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Adam Silver, commissioner of the NBA

NBA Foundation Board of Directors Announced

On October 9th, 2020, representatives from all areas of the sport were announced in the NBA Foundation Board of Directors. The board is made up of players, executives, and the NBA Board of Governors. Similarly, 

 

NBA Popularity and Betting at Sloto Cash Casino

 

Depending on who you read, there are many theories as to the future of the NBA. Some say that the sport is more popular than ever, while others suggest it is losing viewers. 

 

However, many people choose to bet on NBA results through sites like Sloto Cash Casino which suggests that the NBA is still one of the favorite sports in the U.S. It seems that betting on sport is always popular regardless of whether people choose to watch the games or not.And, free wagering options such no deposit games have made it easier for the new sports enthusiasts.

 

Origins of the Foundation

 

Back in August 2020, the NBA Board of Directors announced that they are contributing $300 million of initial funding to create the NBA Foundation. It is anticipated that the Foundation will help to create a better economic situation for black communities. The NBA’s mission is to help black men and women who are at high-school or college, train, and develop the skills needed for career advancement.

 

The Foundation will also set up a leaguewide charitable foundation to be funded by all 30 NBA team owners who will contribute a total of $30 million every year. They hope that this money will be instrumental in enhancing youth unemployment, internships, and other career development programs.

 

Who Will be on the Board?

 

Eight representatives have been chosen including players, executives, National Basketball Players Association (NBPA), and league office for the inaugural members of the board.

 

  • Harrison Barnes, Sacramento Kings Forward


  • Gayle Benson, New Orleans Pelicans Governor


  • Tobias Harris, Philadelphia 76ers Forward


  • Michael Jordan, Charlotte Hornets Chairman


  • Tony Ressler, Atlanta Hawks Principal Owner


  • Michele Roberts, NBPA Executive Director


  • Adam Silver, NBA Commissioner


  • Larry Tanenbaum, NBA Board of Governors Chairman and Toronto Raptors Governor

 

As you may have noticed from that list, one name, in particular, stands out – Charlotte Hornets Chairman and former Bulls star Michael Jordan. Having such a high-profile former player on the board will no doubt help to raise the awareness of what they are trying to achieve.

 

Jordan has been the majority owner of the Hornets since 2010 after also landing a minority steak in the Bobcats. He is also trying to leave a legacy outside of the sport with the opening of a second medical clinic in October 2020.

 

NBA Principles

 

The NBA has always sought to highlight the issues surrounding racism and inequality, the Foundation is seen as one more step they can take to finally address those issues. However, not everyone believes they should be using the sport to be political. Even President Trump has become involved. In an article in Variety, he is stated as saying the NBA is in “big trouble” after kneeling during the national anthem. They were protesting against police brutality and racial inequality.

 

Some believe that it is the political stance taken by a few of the players and coaches that has led to the drop in viewers. The NBA just like any other sport has been struggling with the COVID lockdown and trying to keep the game moving in recent months. 

 

NBA Finals Game 5: One Year, One Goal, One Winner

Not many people expected the Miami Heat to be in this position right now. Well, except the Miami Heat.

How could a five seed with no perceived superstar take the crown of the East?

And there’s not one answer for that question.

For starters, it begins with the confidence from your locker room. Just a bunch of dogs that have continually been doubted and are here to prove people wrong.

That’s led by the leader of this team, Jimmy Butler. He hasn’t lacked an ounce of confidence throughout this playoff run, so what makes you think he’ll stop now. Even being down 3-1 doesn’t seem to faze him, because when you have confidence in both yourself and your locker room, that’s all you really need to win.

Another reason they’ve gotten to this point is because they have a bunch of guys who accepted their role on this team. That goes to the guys who were promoted and demoted in this rotation. Meyers Leonard and Kendrick Nunn going from starter to the borderline of the rotation, while Tyler Herro and Goran Dragic had to adjust to their new role quick. Not only is that not an easy thing to do, it’s not an easy thing for players to buy into.

Winning isn’t always about on-court stats and numbers. It’s also about decisions that are made off of the court, that’ll lead to guys putting up those numbers.

Erik Spoelstra made it clear that was necessary heading in, making sure this team was on the same page for the much needed adjustments that lied ahead. That’s because of the trust factor with this team.

When many believed Bam’s offensive aggression needed to improve or that Jimmy’s unselfishness may be a bad trait, Coach Spo knew his personnel, and denied it all.

The final and most important answer to that question is hungriness.

This team is hungry and will not be satisfied until they hold up that Larry O’Brien trophy. No matter if that time comes in a week, in a year, or in a few years, this team won’t let up on the ultimate goal.

As Gary Payton said in his latest piece for The Players’ Tribune, “Y’all are still here- and y-all belong here.”

One year. One goal. One winner.

 

Brady Hawk can be found at @BradyHawk305

Goran Dragic out for NBA Finals Game 2 as expected

Miami Heat guard Goran Dragic has been ruled out for game 2 of the NBA Finals, joining Heat big man Bam Adebayo on the list of players sidelined. Dragic suffered a plantar tear in his left foot in the first half of game 1. 

 

 

 

Both Dragic and Adebayo were listed as doubtful. Adebayo is expected to be able to return some time during the series. There is less optimism surrounding Goran. 

 

 

 

Dragic has been Miami’s leading scoring during its run to the NBA Finals. Rookie guard Kendrick Nunn will have to fill the void in Goran’s absence. Nunn scored 18 points in game one, which could help return some of his confidence after struggling during the postseason. Expect Jimmy Butler and Tyler Herro to also pick up some of the scoring load.

 

Game two will tip-off at 9 p.m. tonight.

 

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

The NBA Finals are a Bluegrass Series

The 2020 Eastern Conference Championship belongs to the Miami Heat. Yes, the fifth seed Miami Heat are playing for an NBA championship against the Lebron-led Los Angeles Lakers. 

There are a plethora of narratives this Finals matchup holds, however, it’s hard to look past the fact that there are six former Kentucky Wildcats between both organizations: Bam Adebayo, Tyler Herro, and Pat Riley for the Heat and Anthony Davis, Rajon Rondo, and Frank Vogel for the Lakers.

For this series, the players making the biggest impact — Davis, Adebayo and Herro — played for head coach John Calipari. Although Kentucky hasn’t won a National Championship since 2012 when they were led by Anthony Davis, its roster is continuously loaded with McDonald All-Americans and 5-star players year after year. Calipari focuses on player development and preparing his players for the league, perhaps at the expense of team success. Calipari wants his players to succeed at the next level and achieve their dreams of making it to the NBA, but most importantly making an impact in the NBA. Of course he wants his team to experience winning basketball, but it’s through sacrifice. It’s evident Calipari has done an amazing job readying his players for the NBA. 

A prime example is Tyler Herro, who has made an immediate impact as a rookie averaging 19.2 PPG, 6.3 RPG, and 4.8 RPG on 52/35/100 splits in the Eastern Conference Finals against the talented Boston Celtics. In Game 4, Herro exploded by scoring a career high 37 points on 14/21 shooting as part of a brilliant all around game. Herro was a late lottery pick, going 13th to the Miami Heat. Those who followed him since he was a junior in high school had as much belief and confidence in him as he did himself. When Herro decommitted from Wisconsin and committed to Kentucky, many thought he would never touch the court at a program so prestigious as Kentucky. But, Calipari recruits with intention and purpose. He wants players who want to be at Kentucky. He wants his players to embrace the grind and fall in love with the process.

Calipari tells every single recruit that it’s not easy at Kentucky: You’re not going to be the guy. You’re a 5 star player that will probably shoot 10 times a game rather than 18. The room for mistakes at Kentucky is small. Calipari is a true believer that practice will improve your craft but without demonstrated performance, your confidence will waver. He values players with the “dog” mentality, and, that is just what Herro had. 

It all started when Herro scored 16 points in the first game at the Big Blue Bahamas Tour. His playmaking and offensive talent was on display, and Calipari mentioned multiple times he hadn’t had a team that could shoot as well as his 2018 team. But, Calipari being the blunt and truthful coach he is, made it clear to Tyler he wouldn’t play if his defense didn’t improve. After Kentucky’s defensive meltdown to Duke, Calipari had to go back to the basics. The most basic defensive drills. They did defensive slides and an array of close out and box out drills. Calipari made it clear to his team — and to Herro — that if they cannot stay in front of the ball, they will never be a good basketball team. Fast Forward to NCAA March Madness. Herro, a former defensive liability, is guarding Wofford’s best player, Fletcher Magee, until then a big time 3-point shooter. Magee scored 8 points and shot 0-12 from the three.

Here’s the thing though: Tyler asked Calipari if he could guard Magee. He wanted the hardest defensive assignment. Tyler wanted to be in the spotlight, but on the defensive end. This speaks volumes to how Calipari’s system develops winning players. Herro learned to expand his game on both ends on the court. It’s safe to say Tyler made strides as a defensive player and earned his coach’s trust. Although Tyler didn’t put up crazy numbers in college, Calipari knew he wouldn’t meet a high level of success in the NBA like he is now without being able to defend. That is why it is not surprising seeing his playmaking and scoring ability on display here in the playoffs. It’s not that he couldn’t, it’s just that in college he was limited, due to the presence of numerous other star level players. 

Bam Adebayo has a similar story. He played a role at Kentucky. He also was a late lottery pick. And, he also has had early success in the league. At Kentucky, he was a high energy, rebounding machine with versatile defensive presence. Many were surprised to see Adebayo’s playmaking surface playing for the Heat. Again, it’s not like he couldn’t bring the ball up the court and be the center of the offense, it’s just not what was needed from him at Kentucky. 

There tends to be a common trend with Kentucky players. They are good teammates who can defend, and are coachable. Calipari builds the foundation for these players, but at the end of the day, it is the players’ drive and commitment to their craft that earns them respect around the league. There should be no surprise if these players thrive in the finals. They were built for moments like this, and they live for moments like this.

 

Jamie Levy (@JamieLevy_) attends the University of Florida. 

Heat-Lakers NBA Finals 2020: How They Match Up

Miami has its work cut out for them in the NBA Finals as they will face LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers. The Lakers present unique matchup problems for Miami. L.A. has two first-team All-NBA players in James and Anthony Davis surrounded by a host of savvy veteran players with championship experience. However, styles make fights and Miami may have a puncher’s chance.

 

The Heat played Los Angeles twice during the regular season in which the Lakers came away with wins in both games. The Lakers cruised to a 95-80 in the Staples Center in the early part of the season. Jimmy Butler led Miami with 22 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists. Bam Adebayo chipped in 11 points and 9 boards and Goran Dragic had 19 with 7 assists. 

 

Miami was outrebounded 48-37 in the game, with Javale McGee, Davis and James combining for 22 of those boards. Ball movement was also lacking for Miami in the game. The Heat finished with only 18 assists compared to the 30 for L.A. It was the ninth game of the season.

 

The second win came down to a Davis shot late that led to a 113-110 thriller in Miami. Again, Butler was Miami’s leading scorer with 23 and Kendrick Nunn added 16 points in 36 minutes. Even with Bam grabbing 12 boards, Miami was still outrebounded by the Lakers, 50-34. Again McGee, Davis, LeBron and Dwight Howard led in those efforts.

 

Both rosters have seen major overhauls since they last met. Both Nunn and Meyers Leonard were starters and now neither player is in the rotation. Miami had yet to trade for Andre Iguodala or Jae Crowder, both who figure to play major roles in this series. And then there is Dion Waiters, who the Heat can’t seem to get rid of no matter what they do.

 

The Lakers are without Avery Bradley, a major contributor and starter during the regular season. Rajon Rondo and Alex Caruso have seen their roles increase as a result. However, the main thing is still the main thing for the Lakers. James and Davis have lived up to their reputations as top-5 players in the league in the bubble. They will continue to be the engines for everything L.A. will try to do.

 

The Lakers will be the prohibitive favorite in this series, but that has been the case for the Heat in nearly every series. In each instance, where the opponents figured to have more talent, Miami has been able to win using a variety of methods. Head coach Erik Spoelstra has engineered strategies to neutralize league-MVP Giannis Antentokoumpto and bewilder the ultra-talented Boston Celtics. 

 

Miami has used hard-nosed defense and efficient offense to overcome what some view as a talent disparity in respect to their opponent. The key to this series will be if Miami can find a way to bother the Lakers dynamic duo. Easier said than done, right? Miami has the advantage in terms of guard play and overall depth. Outside of James and AD, the Lakers roster leaves a lot to be desired. The two average 25 and 26, respectively. Kyle Kuzma is the team’s next highest scorer at 12.

 

Miami’s balanced attack has six players averaging double figures in the postseason, led by Dragic at 21 points per game. Tyler Herro, who scored 14 points total in the two regular season meetings, will add an element that the Heat were lacking before the bubble. If he continues his current level of play, he could lead Miami’s bench against a lackluster Laker second unit. 

 

Other factors include Miami’s ability to throw multiple bodies at James, 3-point shooting, defensive matchups and smallball lineups. 

 

Butler, Crowder and Iguodala are all veteran defenders with experience covering LeBron. Bam may also spend a few possessions on him as well. Having that experience, albeit regular season except for Iguodala, should bode well in terms of making James work for his baskets. Bam seems to be the only reasonable matchup for AD. There is nobody else on the roster with the combination of length, athleticism and speed to deal with him. Having Duncan Robinson guard Danny Green keeps him out of foul trouble and on the floor. Unless……ya know…….the refs call some more of those invisible Duncan fouls they love so much.

 

If LA is going to start two bigs, that could also work in Miami’s favor depending on if Crowder finds his shot. In the past four games, Crowder has been left wide open for three. He will need to convert in this series to maximize the floor spacing. Forcing LA to play smaller is Miami’s best chance to keep this series competitive because they don’t have the bigs to deal with Davis, McGee and Howard.

 

Ultimately, this series will be the most difficult of them all, as it should be. The Lakers will be the ultimate test. If the previous series are any indication, the Heat will be prepared.

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.

The Heat’s respect-earning elimination of the Bucks

Won’t make the playoffs? First round exit? No shooters? Jimmy can’t lead a team?

It only took the Miami Heat 9 games to gain the respect and attention of the national media. The Miami Heat are going to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since 2014 when Lebron, Wade, and Bosh looked to three-peat. Although they were deemed “underdogs” this whole season, those close to the Heat organization and the loyal fan base knew this Heat team had a high ceiling. 

In Game 1, Milwaukee had limited answers to Miami’s versatility, athleticism, and toughness. Jimmy Butler was clearly the best player on the court scoring 14 of his 40 points in the 4th quarter. Veteran point guard Goran Dragic added 27 points on 60% from the field. Bam Adebayo was a monster on the boards, grabbing 17 rebounds and limiting MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo to 18 points. Your stars win you games. This was exactly the case in Game 1. 

Game 2 was left to the officiating. Jimmy Butler sealed the game on two free throws after getting fouled on a jump shot as time expired leading to a 116-114 Heat win. This game was pure physicality, 71 foul shots were attempted, including two flagrant fouls and a technical. This was a grind out game and Miami’s versatility was on display with 7 players scoring in double digits. 

Next was the 4th quarter comeback. Miami outscored the Bucks 40-13 in the fourth quarter of Game 3. Miami’s defense was stellar in the closing minutes, forcing the Bucks into a prolonged scoring drought. They shot 0-10 from the three and 6-23 overall in the 4th quarter. Jimmy Butler put the team on his back scoring 17 of his 30 in the 4th. Miami also had great contributions from Bam Adebayo who posted a 20 point double double and Jae (Allen) Crowder who splashed in 5 three pointers. 

Milwaukee rallied without MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo in Game 4 after he suffered a right ankle sprain in the 2nd quarter that kept him sidelined the rest of the series. Miami could have taken advantage of this and swept, however, it was obvious they took their foot off the gas. They lost their intensity from the first three games, resulting in their sole loss of the playoffs in overtime. Miami had no struggles scoring the rock, however, their defense slipped. The Bucks shot 49% from the field behind Khris Middleton’s 36 points. This was a nice humbling for Heat fans and a great gut check for Miami. 

Bounce back! The Heat closed out the series against the Giannis-less Bucks. This game was an all-around effort with rookie Tyler Herro shining in their 103-94 win. Miami had 6 players in double digits, a theme that is becoming more and more common for this Heat team. The bench took the reins of this game with stellar performances from Kelly Olynyk and Andre Iguodala, in addition to Herro. 

Miami is not satisfied yet, and the goal is obviously a championship. Miami will play either the Celtics or the Raptors next round. This series proved that Miami is a legit contender for a championship. Between their all stars, sharpshooters, defensive flexibility, bench scoring, and grit, Miami has all the tools needed to compete with the best. 

How will the Miami Heat use their depth in next round?

The Miami Heat had an impressive sweep over the Indiana Pacers in the first round of the NBA playoffs. Miami was in control every game and Indiana failed to come up with an answer to Miami’s hard-nosed, high energy, and high-level shooting team.

Their unselfishness and will to win was impressive. Especially since the trade with Memphis, adding Jae Crowder and Andre Iguodala, the Heat’s depth has been a big strength which was on full display in the Indiana series. The Heat had at least four players scoring in double digits in every game and different players came up big in different games. This is a valuable asset for Miami. Most teams look to simply “survive” when their stars are on the bench. They hope that their bench players can hold it down on the court and withstand enough to keep the game close. However, Miami’s bench looks to extend leads, not just maintain them. Miami has a deep balanced roster of veteran and young talent. Their roster is constructed in a way where there isn’t a significant dropoff of capable playoff talent until after the 10th man. Erik Spoelstra now has many bodies to throw at Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton.

With Bam Adebayo on the bench, Miami has at least 3 other players (Jae, Iggy, DJJ) to wall up and neutralize Giannis. In addition, Spoelstra’s starting lineup change has improved the Heat’s defense, without sacrificing the scoring of the second unit or compromising the Heat’s depth. Adding a former all star, Goran Dragic, and veteran wing Jae Crowder, to the starting five maximizes the Heat’s ability to switch on pick and rolls and spreads the court more for Miami’s slashing cuts and adept ball movement. Also, Spoelstra has created a rotation that allows the bench to operate with Butler on the court when Bam and Dragic are resting and vice versa. The productivity of the Heat bench should be a big strength in the Bucks series. Let’s take a look at the Heat’s bench and their impact thus far and what is to come. 

Tyler Herro

The 20-year-old rookie continued to show his fearless motor in round 1 of the playoffs, using the spotlight to shine rather than fade away. Herro was impressive in each game and continued to show off his playmaking and scoring abilities. He averaged 16.5 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 assists against Indiana. He even earned some praise from Heat legend Dwyane Wade, “Sooo Tyler Herro Is a rookie still right!???” Herro improved on the defensive end too, using his court awareness to guide him into correct defensive rotations. He is still considered a vulnerable defender but to average about 32 minutes a game in a playoff series proves that Spolestra trusts him on the court. This is a series where you can expect to see Herro’s mid range and perimeter shooting on display due to the Bucks’ length. Also look for Tyler Herro and Kelly Olynyk pick and pops next series because Milwaukee’s bigs don’t like to leave the paint. 

Andre Iguodola

Iguodola is a seasoned veteran, finals MVP, and three time national champion with championship pedigree that is valuable to Miami’s young and inexperienced players. He is not needed to fill up the stat sheet but to simply make winning plays and be a leader on and off the court. Iguodola will need to be an extension of the coach when he is in with the second unit. Next series, Iggy will be responsible for making sure his teammates are poised in uncomfortable or pressure situations. He will provide quality leadership by communicating and holding others accountable. If he knocks down 1-2 three pointers a game and plays high level defense against Giannis and Middleton, Miami has a good chance of coming out of the 2nd round. ‘

Kelly Olynyk 

Kelly has played very well within his role in the playoffs thus far. After Spolestra decided to remove center Meyers Leonard from the rotation, Olynyk comes off the bench as the “big man.” He spreads the court with his three point shooting and his creativity off of ball screens and handoffs leaves defenses guessing. He averaged around 14 minutes per game against Indiana, 6.5 rebounds, and shot 50% from the field. Look for him to be aggressive against the Bucks shooting thress as their centers are not as mobile and the Bucks rely on drop coverage against the pick and roll. 

Derrick Jones Jr

Airplane mode. Known for his high flying dunks and crazy athleticism, Jones Jr. is a plus defender and a vertical spacer for Miami. He only averaged around 10 minutes per game this series against Indiana, but still made an impact. If DJJ does any offensive damage for the Heat it is a bonus since he is mostly in to play lockdown defense. Look for DJJ to get similar minutes next series guarding Giannis and Middleton to take some burden off the starters. 

Kendrick Nunn

After an amazing regular season and rookie of the year campaign, Kendrick Nunn had disappeared from the rotation. Nunn tested positive for Covid-19 right before the Heat were scheduled to leave for the NBA bubble and it has seemed to impact his play. He was a DNP for the first three games of the Indiana series due to the coach’s decision. However, in game 4 against Indiana he reminded everyone what he can bring to the table when he is playing well. Nunn and DJJ should split minutes for the 10th spot depending on matchups.

5 Takeaways from Suns Victory Over Short-Handed Heat Team

The Miami Heat played yet another game short-handed against the Phoenix Suns, due to Jimmy Butler, Goran Drgaic, and Kendrick Nunn being out. Miami fell short to Phoenix, 119-112, even with big games from the Heat’s young projects. Here are some takeaways from this game…

#1: Duncan Robinson uses team’s offensive shortage to expand his game.

Duncan Robinson seems to be one of the keys to every game the Heat play, but this was a different Duncan. I previously mentioned him expanding his game on the ball in this game, due to the fact that three of Miami’s four best scorers were out. Duncan definitely has some tricks in his bag that don’t involve catching and shooting, but he hasn’t been able to showcase them much. Tonight, he showed his ability to attack the basket, which seemed to catch the Suns off guard since it definitely wasn’t on the scouting report. People also forget that this is basically Duncan’s rookie year, which means he has plenty of time to develop this side of his game.

#2: Gabe Vincent utilizes minutes to try and earn rotation spot, but showcases another aspect.

With Kendrick Nunn away from the team at the moment, Tyler Herro was called up to the starting lineup and consequently lead to Gabe Vincent minutes off of the bench. This gave Gabe the opportunity to prove he can get minutes on this team, especially with Kendrick’s recent struggles. Although Gabe struggled shooting the ball from deep, which is his strength, he proved the other parts of his game are just as strong. He seemed to be a good play-maker, a high basketball IQ, and most importantly solid defense. These are some things that have been in question for Kendrick Nunn over the last few games, which may ultimately lead to yet another lineup change.

#3. Miami using new strategy, which is attacking team’s best player.

The Heat have seemed to try out a new offensive strategy through these few bubble games, which has been to get the other team’s best player in foul trouble. They have continued to attack early in games over the last week, which lead to Giannis Antetokounmpo and Marcus Smart early foul trouble. They also tried to attack Devin Booker early in today’s game, but it evidently didn’t lead to fouls. This may not be a bad idea to do, especially with the amount of physical offensive players on this roster. This also points to another advantage for the Heat over the Philadelphia 76ers. It’s been pretty easy to get 76er’s star Joel Embiid in foul trouble this year, which may ultimately be their game plan in a series against him. This may be something to keep your eye on over the course of Miami’s next few games.

#4: Tyler Herro tries to match his player comparison, Devin Booker.

Tyler Herro has continually been compared to Devin Booker, which is as good of a comparison as you can get. Tyler has said that he tries to model his game after him, and has watched a lot of film of him over the break. And with Tyler being the starting point guard tonight, he was looked at to try and match Devin Booker’s scoring, which is far from an easy task. But, Tyler Herro did just about that. He showed a lot of Devin Booker flashes scoring the ball with 25 points, but really stepped up as the point guard. He continues to showcase different ball-handling packages and most importantly his play-making, which he ended the game with 10 assists. He seems to be very comfortable at this position now, even more comfortable than Kendrick looked at the point. Tyler used this as a statement game to prove he will be the starting point guard on this team for a long time to come.

#5: Bam Adebayo’s offensive motor more important now than ever.

After Bam talked about his body not responding as quickly as it usually does during a media session yesterday, there were a lot of questions about him in today’s game. But, he began to make that jump that was much needed in a game without three of your offensive talents. He also seemed confident in his jump shot from 15 feet early in the first, which seemed Chris Bosh-esque, but it just wasn’t falling. This lead to the basket attacking Bam Adebayo that Heat fans have been waiting for in the second quarter. This included some post-moves, finishing at the rim, and a pair of And-1 plays. With all of the elite shooting on this roster, Bam is key to open up the floor for all of their shooters. Once Bam becomes a consistent offensive problem for other teams, this will elevate this Heat team to the next level.

Heat’s Kendrick Nunn leaves NBA Bubble, leaving guard shortage (w/UPDATE)

The Miami Heat, already likely without Goran Dragic (ankle) and Jimmy Butler (foot) for Saturday’s game against the hot Phoenix Suns, will be without Kendrick Nunn for longer.

Nunn left the NBA’s Bubble on Friday to attend to a personal issue, according to multiple sources.

UPDATE: He is expected to return this weekend, to begin the NBA’s mandated quarantine period, which starts at four days. That would make him available for the playoffs that begin the week of August 17th.

The rookie guard was late coming to the Bubble after testing positive for Covid-19, but this is not related to the disease or any other health matter in any way.

It also, according to a source, is not directly related to Nunn’s struggles on the court, which caused coach Erik Spoelstra to publicly support him in a Zoom conference call with media earlier on Friday.

There have been concerns of late inside the organization about Nunn’s focus of late, according to sources. But they were aware he might need to leave the bubble to address the issue.

Without Nunn, the Heat will likely start rookie Tyler Herro — who seems ready for an ascension — or rookie Gabe Vincent, who was listed as probable after being unavailable the past couple of games. Both Herro and Vincent will probably play a lot, because Miami is now very short on perimeter players.

Goran Dragic spoke to the media Friday for the first time since rolling his ankle twice against Boston on Tuesday, and said that the injury was not as bad as he initially thought, and that he would try to get some extra work in on Friday night. But he also said he wants to be judicious, and with the Heat likely headed for a 4 or 5 seed no matter what happens in the final four games, there’s no reason to push him.

 

 

The other question is when Jimmy Butler returns.

He missed Tuesday and Thursday’s game with a sore foot, which is not believed to keep him out for any games once the playoffs start the week of August 17th.

But he also is being careful, as is the team, not to do too much too fast.

And he was at practice with the team.

Erik Spoelstra has spoken about the Heat’s depth being an advantage.

It will certainly be tested now, against a Suns squad that is playing well behind Devin Booker, and aiming for a play-in spot in the Western Conference.