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5 Takeaways from interview with Meyers Leonard

The Miami Heat’s starting center, Meyers Leonard, went on a zoom call today to discuss his status, the team’s situation and more as they head into the bubble in a couple of days.

Here’s some of the key moments from this interview…

1.

Meyers Leonard talks about his current role with the Miami Heat and the impact he thinks he makes. Also mentioning he didn’t have a consistent role in Portland but does here. He says, “I don’t care about stats. All I care about is wins.” This has shown to be true since the Heat went 34-15 when Meyers was starting this season. It also caused the Heat to be in a bit of a slump down the stretch of the season. So getting him back on the floor should get the Heat back to their early season form.

2. 

One of the most important parts of this Miami Heat team is a healthy Meyers Leonard. Which is why it was great to hear Meyers say everything healed correctly. One of the only positives of the hiatus for the Miami Heat, if there was one, was getting Meyers Leonard back to 100%. So hearing him say he feels good with less than a month away from the season returning is big for this Miami Heat team.
3. 

It’s always great to hear Heat players embracing the Miami Heat culture. Meyers definitely thinks it’s a plus saying, “Heat culture is very real.” He also goes on to saying that everyone knows their role on this team, which definitely fits this format. Having a certain type of structure in the bubble should definitely benefit the Heat.
4. 

Meyers talks about the depth of the rotation after Miami acquired Jae Crowder and Andre Iguodala. Meyers has yet to play a game with them since he has been out with injury since the trade was made. He says he will have to earn his spot again once the season resumes in Orlando. This won’t be a problem for Meyers since his strengths of on court vocal abilities and leadership will be much needed in a playoff setting.

5.

Meyers Leonard says, “When you win, you get paid and you get to stick around.” The word that best  describes this quote is earning, which is something he brings up a couple of times throughout the interview. He then ends the interview saying, “I like it here,” which should make all Heat fans happy since this is the last year of his deal. And hopefully re-signs so he can help lead Miami to the playoffs for many years to come.

5 Most Interesting Miami Heat Player Stats for this Season

The Miami Heat have had their ups and downs throughout this shortened season. They started out the season hot, but took a bit of a dive post-all star break after some unfortunate injuries.

They played great against the top teams including Milwaukee, Toronto, Philadelphia, and more. But they also struggled against many bottom tier teams which seemed to be their downfall. Playing down to their competition is the best way to explain it.

They also had a major trade before the trade deadline that added two veteran talents in Jae Crowder and Andre Iguodala. This definitely takes some time to find the right chemistry and camaraderie both on and off the floor.

Through all of this, they managed to reach the four seed in the East with a 41-24 record. Well, these are some of the stats that may have lead to this winning record.

1. The Miami Heat were 28-12 when Bam Adebayo scored 15 or more.

It’s been said over and over throughout the season, Bam needs to trust himself as much as his teammates and fans do. He has proven he can score above the rim, in the paint, and has even showed flashes of a mid-range. But at the end of the day, he’s a born play-maker. He’s a point guard in a centers body with his passing and court vision skills, which is why he feels much more comfortable with that part of his game than with a jump-shot. But in many instances, we need Bam to be the aggressive offensive player that we all know he can be. When Bam scores 15 points or more, they have a 70% win percentage, which shows his offensive game is second to none.

2. Miami is 13-3 when Tyler Herro hits 3 or more threes.

Tyler Herro was drafted first and foremost for his outstanding shooting abilities, but the question was how long it take for him to translate his game to the NBA. That didn’t take long after he put on a shooting display in both Summer League and preseason. He’s also one of those players that once he gets going, he’s hard to stop. This is because of the confidence that he has every time he steps out on the floor. Once he hits 3 triples in a game, the opposing teams defense changes to make sure they double team and close out when he has the ball. This opens up the offense to others to attack the basket which then translates to many good team wins.

3. When Jimmy Butler distributes 6 or more assists, the Heat are 24-9.

It’s pretty clear that Jimmy Butler is the heart and soul of this Miami Heat team. He proved his leadership in Miami that was deemed cockiness and arrogance in his last few teams. The difference is that the Heat guys get it. They want to win just as bad as Jimmy does, which leads to Jimmy’s belief in his teammates. He has shown time and time again that his first offensive option is to get his teammates involved as much as he can. This obviously translates to wins since the Heat have a 73% win percentage when Butler plays as the outstanding play-maker that he is.

4. The Heat are 34-15 when Meyers Leonard starts.

It seems as if Meyers Leonard doesn’t get the credit that he should for this Heat team’s success. He has proven to be one of the team’s most important leaders for his voice on and off of the court. And as said before, his ability to stretch the floor against other bigs, gives Bam the spacing he needs to attack the rim. He also helps Bam with big defensive assignments since Bam thrives on perimeter defense. Meyers Leonard is the perfect fit for this team and continues to showcase his winning mentality that he’s had his whole career.

5. Miami is 14-3 when Duncan Robinson shots over 60% from three. 

Duncan Robinson is one of the best three point shooters in the NBA and is number 5 in three point percentage. He seems to shoot the three ball at a high clip almost every night, but when he’s hitting 60% of his threes, the team is far from easy to contain. Especially with the off ball movement that Duncan displays seems to tire out defenses much faster. It’s pretty hard to be shooting the percentage that Duncan does since he’s shooting about 8 threes a game. The Heat will need him to uphold this three point dominance, since it seems to be pretty effective with winning Miami Heat basketball.

Meyers Leonard is Key to a Winning Miami Heat Team

Meyers Leonard accepted his role as soon as he arrived in Miami.

A winning role.

He’s a player that compliments his fellow big, Bam Adebayo, perfectly. He spaces the floor due to his respected three point shooting, which leads to drawing the big man out of the paint for Bam and others. He also can take the defensive assignment of a true big, since Bam seems to thrive when playing perimeter defense due to his quickness.

Meyers played the first 49 games of the season with the Heat, but missed the next 16 due to an ankle injury. After Meyers went out with this injury, the Heat lost 7 of there next 9 games without him. Miami started the season 34-15 with Meyers, but went 7-9 in their last 16.

This is because Meyers is much more than a role player. When people talk about the reasons the Heat were so good this year, his name usually doesn’t come up.

But it should, especially after the Heat struggled to find consistency without him. They rotated several players next to Adebayo, from Derrick Jones Jr. to Jae Crowder to Kelly Olynyk, but none had the physical presence that allowed Adebayo to be his roaming, disruptive best. The difference was also seen during the season series against the rival Philadelphia 76ers — Miami turned that around when Erik Spoelstra chose to give him a second stint in each half, rather than shelving him after one.

He’s also a guy that makes teammates more comfortable on the floor with his willingness to communicate and direct, which is especially important in the postseason.

This is not only because the game slows down in the playoffs, but also with the many young guys in Miami’s rotation. Inexperienced performers such as Kendrick Nunn, Duncan Robinson, and Tyler Herro need their vocal leaders that they can look to in a tough playoff game.

And speaking of the postseason, Meyers definitely doesn’t shy away from big moments himself…

There are definitely many important pieces on this Heat team. But it seems as if one of those irreplaceable pieces — which is least spoke of — is indeed, The Hammer.

And now, after the extended break, he’s healthy. And in a contract year.

So it should be a solid finish.

Jimmy Butler, Miami Heat blow kisses to TJ Warren on social media

The Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers aren’t exactly the best of friends.

This has been the case for years. Remember Udonis Haslem and Lance Stephenson? And LeBron James and Lance Stephenson? And Ray Allen and Lance Stephenson? And Juwan Howard and Lance Stephenson?

OK, you get it. There was some stuff with David West and Danny Granger too.

Things got a little chippy between the two teams again on Wednesday night, with Jimmy Butler and T.J. Warren had an exchanging of pleasantries during the Miami Heat’s 122-108 win over the Indiana Pacers. Butler had a great night, scoring 14 points on five-of-six shooting from the field. He also made all four free throws he attempted, and recorded six rebounds.

Warren had a rough night to say the least. He went one-of-five from the field and made one of two attempts from the free throw line. He had three points in 23 minutes of play. Warren was also a -25 while he was on the floor. When these two teams meet again on March 20, things should be interesting.

Miami leads the season series by a 2-0 margin. Prior to this game, they met on December 27 at American Airlines Arena. The Heat won narrowly, 113-112. The series is certainly trending in the right direction, particularly since the Pacers won the last three meetings prior to Miami winning the pair.

Friday, March 20 should be a whole lot of fun. That is the next time the Heat and Pacers will face off. Bankers Life FieldHouse will be the venue, and  it will set the stage for a Butler-Warren rematch.

If Warren shows up.

Maybe not if someone shows him social media from tonight.

It’s safe to say that Jimmy Butler is looking forward to this matchup. His post on Instagram said it all. Derrick Jones Jr., who played with Warren in Phoenix in 2017-18 also added his two cents on Twitter in regards to Wednesday night. Meyers Leonard did the same.  One thing is for certain: There is certainly no love lost between these two teams.

There is no doubt that his words with Warren ignited a competitive fire. That’s the type of Jimmy Butler we love to see. There is little doubt that he will be booed when Miami travels to Indiana. However, that will undoubtedly fuel the fire for him to play even harder. I can’t wait to see how it all plays out, and if the tensions increase in subsequent matchups.

Because all the Heat players appear to be firmly on Butler’s side, including the rookies:

And the veterans:

Don’t forget about the Meyers Leonard addition

Meyers Leonard is not the name that comes to mind of Heat fans when thinking of new acquisitions. In an offseason that netted Miami a top 10 player in Jimmy Butler (yea, I said it), Leonard’s name gets lost in the fanfare.

Don’t let it.

Not just because he and his wife Elle are social media superstars.

 

Or because he looks so damn good in a vice uni. Right, Meyers Leonard?

 

 

Fans should be excited because Meyers Leonard has the chance to be a key contributor on a Heat team poised to finish in the top half of the Eastern Conference playoff picture.

The former 11th overall pick is coming off his most efficient offensive season, averaging 5.9 points a game on 55% shooting. Not to mention The Hammer was an 84% free-throw shooter in 2018.

But the big man’s most important spot will be a couple of steps back. Leonard shot 45 perfect from three in 2018, standing at an unblockable seven feet and one inch off the ground. And if anyone can maximize a stretch big it is Heat coach, and recently richer man, Erik Spoelstra (see Christopher Wesson Bosh).

And we saw some signs in the Heat’s annual Red, White and Pink scrimmage, when Leonard made four three-pointers in six attempts.

All that being said, he might not even be the best three-point shooter in his own house.

 

 

Heat fans should do themselves a favor and follow this man both on and off the court.

We got [BIG] shooters.