Don’t assume Erik Spoelstra knows how all this is going to fit together.
He’s spent all summer thinking about what the Miami Heat will look like next season — and as head coach he has some say in the matter — but he told Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel he wants to let the action on the court tell him what to do.
That starts with the starting lineup.
“I don’t have those positions inked right now,” he said. “I have a pretty good idea of three of my starters. And from there, a lot of it will depend on chemistry, dynamic and how the team comes together…”
“One of the things going into camp is it’s not going to be conventional all of the time,” he said. “And when I’ve talked to the players this year, I don’t want to box the players into a quote, unquote position. We have players here that can play multiple positions, that are versatile.”
This goes back to the idea of LeBron and Wade playing some point, for example. Or Bosh at the five and LeBron at the four in a speed lineup. He’s got a 400-page playbook of ideas. Literally. Spoelstra has options, and he’s spent the summer thinking about them.
He’s got options on defense, too.
He again plans to work a zone into his defensive approach and even met this summer with Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim, a leading proponent of the alignment. “He talked about how zones work that much better when you have more talented players, with more IQ, more of a feel for the game, more ability to cover ground, that it’s even more dangerous then,” Spoelstra said.
How the Heat come together is going to be an interesting basketball experiment.
The Nets’ projected record this season came under greater scrutiny when the Celtics traded Brooklyn’s unprotected first-round pick to the Cavaliers in the Kyrie Irving trade. After finishing third-to-last and last the previous two years, were the Nets poised to take a step forward, or would they convey a very high pick to the Cavs?
Jeremy Lin, who missed 46 games last season, getting healthy was a reason for optimism in Brooklyn and pessimism in Cleveland. But it appears the veteran guard could be out a while.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
Billy Reinhardt of Nets Daily:
If the injury is as bad as feared, what a bummer for Lin. He came to Brooklyn expecting to play a leading role on a developing team, and he just can’t stay healthy.
The Nets were probably more focused on developing their younger players, but – especially without their own draft picks – there was no harm in shooting for the playoffs. This appears to a blow to that (already unlikely) dream.
It’s a boon to the Cavaliers, though. And whenever something significantly affects LeBron James‘ team, it has ramifications into the entire power dynamic of the Eastern Conference. For an injury to a player on a team most expect to be bad, the medical developments here will be tracked closely around the league.
Remember when Aaron Gordon was a promising fun player?
The Magic sidetracked him by playing him at small forward most of last season. But back at power forward, Gordon showed how he could push the pace as a four in Orlando’s season-opening win over the Heat.
There’s obviously flair in passing to yourself off the backboard, but it’s a sound way to improve position. Gordon did that to fantastic effect.
Gordon Hayward is going to have surgery on his ankle and leg, which should not be a surprise to anyone who saw the gruesome injury to his leg just 5:15 into his Celtics career. There is no timetable for his return yet, maybe he makes it back for the playoffs, but the Celtics are not going to rush him and he may well miss the entire season.
What next for Boston?
In this PBT Extra I cover the three things to watch for from Boston, which in the short term could mean the Kyrie Irving show. Longer term, not much changes.
Gordon Hayward broke his leg early in his Celtics debut – a devastating injury. He’s preparing for surgery tonight, per Jeff Goodman of ESPN:
First – after a perfect introduction from Marcus Smart – Hayward addressed the Boston crowd from his hospital bed before tonight’s game against the Bucks.
What’s up everybody? Just wanted to say thank you to everyone who has sent me your thoughts and prayers. I’m going to be alright. It’s hurting me that I can’t be there for the home opener. I want nothing more just to be with my teammates and walk out onto that floor tonight. But I’ll be supporting you guys from here and wishing you the best of luck. Kill it tonight. Thanks, guys.
At least this nice moment (and an outpouring of support) came out of such a gruesome injury.
And if Smart keeps setting up his teammates so well, maybe the Celtics’ offense will keep humming.