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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.

Tuesday Primer: Can the Heat free Robinson, get playmaking?

The Miami Heat are currently 1-1 in the NBA bubble after a blowout win against Denver and a close loss to Toronto. The Heat play the Boston Celtics tonight on the second night of a back to back. 

 

As the stakes are getting higher, teams are beginning to deploy special defensive schemes against the Heat. We saw this specifically by the Toronto Raptors against Duncan Robinson by running two players at him consistently and forcing him to pass the ball, in the rare occasions he got it at all. If the Heat were going to win that game, Raptors coach Nick Nurse made sure it wasn’t because Robinson torched them from the three.

 

This is just the beginning of the special attention Robinson will face moving forward. Robinson struggled to impact the game in other ways and was seemingly unproductive in 22 minutes of play time scoring 3 points on 1-5 shooting and grabbing 2 rebounds with a +/- of -1.  And he wasn’t in at the end.

When the playoffs begin, Robinson should expect even more attention from defenses to prevent him from getting good looks. Teams are scouting him and in a seven game series teams will adapt to Miami’s offense. Heat coach Erik Spoelstra will undoubtedly unveil some new sets for Robinson to help him get better looks and to counter opposing defenses. 

 

But when opposing defenses are able to neutralize Robinson, it emphasizes the Heat’s lack of a true point guard and someone who can consistently create off the dribble other than Jimmy Butler. Rookies Kendrick Nunn and Tyler Herro along with veteran Goran Dragic are the primary candidates to fill that need. Herro already gets fourth quarter minutes due to his ability to score, as well as make plays for others and handle the ball. Herro lives to play in the spotlight, so closing the end of games is what Herro wants. 

 

Nunn struggled against the Raptors too. He shot 0/7 from the field including 0/5 from the three, grabbed 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 points, a turnover in 16 minutes of action. Similarly to Robinson, Nunn often struggles to positively impact the game when he is not scoring. However, Nunn has more ball-handling skill and should be able to drive and create plays for others. His playmaking skills are still developing and he is not a true point guard, so it’s hard to expect solid playoff caliber point guard play from a rookie scorer. 

 

If Nunn continues to disappoint on the offensive end, we might see a change in the starting lineup — to Herro or Dragic. Herro came to the bubble showing an improved handle and ability to score off the bounce, especially when his shots were not falling. He continues to develop into a three level scorer which will be important in the playoffs. A change to the starting guard position might be the spark the starting unit needs in playoff games. However, this switch might disrupt the overall chemistry of the rotation. Unless Nunn, Herro, or both can show playmaking (and defensive) potential this year we should expect Miami’s front office to chase a strong 2 way guard this off season.

Miami will have a good test tonight against Boston, who has beat them twice already this season. 

The Boston Celtics are also 1-1 in the NBA restart and have played in two, down to the wire, high scoring games. Boston’s wings have been fantastic, but now with Jae Crowder and Andre Iguodala, Spoelstra has more options to guard them. In their first matchup this season, wing Jaylen Brown went off for 31 points and in their second matchup Hayward and Brown combined for 54 points. And of course, the Celtics have Kemba Walker who, even on a minutes limit due to a sore knee, will be a serious test for Miami’s guards.

Forgotten Heat in Miami: Bimbo Coles

Only eight players in the 32 years of Miami Heat history have played seven or more seasons with the team. Only one is in the Hall of Fame and has his number retired. Udonis Haslem leads them all with his 17 seasons and counting, followed by the GOAT Dwyane Wade’s 15. Both will join Alonzo Mourning with #40 and #3 in the rafters soon enough. Then you have Keith Askins with nine, Mario Chalmers with eight, and finally Joel Anthony (really?), Grant Long and Bimbo Coles with seven.

“My cousin named me that when I was 5 months old. There was an old country song, ‘Bimbo, Bimbo, where ya gonna go-e-o’ and it stuck,” Coles told the Bluefield Daily Telegraph in 2018.  “I tried to get rid of it, but everybody was like nobody is going to remember you by your real name, Vernell, but people are going to remember Bimbo.”

Ummm…Bimbo? Bad news. It doesn’t matter what we call you. You are the brand-new inductee of the “Forgotten Heat” Class of 2020.

NO DUMB BIMBO

Coles was part of the team’s foundation and played for a Heat that stood (or at least tried to stand) in the way of MJ’s first Bulls dynasty between 1990 and 1996 . However, before we go all Vanilla Ice reminiscing about the 90’s in Miami, we must take a detour in Blacksburg, Virginia. More specifically at Virginia Tech University, where Coles is considered among the best to ever play for that school.

Bimbo was the prototypical high school stud at Greenbrier East High School in West Virginia. A four-sport superstar that was named All-America in football and could have played cornerback in college and got drafted as a shortstop by the Philadelphia Phillies, he chose to play basketball for coach Charles Moir at Virginia Tech after also being recruited by West Virginia and Maryland. That probably was the worst decision of his life.

Virginia Tech Days

Turmoil and scandal embroiled the Hokies basically as soon as Coles arrived. The team went from being 22-9 in the 1985-86 season to its first losing season since 1970 with a 10-18 record despite Coles’ efforts leading the team in assists as a freshman point guard.

Things got even worse from there. You see, VT got put on probation by the NCAA and banned from postseason play until 1990 because Moir’s team was full of sham “student-athletes” who didn’t graduate -not a single one of them- between 1981 and 1986, and got false credits for classes they didn’t take. That tiny detail must have escaped Moir’s mind when he recruited Coles, and it meant that the best point guard in the school’s history would never be able to showcase his talents in the NCAA Tournament.

Bimbo briefly thought of quitting basketball to play football. Who wouldn’t? He must have felt so betrayed.

Moir left with a legacy as the winningest coach of Virginia Tech’s basketball history. Coles’ legacy was going to be in the shadow of scandal and championships that could never be won on the court.

However, he showed maturity beyond his years and persevered. Then he got rewarded as a member of the 1988 USA Olympic Team.

OLYMPIC FRUSTRATION

Coles had made a brutal jump as a sophomore, averaging  24.2 points and 5.9 assists per game and allowing Virginia Tech to bounce back with a 19-10 record under Frankie Allen in the 1987-88 season. That caught USA Basketball coach John Thompson’s attention, and Coles was called upon alongside David Robinson, Dan Majerle and Danny Manning to earn a gold medal in South Korea. He is one of just 10 Olympians in Hokie history.

Coles played in all eight games but struggled to adapt to FIBA rules, averaging just 7.1 points and 0.9 assists in 19.8 minutes per game. That team would go 7-1 but lose in the semifinals to the hated Soviet Union 82-76. Bimbo Coles went 2-for-4 with six points and two assists in 18 minutes in that defeat.

The bronze medal was bittersweet, and it gave way to what would become the 1992 Dream Team Coles would only watch on TV four years later.

THE JUMP TO THE PROS FOR BIMBO COLES

Coles endured two more brutal losing seasons at Virginia Tech after that, but he left the school as its all-time leading scorer with 2484 career points, a record that still stands to this day. His number 12 would be retired on March 3, 1990, shortly after he played his last game as a Hokie.

Coles had a choice to make after graduating and sending a message (“Bimbo Coles is not just a basketball player, he is a student as well”, since the California Angels drafted him in the 54th round of the 1990 MLB Draft despite not having played baseball since high school. In fact, he was one of nine future NBA or NFL players drafted that year. Only four of them signed contracts, but Coles wasn’t one of them.

Landing with the Miami Heat

Instead, he would become a second-round draft pick, 40th overall by the Sacramento Kings thar same year and then promptly traded to the Miami Heat in a draft day trade for Rory Sparrow. Maybe he would have been picked higher with the national exposure the NCAA Tournament never gave him.

Sparrow would go on to play a single season for the Kings, while Coles asserted himself in Miami as a backup point guard, never starting more than 65 games but also never playing in less than 68 of them.

The 65-game stretch as a starter came during a perplexing 1994-95 season. Coles averaged 10.0 points and a career-high 6.1 assists during that campaign, but he wasn’t in the game that faithful night in April that Glen Rice scored 56 points against the Orlando Magic.

The Heat were beginning their reset/rebuild and would finish 34-48 that year, 11th in the East. Miami never finished higher than eighth or won more than 42 games in Coles’ first tenure. But they did make the playoffs in 1992 and ’94.

The lack of stability at the head coaching position in Miami didn’t help him much. Ron Rothstein coached him as a rookie, then Kevin Loughery between 1991 and 1995. Finally, Alvin Gentry coached in an interim basis after Loughery’s firing in 1995. The Heat would have just three head coaches (Riley, Van Gundy, Spoelstra) in the 25 years since.

Traded Away from Miami

Coles would eventually be traded to the Golden State Warriors during the 1996 trade deadline fo Tim Hardaway.

He never made it past the first round of the playoffs or averaged more than 10.6 points per game. He does boast being fifth all-time in Miami’s history with 1961 assists, 19 behind LeBron James. Coles also trails Chalmers, Hardaway and Wade in that category. As a matter of fact, Goran Dragic will probably dethrone him from the Top-5 if he remains with the Heat next season.

There aren’t any Miami highlights of him on YouTube. As the old lady in Titanic would say, he only exists in our memory.

Coles would make his basketball career come full circle as a 35-year-old. After playing for the Warriors, Hawks, Celtics and Cavaliers, Bimbo appeared in 22 games for the Heat in 2004. He started once for a young Heat squad that had a rookie Wade, Caron Butler and Lamar Odom.

That team did make it to the second round of the playoffs before losing to the Pacers in six games. Coles watched all of it from the bench as part of the coaching staff. His last NBA game was on February 20, 2004 in a 125-92 Heat win over the Hawks.

With his legacy secure, Coles has settled down in Virginia coaching the Greenbrier high school basketball team. He doesn’t have his signature college mustache anymore, but his love for the game remains.

Home is where the heart is, after all.

We’re Headed for Heat-76ers, Aren’t We?

With Victor Oladipo recently announcing his decision to forego playing the rest of the 2019-2020 NBA season, it seems likely the Philadelphia 76ers and the Miami Heat will finish in the 4- and 5-seeds in the East. Currently, Miami is two games ahead of both Indiana and Philadelphia.

Yes, Miami does have a chance to catch the Boston Celtics at the 3-seed. But Miami faces a difficult schedule in Orlando. They’re already 2.5 games back and play Boston on a second night of a  back-to-back. And again, considering their strength of schedule, it’s a must-win if they have any  hope of grabbing the 3-seed.

The 76ers face an easier schedule. Unless all the 76er players forgot how to play basketball during the break (doubtful), they should easily move past the Pacers in the standings.

They only face one team in the top-4 of the standings from both conferences: the Toronto Raptors. It’s hard to predict if Philly can bump the Heat to the 5-seed, considering all the uncertainty of the resumed basketball season.

Either way, the Heat and 76ers will be the 4/5 matchup.

 

Heat-76ers Matchup

Both teams are confronted with lineup and rotation questions. Brett Brown experimented playing Al Horford off the bench, however it was only for three games because point guard Ben Simmons got injured. The sample size is too small to make definitive conclusions, but the spacing on the floor is clearly worse when Joel Embiid and Horford are on the court together.

It’s important the Heat use their seeding games to get lineups and sets aligned, regain team chemistry, and continue to build on the brotherhood.

The Miami Heat have yet to play at full strength after acquiring Jae Crowder, Andre Iguodola and Solomon Hill. With Meyers Leonard, Tyler Herro, and Kelly Olynyk expected to come back fully healthy, Spoelstra is going to be challenged with lineup decisions and rotation options.

After it was announced the Miami Heat were closing its facilities after three players tested positive for the Coronavirus. It is even more important now to use these eight games to adapt to each other’s play style and establish roles.

The Heat are 3-1 against the 76ers this year and hold the tiebreaker against them. After their first matchup getting blown out in Philly, Miami has controlled the matchup. They’ve beat them three straight times including an overtime thriller in Miami.

The Heat use their infamous 2-3 zone against Philly during portions of the game. They pack the paint and force an erratic shooting team to make outside shots. Philadelphia uses their size to exploit Miami’s defense and to get easy points with Simmons leading fast breaks.

What a Show it Would Be

Fans from both cities want and need a Jimmy Butler vs 76ers first round matchup. After Philly refused to sign Butler to a max contract, Butler made it clear he wanted out. He landed in Miami where 76er fans claimed the Heat wouldn’t even make the playoffs.

We should expect a high intensity, competitive matchup between two teams and fan bases that sometimes hate and disrespect each other. Philly has high standards to meet after many expected them to be favorites out of the East before the season started. Miami has exceeded expectations this season and looks to make a deep run in the playoffs.

Ultimately, this matchup won’t be anything less than a brawl.

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.

Forgotten Heat in Miami: Wayne Simien

3…Jason Terry sprints up the court…2, the three-pointer goes up!…1, off the rim! Wade grabs the rebound!  Throws the ball up in the air!  The Miami Heat win, 95-92, in Dallas to crown themselves as NBA champions for the first time in franchise history! And there he was, Wayne Simien, the rookie sprinting towards the joyous scrum of hugs and elation in a tan suit to celebrate with Shaquille O’Neal and Gary Payton, the same superstars he idolized and watched on TV barely a year earlier.

To check out the first chapter of the “Forgotten Heat” saga, click here.

This was supposed to be just the beginning for Simien. A high school and college All-American, he has the distinction of being one of the only two players drafted by the Heat out of the University of Kansas.

You thought the other one was Mario Chalmers, didn’t you? Well, you would be wrong. Chalmers was drafted by the Minnesota Timberwolves and then traded to the Heat back in 2008. The other one was Darnell Jackson with the 52nd pick in 2007.

Anyway, I digress. Simien arrived in Miami as a highly touted college player that had played in two consecutive Final Fours as a freshman and sophomore before being named an All-American as a junior and senior. He was touched by life’s magic wand, or so he thought.

Nobody could have imagined that the power forward with the potential to be the next Tim Duncan would become a draft bust and exchange the glory and fortune of the NBA for a church and the humble life of a pastor. This is the story of Wayne Simien, one of the “Forgotten Heat.”

JAYHAWK IN FLIGHT

Simien grew up 20 minutes away from Allen Fieldhouse in Leavenworth, Kansas, so he obviously always dreamed of playing for Oklahoma. Just kidding, he accrued every possible honor winning a state championship as a junior and being named a McDonald’s All-American and Gatorade Player of the Year as a senior. He also pursued his other competitive passion and won fishing tournaments with his dad, Wayne Sr., as a kid.

However, he was pretty underrated nationally despite of that. Kwame Brown and Eddy Curry were the belles of the ball and ESPN.com had him in 67th place back then in the Class of 2001 rankings. Not that it mattered much anyway…it was love at first sight and Kansas Jayhawks head coach Roy Williams wanted him on his roster as much as Simien wanted to make his childhood dream come true.

The 6’9’’, 255-pound forward joined a roster that had future NBA players such as Kirk Hinrich, Nick Collison and Drew Gooden. In fact, Roy Williams’ intention was for Simien to be Gooden’s successor as the next big threat in the paint for his team.

That desire would come true. Simien finished his college career 12th   in all-time scoring (currently 16th) surpassing Gooden’s 1,526 points with his own 1,593.

Everything seemed to be golden in his charmed life. But then storm clouds appeared in his horizon for the first time.

DRAFT SLIDE

Back in 2003, Kansas lost in the national championship game against Carmelo Anthony’s Syracuse squad. Maybe they would have won if Simien hadn’t been ruled out for the season after re-injuring his right shoulder during the regular season.

He had already had surgery on it in high school, then injured it multiple times in college jamming it on the rim, making contact with opposing players…it was a mess, so surgery was required once again. Simien would go on to average 19 points and 33 minutes the following two years at Kansas. But his injury history spooked teams picking in the lottery during the 2006 NBA Draft.

Then again, maybe that wasn´t all that made them hesitate. Simien had a bit of Carmelo Anthony-itis in him as well.

‘If the team lost and I played well, I would feel good about it. But if the team won and I played bad, I would be in a bad mood,” Simien told the Christian Broadcasting Network back in 2014. That was when a campus pastor approached him at Kansas and motivated him to dive deeper into religious study, changing his mindset forever. He joined a church group and made religion his guiding light.

TRYING TO AVOID SIN IN SOUTH BEACH

So imagine you live your whole life in humble Kansas. You devote yourself to religion. All of a sudden you’re thrust into the party capital of the world as a 22-year-old with revelers such as Shaquille O´Neal, Jason Williams and Antoine Walker as teammates.

Good. Luck.

“I remember walking in,” Simien told The Wichita Eagle in 2010. “They were like ‘This dude’s a Christian. Give him two weeks until he’s on South Beach in a strip club with me, give him such and such amount of time until he meets Suzie in LA. and does yada yada yada.’ They were taking bets on me, basically, cash-money bets right in front of me as far as how long it would take for me to have a hiccup or whatever.”

To Simien´s credit, the siren call of groupies and the NBA lifestyle didn´t deter him.

Pat Riley had drafted Simien with the 29th pick of the 2005 NBA Draft. To be fair to Riley, Simien seemed like a steal. He could be groomed as a big man under the tutelage of Shaq and Udonis Haslem. Most importantly, he was another big body at Riley´s disposal to fend off the big, bad Detroit Pistons. More specifically Rasheed and Ben Wallace.

The rookie moved to Miami with his girlfriend, Katie, who he’d begun dating six months earlier on New Year´s Eve. He asked her to marry him just two months later.

On November 2, 2005, Wayne Simien played the last 1:37 minutes of a 97-78 blowout win over the Grizzlies in Memphis. He had made his dream come true making his professional debut. The Heat were 1-0 to start their championship pursuit, and Simien was officially part of “15 Strong.”

THE BEGINNING OF THE END

Houston Rockets center Yao Ming (11) stretches to rebound a loose ball as Miami Heat’s Wayne Simien tries to gain control of the ball in the second half of the Thursday, Nov. 10, 2005, game in Miami. The Heat won, 88-84. (AP Photo/J. Pat Carter)

Simien would see action in 43 regular season games, starting two of them. He averaging 3.4 points and 2.0 rebounds in 9.6 minutes per contest. His postseason action consisted of three minutes against the Chicago Bulls in Game 3 of the first round. He played five minutes against the New Jersey Nets in the 111-89 blowout victory during Game 2 of that Eastern Conference semifinal matchup.

Simien went 0-for-3 from the field and didn’t score any points in either game, but he did grab a rebound against the Nets.

He didn’t play at all in the East Finals against the Pistons or NBA Finals vs. the Mavericks, but it didn’t matter. He was an NBA champion and would go on to marry Katie two weeks later on July 8, 2006.

Simien had never even kissed Katie for seven months before his wedding day “as a way to honor her”. They would go on to have five kids.

The 2006-07 season saw him be relegated after he missed the entire Summer League having contracted salmonella. Riley clearly didn’t trust him, and the “Disease of More” corrupted the team. Simien would barely score a total of 23 points in eight games. He didn’t play at all in the playoffs as the Heat got unceremoniously swept by the Bulls in the first round.

Simien would be a part of the Antoine Walker and Michael Doleac trade to Minnesota for Ricky Davis and Mark Blount prior to the 2007-08 season. The Timberwolves waived him shortly thereafter.

A NEW CHAPTER IN HIS LIFE

Simien would never play another minute in the NBA. He went on to join Spanish team Cáceres in 2008 after another American player had been kicked off the team for an incident with the police. Katie used to live in Spain, so they moved there with their by then two children.

However, that overseas adventure didn’t fulfill him. He officially retired as a basketball player in his prime as a 26-year-old in 2009. Simien went back home to Kansas. He spent the next decade being the campus pastor and helping youth sports though his “Called to Greatness” initiative.

His number 23 was retired at Kansas in January 2011. It’s up in the rafters next to Kirk Hinrich’s number 10 and legendary announcer’s Max Fankelstein’s number 60. Everything had come full circle. He was at peace when he spoke to a sold-out crowd at Allen Field House during his jersey retirement ceremony.

“I really hope that my legacy will be more than just about a guy who scored a bunch of points and grabbed a bunch of rebounds, but rather about someone whose life was miraculously transformed by Jesus Christ during my time here (in Kansas).”

He found a purpose beyond basketball, and with that he found true happiness.

Oh, by the way, not a single Heat player ever collected a dollar from the Simien bets.

 

 

 

 

 

Miami Heat

Miami Heat cierra su predio por otro test positivo de COVID-19

Hace apenas dos días, el entrenador del Miami Heat Erik Spoelstra hablaba con la prensa sobre el entusiasmo que generaba el poder volver a entrenar con un plantel casi entero antes de que el Heat tenga que reportarse a Orlando de cara al reinicio de la temporada el 9 de Julio.

Ahora las prácticas deberán esperar hasta que el equipo pueda ingresar a la burbuja protectora…y hasta que el equipo se disponga a su auto-cuarentena.

El Heat ya de por sí estaba sin Derrick Jones Jr. debido a un test positivo de COVID-19, y este jueves saltó otro jugador con resultado positivo. La primicia fue reportada por Five Reasons Sports Network esta tarde.

Se cree que el jugador estuvo junto a un asociado que a su vez también dio positivo, y dicho jugador ahora está en cuarentena. El Miami Heat cerró sus instalaciones de entrenamiento después de que un segundo jugador dio positivo por coronavirus.

Sin embargo, es la política de Five Reasons el no develar la identidad de nadie que de positivo.

El equipo planea reportarse a Orlando puntualmente. Se espera que Jones pueda participar de la preparación en Orlando, y (todavía) no hay razón alguna para creer que el otro jugador no podrá emularlo. La escolta de Heat, Derrick Jones Jr. dio positivo por coronavirus la semana pasada y ha estado trabajando a través de los protocolos de la NBA en un plan de regreso al juego.

El Miami Heat debuta el 1 de Agosto contra los Denver Nuggets.

El Heat ya sabe lo que es lidiar con situaciones delicadas de salud. Dos de los jugadores más importantes de su historia — Alonzo Mourning, Chris Bosh — vieron a sus carreras desviadas, o en el caso de Bpsh terminadas, por enfermedades tan serias como inesperadas.

Para más información, visite este sitio web y síganos en Twitter por  @5ReasonsSports (en inglés) o @CincoRazonesNet (español).

Miami Heat

Miami Heat close facility due to another positive Covid-19 test

Just two days ago, coach Erik Spoelstra spoke to the media about the excitement of practicing resuming with a nearly full roster prior to the Miami Heat reporting to Orlando for the season re-start on July 9th.

Now the practices will wait until they get to the protective bubble…and once the team self-quarantines.

Already without Derrick Jones Jr. due to a positive Covid-19 test, the Heat learned Thursday that another player had tested positive. That was first reported by Five Reasons Sports Network this afternoon.

It is believed that the player was exposed to an associate who has also tested positive, and is now in quarantine.

But it is 5RSN policy not to reveal the identity of anyone who tests positive.

The team is planning to report to Orlando as scheduled. Jones is expected to participate in Orlando, and there is no reason to believe (yet) that this other player will not.

The Heat open play again on August 1st against the Denver Nuggets.

The Heat are familiar with delicate health situations. Two of the most prominent players in Heat history — Alonzo Mourning, Chris Bosh — had their careers derailed, and in Bosh’s case, finished, by serious and unexpected ailments.

For more information, check this site or @5ReasonsSports on Twitter.

5 Takeaways about Miami Heat Restart from Erik Spoelstra, Goran Dragic

With the NBA and the Miami Heat restart set to return on July 30th, Erik Spoelstra and Goran Dragic hopped on a call today to discuss the team’s approach.

Here’s the five most important things discussed…

1.

The depth of this Miami Heat team has been one of the biggest questions come playoff time. We know they’re deep, but the question was if Coach Eric Spoelstra would go this deep into the bench in a playoff game. This seems to answer it with the quote, “We can go 3 deep at every position.” Be ready for some of Miami’s key role players to be huge sparks for the Heat off of the bench.

2.

Jimmy Butler is obviously one of the best leaders to have on your team in a format like this on and off the court. The young guys have somebody to keep them in line and focused off of the court. But also he’s a guy that will be physically and mentally ready for any match-up they face. Coach Spoelstra has the utmost confidence in Jimmy, and Heat fans should too.

3.

Less than a week ago, it was released that Derrick Jones Jr tested positive for the corona virus. The good news is that he is doing fine and still working out with the team over zoom. Also, no other Heat player has tested positive for Covid-19, which hopefully stays that way heading into the bubble for the Miami Heat restart.

4. 

Due to the fact that this type of format will be pretty close to a Summer League game, it gives a lot of the Heat’s young players an advantage for the Miami Heat restart. It also gives Goran Dragic an advantage since he’s played in these types of games in Europe many times. And as stated above, will help Miami adjust to these types of games very quickly.

5. 

Both Spoelstra and Dragic discussed the changes to be made about the social injustice in the world today. Coach Spoelstra talked about the use of their platform to the best of their abilities. He also states that all of the coaches in the NBA are working with the Obama Foundation on race related initiatives.

 

Forgotten Heat in Miami: Daequan Cook

The house was packed at Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix, Arizona on February 14, 2009, and Daequan Cook was about to show the world that he was a true rising star. The sophomore shooting guard was representing the Miami Heat in the 2009 All-Star Three Point Challenge. He had made it to the final round against the Orlando Magic’s Rashard Lewis and two-time defending shootout champ Jason Kapono, but most of the people in attendance had no idea who Cook was.

Dwyane Wade was in the front row cheering him on, and Shaq had actually picked him to dethrone Kapono, but at best he was known as “that other guy” who played at Ohio State with Greg Oden and Mike Conley Jr.

He went last, having to beat out Rashard Lewis’ 15 points (Stephen Curry was probably laughing at that in his dorm at Davidson) and Reggie Miller was having fun at his expense on live TV. “Congratulations, Rashard Lewis…I’m telling you; I know basketball players. This is (Cook’s) first time, I don’t think he can do it,” Miller said as Cook made just one of his first seven shots. But then Cook got hot and proved him wrong, making his last four including the money ball at the buzzer to force a tiebreak that he would go on to dominate, 19-7.

“This was my opportunity to show I could be one of the elite three-point shooters in this game. I came out and I did that.” Cook said at the trophy ceremony, envisioning a long career as Wade’s compadre in Miami. The thing is, that was the high point of an NBA trajectory that never took off. He became one of the “Forgotten Heat”.

An Elite Prospect

Cook came out of high school as a McDonald’s All-American and committed to Ohio State with his AAU buddies Oden and Conley as part of coach Thad Matta’s “Thad Five”, but he was actually the second best of the bunch. Oden was the consensus #1 prospect back in 2006, but Cook was in the Top 15 and actually rated much higher than Conley, who didn’t even crack the Top 20 (Side note: Chase Budinger was sixth, I love that).

Conley would actually make a gigantic leap as a Buckeye, while Cook stagnated and barely averaged 4.8 points in the NCAA Tournament. He rode the bench with two points in nine minutes in the championship game they would eventually lose against Florida. His draft stock plummeted, and many saw him as a second round pick in the 2007 NBA Draft.

Bringing the Heat

Enter Pat Riley. The Godfather was Miami’s head coach and seething after a disappointing 2006-07 season that saw his Heat go 44-38 and get swept in the first round by the Chicago Bulls as defending champions.  Shaq was gone, but so were James Posey and Kapono.

Riley needed a shooter and made a draft-day trade with the Philadelphia 76ers after selecting Jason Smith with the 21st pick to acquire Cook, selected 22nd.

Cook seemed to blend seamlessly into Heat culture and was blossoming in his second year during the 2008-09 season with career highs in games (75), minutes (24.4) and points per game (9.1) while his three-point shooting percentage rose from 33.2% as a rookie to 38.7%. That was the year of his All-Star showcase, and he was a part of an up and coming Heat squad led by rookie head coach Erik Spoelstra and Wade in his prime creating plenty of opportunities for shooters like him.

That was never more evident than in Game 2 of the first round of the 2009 NBA Playoffs against the Atlanta Hawks. Cook was a delight with 20 points in 35 minutes off the bench going 7-for-12 with six threes in 35 minutes. He was the spark Michael Beasley was supposed to be and never was.

However, the following season saw that spark flame out as he averaged 5.0 points in just 45 games, shooting 32% from deep.

Cook would never experience the “Big Three” Era, since he was traded in 2010 to the Oklahoma City Thunder along with the 18th pick of that year’s draft for the 32nd pick.

That 18th pick eventually went to the LA Clippers, who selected current Milwaukee Bucks guard Eric Bledsoe. The Heat went with Dexter Pittman. Good thing two guys called LeBron and Chris arrived in Miami shortly after.

A Steep Descent

Cook would actually play for the Thunder against the Heat in the 2012 NBA Finals. Well, played is a strong word.

His scoring total was 0, 0 and 0 in three of the five games. He didn’t take a single shot in two minutes of action in Game 1, a 93-86 Thunder win, and followed that up going 0-for-6 in 23 minutes during a 115-78 Miami romp in Game 4 in South Florida. Meanwhile., Mike Miller was showing him what could have been having the time of his life as Miami’s sharpshooter with seven three pointers in the Game 5 that sealed the series.

Things spiraled even farther from there. Cook went from being an important bench player for a contender to a non-entity in Chicago and Houston in 2013 before being out of the NBA for good after that season.

Cook went on to play in Germany, led the French league in three-point percentage with SPO Rouen Basket and made stops in Portugal and Iran between 2014 and 2017. He was a basketball nomad without a home, wandering the desert aimlessly.

“Yeah, bless his little heart, he grew himself a beard,” Renae Cook said of her son Daequan to the Dayton Daily News. “He looks like one of the Iranians now. He blends in good.”

And then he found his promised land.

Finding Redemption

Cook arrived in Nes Ziona, a tiny town of 50,000 people in the heart of Israel with a team called Ironi Ness Ziona, in 2017. Nes Ziona had three Americans in their roster, including former Villanova guard Corey Fisher. You know, that guy who scored 105 points in a street basketball game back in 2010.

Cook became the fourth American on the team and flourished in the Israeli League, being named an All-Star in 2019.

He is not in his prime anymore, only 33 years old. However, most importantly, he seems to have found a home and happiness once again away from the bright lights of the NBA.

L ‘Chaim, Daequan. You will always have Phoenix.

 

 

 

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