Q: Hi Ira, now that this Miami Heat team is set, which five players do you think will be most effective in the starting lineup, and who are the Heat’s first three players off the bench and why? – Carlos, West Park.
A: I am going to answer your question. . . sort of. I don’t think it matters who starts because the Heat and other teams have been using token starters for years. So instead, let’s look at rotation and closing lineups. Guaranteed minutes on the roster: Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo, Kyle Lowry and Tyler Herra. That’s four. I think based on the Heat’s approach to the offseason and how last season ended, you can also factor in safeties Max Strauss, Caleb Martin and Victor Oladipo to bring the total to seven. From there, I think another big man (either Omer Yurtseven or Dewayne Dedman) and then maybe a hot hand among Gabe Vincent, Duncan Robinson or maybe even Haywood Highsmith. As for closing time, until indicated otherwise, it could very well be Adebayo, Butler, Oladipo, Herro and Lowry.
Q: Ira, I’m not against Udonis Haslem coming back. Fifteenth person of the year. – Gary, Miami.
A: But would you say that to his face? Yes, because of the Heat’s position against the luxury tax, Udonis Haslem would be the Heat’s 14th man this season, and the Heat won’t be able to go 15-deep until the end of the season. So, as always, it comes down to weighing what you could otherwise gain from that roster spot. Understandably, the Heat have long thought that the season would actually be 16 players, in light of how they value their two-way players.
Q: I’d like to hear Eric Reid and John Crotty call our games, because when you listen to the national broadcasters, it always feels like you’re watching the opposition’s homers define the game. – Mike, Austin, Texas.
A: You see, there’s a good lining when national networks look elsewhere. Essentially, the NBA put the Heat in Kaboom! overdrive.