic about it, saying “There’ll be less distractions.” This means that the only thing on players minds will be basketball. Since well, that’s the only thing to think about in the bubble. He continues to talk about the conditions, saying they have never been seen at this high of a level. Although the no fans circumstances seem unusual, they benefit the Heat greatly since there’s been a lot of summer league, international, and community college play.

Post-Practice Comment #4

When Kelly was asked about the defensive schemes of this Heat team, he says “You have to have a little bit of everything in your arsenal.” This is indeed true for both the playoffs in general and these different circumstances. We have seen the Heat’s zone be used quite a few times this season, particularly to shut down the Philadelphia 76ers early in the season. Kelly continues to say “If you give any team a steady look at one thing, you’re gonna be in trouble.” We know Coach Spoelstra will have everything in his arsenal on the defensive side of the ball, especially in a playoff setting.

Post-Practice Comment #5

Kelly Olynyk also speaks about what he likes most about this Heat’s team. He talks about how this group of guys make each other better since everybody has different strengths. He says they’ve got guys who can slash, rebound, shoot, and have athleticism. And this is definitely true. This Heat team has a full roster of guys that are capable of getting hot on any given night. Which is why Erik Spoelstra will be trying out different lineups and players throughout the regular season games, to see who he can trust once the playoffs begin.