Cup of Joe Presented by Café Bustelo: Scrimmage Roundup
After four and a half months without a refill, we’re finally back with another Cup of Joe.
If you need a little refresher on what this is (even I did, so don’t feel bad), it’s your weekly catch-up on all things HEAT.
Over the past two and a half weeks, the team has grinded through camp and competed in three scrimmages at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando.
And while Miami had a tough outing in its third and final scrimmage on Tuesday against the Grizzlies, there were still some positives to take away from the exhibitions.
So, without further ado, let’s get into those and some notable trends that could continue once things get real on August 1.
Ball Movement Still Strong
Although Erik Spoelstra worked with different lineups and rotations in the three scrimmages, the HEAT’s ball movement still remained sharp.
In fact, 79.8 percent of Miami’s field goals were assisted on. (Yes, you read that right.)
“I think the connection and the ball movement is still evident with this group,” Spoelstra said. “This group really enjoys sharing the game, sharing the ball with each other and trying to help each other play well. That’s a really special quality about this ball club.”
Herro Developing As A Ball Handler
One of the special qualities about Tyler Herro is his unparalleled work ethic.
It would have been easy for the rookie to rest on his laurels and just hone in on his already strong shooting ability during the hiatus.
But he did far more than that.
In addition to getting down to 5.5 percent body fat, he also worked on his ball handling and studied guys like CJ McCollum, Klay Thompson, Ray Allen, Steve Nash and Bradley Beal.
Because of that, Herro fared pretty well as a facilitator and finisher off the dribble in the scrimmages.
“He’s fearless, but you can see how he’s continuing to develop his skill level. He’s not just a shooter, he’s a driver, he’s a playmaker…and that makes him dynamic, that playmaking ability,” Spoelstra said. “And that will only continue to get better as he learns how to read defenses and as his body gets stronger. The work ethic and development will continue to happen. He just grinds every single day.”
Of course, the 20-year-old also did his usual damage off the catch and utilized screens effectively to get open for buckets both at the rim and from mid-range. All told, Herro averaged 14.3 points, a team-high 6.0 boards and 3.0 assists per game.
KO Picking Up Where He Left Off
It’s no secret that Kelly Olynyk was playing his best basketball of the season before the league shut down on March 11.
And he continued to do more of the same in the HEAT’s three tune-ups.
From screen assists and pinpoint passes to crafty finishes and pick-and-pop treys, KO was…well…KO.
Jae Crowder, who has familiarity with Olynyk from their Boston days, lauded the Canadian for his versatility and noted his importance to the second unit.
“We put the ball in his hands a lot with our unit to trigger a lot of different sets,” Crowder said. “…having that comfortability with him [from back with the Celtics] has been great just because he’s able to not only make a shot for himself, but draw the defense in and make the right pass.”
Thanks to a 27-point outburst against the Jazz on Saturday, Olynyk actually led Miami with 17.0 points per game on 55.2 percent shooting in the bubble. And even though the big fella was balling out post All-Star Break, he mentioned that the quarantine helped him get into even better shape.
“My body, through the quarantine, has gotten to rest, and I feel like I’m in great shape. My body feels the best it’s almost ever felt in the NBA,” Olynyk said. “It’s very rare that you get a four-month break to rest and work on yourself and your body, so it’s been great for me, and I feel great right now.”
Odds & Ends:
-When the HEAT acquired Crowder, Andre Iguodala and Solomon Hill at the trade deadline, Pat Riley talked a lot about how Iguodala is an elite defender.
And in the scrimmages, the 36-year-old Iguodala certainly showed flashes of being just that.
Not only did the 16-year vet exhibit crazy good defensive instincts, but he also kept the ball moving and facilitated for others.
Naturally, Coach Spo praised Iguodala for making winning plays.
“He does so many things that you can’t teach and so many things that help you win that don’t show up in a box score. And I think every single coach in this league recognizes what Andre Iguodala brings to the basketball court,” Spoelstra said. “He just makes things go smoother, run better, and he always seems to be in the right place at the right time, particularly defensively. These are the types of things you’re trying to teach young players, and he’s done it, obviously, at the highest level. He’s extremely versatile, so you can put him anywhere on the court, and he’ll find a way to make an impact…the intangibles, the winning plays and his mind, that’s super unique. And I don’t see it as a coincidence why he was so important on those Golden State championship teams.”
-Duncan Robinson is one of the best shooters in the league. We all know this.
As such, opponents in the bubble locked in on him and tried to take his best skill away.
Luckily enough, he adapted, still shot it well from deep (he led the squad in three-point percentage at 47.4 percent) and set up his guys when the shot wasn’t there.
As Spoelstra mentioned following the Kings game, “he’s an incredible worker.”
-After missing Miami’s first two scrimmages, Bam Adebayo made his return to action on Tuesday and continued to show great chemistry with Jimmy Butler. And while Adebayo did mention that he’d need “another game” to get back to 100 percent in terms of rhythm, he and Butler were on the same page more often than not.
On a more serious note, though, whenever the 23-year-old Adebayo has spoken to the media this month, he’s made one thing abundantly clear: Black lives matter.
And with players across the league voicing their displeasure with how the shooting of Breonna Taylor has been handled, Adebayo has joined them in the fight for justice and equality.
“We want to put it on notice that black people want respect, want to be treated equal, and that’s how it should be. That’s how life should be. Everybody should be treated equal,” Adebayo said. “I feel like the reason why a lot of NBA players are [putting a message on the back of their jerseys] is because we want Daniel Cameron to respond to us, and we want him to make that decision. At the end of the day, everybody needs accountability. And we feel like those cops should be accountable for what they’ve done. We want justice for Breonna Taylor.”
Until next time.