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ASK IRA: Should Heat not turn their back on youthful energy even when whole?

Q: Ira, you mentioned that if Nikola Jovic remains in the rotation that Duncan Robinson might be the odd man out. But what about Haywood Highsmith or Jamal Cain? Both have played well lately. Aren’t they deserving of playing time? – Guy.

A: But you can’t play everyone. That said, there is something to be said about having an energizer off the bench, an aspect that both Haywood Highsmith and Jamal Cain provide, as opposed, say, to what Duncan Robinson, Max Strus or Dewayne Dedmon bring. For now, the Heat’s absences have provided a forum. And perhaps you are correct, that such energy needs to be considered, as well.

Q: It was interesting to see Erik Spolestra admit fans want to see Bam Adebayo score 40 points a game. So the coach does hear the noise. Fans know you need offense to win the Eastern Conference and NBA Finals. Spoelstra did go on to mention he has never coached a player, who has so much responsibility on a team – defense, setting picks, making reads and covering spots on the floor. Are the Heat better off trying to find someone who can be Bam (light) on defense and get Bam into more open-court positions, where he can showcase his offense? If Spoelstra wants this team to go all the way, does he have to pick offense over defense for Bam, assuming he has a player who can replace Bam on defense? – Stuart.

A: First, no such defensive option exists, perhaps this side of Giannis Antetokounmpo or Draymond Green (for different reasons). So, no, the idea of the Heat finding a Bam Lite probably ended when they realized Precious Achiuwa wasn’t that player. But to your greater point, I do agree that Bam might have so much on his plate that mustering the energy to also be a leading man on offense could be asking too much. Then again, by having Bam play more in drop coverage on defense could be the first concession toward conserving that energy. He certainly did it all on Friday night against the Wizards.

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Q: Ira, I realize that Dewayne Dedmon is back, but why waive Orlando Robinson, a 22-year-old 7-footer who has played well in his limited opportunities? – Bill, Palm Beach Gardens.

A: This all goes back to the Heat’s disinclination to pay into the luxury tax. Remember, a 15th spot on the standard roster remains available, but would put the Heat into the tax. With either Orlando Robinson or Dru Smith, the Heat had the option of extending a contract that would not become guaranteed until Jan. 10. But, again it is a matter of the value of such a 15th man. In the Heat’s current injury state, perhaps it should have been considered, considering Udonis Haslem is not playing.


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