GUTS CHECK: Recent Success, The Next 10, Spurs Trades, Sixers reaction

Welcome to Guts Check by Greg Sylvander. A weekly Miami Heat column aimed at bringing readers my perspective on all the hot topics surrounding the team. You can expect a regular balance of sourced information, analysis and feeling the Heat down in my soul. In the name of Trusting the Spocess, let’s call these weekly columns position-less.

Since we last touched base:

  • Won vs Cleveland 124-100
  • Won at Chicago 116-108
  • Lost at Philadelphia 113-86
  • Won vs Charlotte 117-100

Reflection Eternal

The week of Thanksgiving brings about a time for reflection of course.

Back on November 12th, the Heat returned home to face the Pistons after most recently losing in Los Angeles to move to 6-3 on the season. Despite losing 2 out of 3 on that west coast swing I talked about how the next 7-game stretch provided opportunity for the Heat to take off.

The goal was to go 6-1 in the next 7 games. Fast forward to today, and they did just that. The Heat knocked off the Hornets last night in impressive fashion to move to 12-4 on the season. 7-0 at home.

This is how I approach each season. Break it up into chunks. Especially with a team full of young players finding their way in new roles.

Consider the last two weeks of Miami Heat basketball a success. Short term mission accomplished.

It’s okay to be happy about where we are at this point of the season. Complaining is merely optional.

The Next 10

The Heat’s next 10 games culminate on the road in Dallas on December 14th. The significance of the timing to follow is that players signed last summer in 2019 free agency will be eligible to be traded on December 15th.

This also will mark the Heat surpassing the first 25 games of the season, with that being a magic number for the front office as it evaluates the roster. The 25 mark is intended to represent the first deep dive into viable trade scenarios. Which I have been told was the plan in place all along.

Side note: Heat will explore Demar Derozan and LaMarcus Aldridge if the Spurs press the eject button on this season.

Riley has pursued both in the past and the fact that many trade packages being floated could/would preserve 2021 flexibility makes for particularly intriguing short term options. Issue will be cost. Riley has been especially fond of Aldridge since his Blazer days.

However, I wouldn’t even rule out consideration being made to parting with Winslow if it meant they could shed Dion Waiters and James Johnson in the process. Just my 2 pennies. However, I think they rather see Winslow, Butler and Adebayo play together for an extended stretch before making any rash decisions.

Anyway, let’s look at the next 10 games in a snapshot:

Wed, 11/27 at Rockets

Fri, 11/29 vs Warriors

Sun, 12/1 at Nets

Tue, 12/3 at Raptors

Wed, 12/4 at Celtics

Fri, 12/6 vs Wizards

Sun, 12/8 vs Bulls

12/10 vs Hawks

12/13 vs Lakers

12/14 at Mavericks

Coach Spo talked about finding out what the team was made of versus Philadelphia (more on that in a second) but truthfully this next 10 games will tell us infinitely more.

The goal for this stretch?

7-3 and you consider it a resounding success. 6-4 is probably the realistic target. 6-4 or better would be enough to continue to approach any roster shakeup with caution. You probably even take 5-5 in the grand scheme. But at that point you start to explore potential upgrades, particularly buy low candidates. Cough LMA/Demar cough, cough.

4 of the next 5 games on the road, 3 against East playoff teams (plus 1 against a team that owes us an ass beating) makes the most immediate portion of our next 10 games the most daunting.

Got Guts?

In closing, what in the hell happened from Heat Nation on Saturday and Sunday after that Sixers loss?

Get a grip. It’s one game.

I’ve seen firm declarations about Philly’s size and the Heat’s matchup issues. I understand the potential challenges, but it’s November. We did not get any favors from the schedule Gods and were overdue for a bad shooting night.

Relax.

Josh Richardson went crazy, that isn’t happening over the course of a playoff series. If it does, that would be Hornets Jamal Mashburn all over again wouldn’t it? Gross to ponder. Luckily, Jimmy Butler isn’t Eddie Jones.

I think we will be surprised at how all of these perceived “mismatches” look when the teams meet again. Adjustments will be made. Despite what you may read on social media, Bam Adebayo can combat Joel Embiid playing him for the pass without turning into Brook Lopez.

Also, Justise Winslow is needed against a team like Philadelphia more than any other matchup.

Speaking of Justise, it sounds like #JustiseBetter now health wise. Hopefully we see him play in his hometown of Houston, TX on Wednesday.

 

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