A: Or defense. An argument could be made that a turn to more of a grind-out approach might be the best option. But the reality is that there are not enough defenders or rebounds to necessarily work that style. The reality is that Bosh's injury is short-term and Dwyane Wade is still producing at a high rate. And when you think about it, the solid start to the season came with McRoberts unavailable. What the Heat have to do is get back to the place they were in early November, when they beat Toronto at AmericanAirlines Arena and the Mavericks in Dallas.
Q: Let's get Beasley back. -- Ronald.
A: Ah, the new (old) reality.
December 15, 2014
Q: When are the Heat going to trade Josh McRoberts? He must not want to play here. -- Gio.
A: He does. And no one feels worse for the missed time that he does. He has been almost apologetic about each injury or ailment that has kept him out. The one thing about the Heat is that they're willing to be incredibly patient if they believe there is going to be a payoff. It is the approach they took with Mike Miller. And it is one they took with Greg Oden and Eddy Curry. They really like what McRoberts offers and believe his unique game will make them more complex for the opposition to scout in the playoffs. When you sign a player coming off toe surgery, you know the payoff won't be instant. It is why I think they would be reluctant to listen to overtures from Charlotte about a reunion, possibly with Lance Stephenson as the bait. The reality is that the Heat have been a better team with McRoberts on the floor and that 58 games still remain. For now, that means having to endure nights like Sunday.
Q: Those Shabazz Napier and Hassan Whiteside guys sound good. The Heat should give them a chance. -- Wes.
A: One D-League appearance does not a career make. With Chris Andersen back, I can understand the move with Whiteside. The Heat only go so deep in their power rotation, and for better or worse, Erik Spoelstra seems to have this fascination with Justin Hamilton. The Napier move is a bit more confounding, but I think it's part of them making it clear to him that more is needed than ballhandling and shooting. Sometimes a bit of humility makes a better pro. Still, when you are two players down, having options hundreds of miles away seems to make little sense.
Q: Sunday's team was scrappy, and fun to root for! I'm happy for the "process" win or lose. -- Daniel.
A: So you're the one.
December 14, 2014
Q: Am I living on Fantasy Island or is there still hope when all hands are on deck for a decent run into the postseason? -- Daniel, Sydney, Australia.
A: Usually by the quarter pole of the season you tend to know who you are. This season's Heat, however, I think could be an exception, because of the lack of continuity to this point. They have yet to get an extended run with their preferred starting lineup, and have yet to explore the possibilities of Josh McRoberts. What they need is an extended run of games with a set rotation to see if Plan A still has potential. That, of course, will require health, which has been in short supply. With Chris Bosh, Luol Deng, Dwyane Wade, McRoberts and your choice of the point guards, the Heat should be able to make a run at the middle of the pack in the East. But the reality is that Chicago and Cleveland are going to be very good, and Toronto and Washington don't look like they're going away. Factor in Atlanta's strong start and avoiding the Bulls and Cavaliers in the first round might be a reasonable goal for the Heat, albeit something far different than their previous reality.
Q: I have heard many storylines this year already pertaining to the Heat. But one story that has been understated is deciphering what exactly is going on with Danny Granger? Do you think the Heat bit off more than they can chew? I know we have seen him in limited minutes this season, but he has looked awful. It takes times to get your legs -- or, in his case, knees -- back, but I guess my greater concern is where he even fits on this team. We're seeing more from James Ennis than we thought we'd see (regardless of how raw he is) and if Deng and McRoberts can stay healthy, I'm not sure how many minutes Granger gets. Your thoughts? -- George, Toronto.
A: I think you've been seeing more of Granger lately (besides the injuries to others) because the staff wants to get a read on what's there. Watching Danny play off the ball, it's as if his confidence is shot. He used to play with tremendous swagger. Now, perhaps because of the injuries, he melts into the background. I think Spoelstra is doing the right thing in probing with Granger, but the results have been tepid. But it also is important that a young player like Ennis earn his minutes, rather than be gifted them simply because of the lack of alternative.
Q: What if the starting five for the Eastern Conference All-Star team was Kyrie Irving, Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Kevin Love and Chris Bosh? The way Carmelo Anthony has been playing, the frontcourt for the East could be set. The backcourt is a bit of a question mark, but totally possible. -- Tommy.
A: Hmm, sort of like a before-and-after shot with LeBron? Interesting . . . and something that could at least happen during the course of the game. I'm not sure Bosh has the requisite popularity to win the fan vote, and I think the marketing of Carmelo and Derrick Rose still means plenty for their chances. But no matter who the East coach turns out to be, a lineup of LeBron, Bosh, Love, Wade and Kyrie would be fascinating and fun to watch at some point (unless David Blatt is coaching and doesn't want to remind LeBron of what used to be).