Tyler Herro

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Dion Waiters on suspension: ‘It’s a minor setback. It happens. It’s life.’

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Dion Waiters has yet to set foot on the court for the Miami Heat this season and is currently sitting out a 10-game suspension by the team for “conduct detrimental to the team.” He is not suspended for the gummy bears incident, but rather a series of team infractions (remember he was suspended for opening night, too, after a run-in with coach Erik Spoelstra). However, the fact this suspension came after that well-publicized disruption to the Heat is not a coincidence.

With his time off, Waiters went back to Syracuse, where he played in college, to talk to his old coach Jim Boeheim, someone Waiters sees as a father figure.

While there, Waiters talked about his suspension publicly for the first time,  speaking with Donna Ditota of Syracuse.com.

“I just wanted to come up and talk to Coach,” Waiters said. “I know that’s a person who will always be there for me if I ever need anything. It’s a chance for me to come up, be around, talk to the coaches, things like that. And that’s important….

“I’m not going to lie to you, I’m in a great place,” he said. “I can only control what I can control at the end of the day, so some things you just can’t allow to take your head the other way, some things happen for a reason. If you stay locked in, if you believe and trust in yourself, trust in the work you put in, you know, it’s a minor setback. It happens. It’s life. You learn from it. The only thing I can do is move forward. Stay focused. Stay even-keeled. Let everything else take care of itself.”

Some will want to read that as Waiters being dismissive, but in reality this is the attitude Miami wants Waiters to have — that he can move on, get past whatever issues are going on between him and the team, and come back to bolster the Miami rotation.

That said, thanks to the impressive play from rookies Kendrick Nunna Heat-style player right out of central casting — and Tyler Herro, Miami hasn’t been hurting for quality guard play. Waiters, when he returns, is going to have to earn his spot in the rotation.

Miami Heat’s Dion Waiters has panic attack after eating THC-infused edible

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UPDATE: Dion Waiters ingested an THC-infused edible, which led to a panic attack on Miami Heat flight to Los Angeles, according to Adrian Wojnarowski and Brian Windhorst of ESPN.

Miami Heat guard Dion Waiters experienced a panic attack on the team’s charter flight Thursday night after consuming a THC-infused edible, sources told ESPN.

Waiters received medical treatment after the plane landed in Los Angeles following the Heat’s victory over the Phoenix Suns.

As in our original story, the Miami Heat have yet to comment.

THC/marijuana is a banned substance by the NBA — even if it is legal in Colorado (where the Heat had recently been on their road trip) and California (where the plane landed). The league will look into this matter, but there is a set-out series of steps for a marijuana violation (first offense he enters into the league’s marijuana program but there is no punishment, second offense is a $25,000 fine not make public, the third offense is a five-game suspension, and the suspensions increase by five games for each subsequent offense).

Here is the original story:

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Here is what we know for sure: Dion Waiters did not suit up for the Miami Heat Friday night due to “illness.”

When Heat coach Eric Spoelstra was asked pregame about Waiter’s health he went with a very standard coach tactic of saying he would only talk about the players suiting up.

Waiters did fly back with the team to Miami on Saturday morning.

Beyond that, there are just questions, ones the Heat have yet to address.

A report surfaced during Friday night’s game, from a Miami radio personality, that Waiters had overdosed on “gummies” — we can assume these are THC-laced edibles — and had a seizure when he woke up.

He is the only person with that specific report. Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel confirmed that Waiters did have a medical emergency on the plane and first responders met the Heat charter when it landed in Los Angeles, but he did not have other details.

When Spoelstra was asked after the game about the “gummies” report he walked away and said no comment.

Heat officials told NBC Sports after the game they would not comment on Waiters, his health or status with the team.

The Heat were on a three-game road trip that included a stop in Denver (marijuana use is legal in Colorado), and then they flew to Phoenix. Waiters did not play against the Suns, with the team saying he had a stomach ache.

Waiters has yet to suit up for the Heat this season and was for the opening night game for “conduct detrimental to the team.” With the emergence of rookies Kendrick Nunn and Tyler Herro the Heat have not really needed Waiters on the court, and if he misses four more games he will not get a $1.2 million performance bonus that is part of his contract.

The buzz around the league is the Heat are trying to trade Waiters, but the two-years, $24.8 million still on his contract may make that difficult. There is not going to be a lot of demand for his services right now.

Three Things to Know: Trae Young’s ‘painful’ ankle sprain will hurt Hawks

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Every day in the NBA there is a lot to unpack, so every weekday morning throughout the season we will give you the three things you need to know from the last 24 hours in the NBA.

1) It’s going to be a painful for the Hawks without Trae Young. After the game, Trae Young described his sprained ankle as “painful.”

We all knew that when it happened — it made you a little queasy to watch it.

Young’s ankle is going to be painful for the Hawks until he gets back.

The Hawks have been 22.5 points per 100 possessions better this season when Young is on the court. Or, put in raw numbers, Atlanta is +28 when Young has been on the court this season and -24 when he has sat.

If you need more proof of just how critical Young is to Atlanta, just watch what happened against Miami, where it was basically an even game when Young was in, but not too long after he went down the Heat went on an 11-0 run and never looked back, winning 112-97.

Miami got Jimmy Butler back and he had 21 points on 5-of-11 shooting, attacking the rim and getting to the line 15 times. It opened up the Heat offense. Butler thanked Heat fans — and Bam Adebayo is already joking around with Butler on Twitter.

Miami also had a big night from its rookies, Tyler Herro had 29 points and Kendrick Nunn added 17 as the starter in the backcourt with Butler. More on them later.

For Atlanta, they await the MRI of young’s ankle that will come on Wednesday.

The Hawks are without backup point guard Evan Turner (left Achilles pain), which means it’s a combination of just-claimed-off-waiver Tyrone Wallace, second-year man Kevin Huerter, and rookies Cam Reddish and De’Andre Hunter, to handle the guard spots for the Hawks.

We all hope Young is back soon, the game is just more fun when he plays.

2) Anthony Davis put up 40 points and 20 rebounds — in three quarters. Other players have put up 40/20 lines before — Shaq was the last Laker to do it, back in 2003 — but Davis set a record when he did it against Memphis Tuesday:

He’s the first player to score 40 points and grab 20 rebounds in three quarters.

Davis was attacking and aggressive, which drew a lot of fouls — he was 26-of-27 from the free-throw line on the night. Consider this: Davis had 20 third-quarter points and was 1-of-1 from the field. It was all at the stripe.

Memphis hung around in this one for a half, behind impressive rookie Ja Morant who had 16 points on the night. Memphis even led in the third quarter until Davis fueled a 29-2 Lakers run that essentially ended the game.

The Lakers did what good teams should do the last couple of games and feast on weaker opponents (Charlotte and Memphis will be near the bottom of the league this season). Now they head out on the road for three and that will be a better test.

3) Kendrick Nunn and Tyler Herro are not your average rookies in Miami. Pat Riley and the Miami Heat don’t lean on rookies. This is an organization that trusts veterans, stockpiling them through free agency or via trades, and when the Heat do land in the lottery or get a rookie they like they bring the guy along slowly.

Until this season.

The combination of undrafted Kendrick Nunn and first-round sharpshooter Tyler Herro not only started the first three games but also have been crucial to what Miami is able to do — they are combining for 37.3 points per night through four games. Nunn and Herro are key reasons the Heat are 3-1 to start the season.

Both started the first three games of the season — the first time the Heat started two rookies in a game since Michael Beasley and Mario Chalmers in 2008 — until Jimmy Butler returned on Tuesday. Herro went to the bench, yet still led the team with 29 points.

Herro was a player fans knew, a star at Kentucky who was drafted No. 13 overall last June. He impressed at Summer League and going into training camp it was easy to envision a role for him next to Butler and Goran Dragic as a floor spacer.

Nunn was the surprise. He went undrafted in 2018 and paid his dues for a season in the G-League before the Heat signed him on the final day of the regular season. Nunn impressed at Summer League, in workouts around the team, and at age 24 is now starting in front of Goran Dragic for the Heat.

Both rookies are playing with confidence. And when you combine Herro and Nunn with 22-year-old Bam Adebayo and 23-year-old Justise Winslow, suddenly the future in Miami looks bright. That’s a lot of quality young players.

Ones that could well lift the Heat back to the playoffs this season (thanks to a little help from that Butler guy, too).

Heat reinstate Dion Waiters, but he will miss 4th straight game

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MIAMI — Dion Waiters is back with the Miami Heat, though it remains unclear when he will make his on-court season debut.

Waiters is on the inactive list for Tuesday’s home game against the Atlanta Hawks, Miami’s fourth contest of the season – and the fourth that the shooting guard has missed.

“He will work out, he will not be active and then we’ll take it from there,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said Tuesday.

Waiters was suspended Oct. 19 for conduct detrimental to the team, one day after he expressed displeasure with playing time during Miami’s preseason finale. Heat President Pat Riley said that was “unprofessional,” and noted it was one of multiple incidents that led to the suspension.

His suspension officially ended Thursday. The Heat announced because he had been away from the team for nearly a week at that point that he would not travel for the team’s two-game weekend trip to Milwaukee and Minnesota.

It was not the start to the season Waiters envisioned. He spent the offseason rehabbing and shedding weight and body fat – two top priorities of the Heat culture. He arrived at camp wanting to be one of Miami’s starting wings opposite Jimmy Butler, but the emergence of rookies Kendrick Nunn and Tyler Herro appeared to leave Waiters in a fight for a rotation spot.

“Enough’s been said about it,” Spoelstra said. “We’ll take it day by day.”

Since the suspension was for one game, Waiters has lost $83,448 of his $12.1 million salary. But he stands to miss out on much more at this rate, since his contract carries a bonus of just over $1 million for appearing in 70 games this season. After not playing Tuesday, the most Waiters could play in this year is 78.

Given his recent history, that seems unlikely. Waiters is in his fourth season with the Heat and has never made more than 46 appearances in a year since coming to Miami. Tuesday’s game will be the 250th Heat contest since he joined the club, and the 130th he has missed – largely because of ankle injuries and surgery on his ankle and foot.

Waiters is a career 13.2-point scorer, and has averaged 14 points per game while with the Heat. The 27-year-old is in the third year of a four-year contract with about $47 million in guaranteed money.

 

Three Things to Know: Draymond Green is right, the Warriors do f****** suck right now

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Every day in the NBA there is a lot to unpack, so every weekday morning throughout the season we will give you the three things you need to know from the last 24 hours in the NBA.

1) Draymond Green is right, the Warriors do f****** suck right now. There is no other way to put this, no sugar-coating for this reality: Golden State Warriors have looked flat-out terrible through two games.

How bad are the Warriors?

Give up 70 points and be down by 33 at halftime bad. Had the lead zero seconds so far this season bad. Get outscored by 51 points in your first two games bad. Give up at least 35 points in seven straight quarters bad. Have the worst defense in the NBA bad. Have the worst net rating in the NBA bad. Shoot 5-of-33 from three bad.

Draymond Green put it bluntly after a 120-92 loss to Oklahoma City on Sunday night:

“The reality is, we f****** suck right now. Hopefully, we’ll get better. We’ll continue to work at trying to get better, but we’re just not that good right now.”

Golden State’s issues start on defense. While Stephen Curry bombing from three and the beautiful game Golden State played on offense has drawn the spotlight, the Warriors dynasty has been built on a stifling, switching defense. That is the end of the floor where they have been the worst this season, with a net rating of 124.3 for two games (for comparison, the Cavaliers had the worst defense in the NBA last season at a net rating of 116.8). Oklahoma City essentially got whatever shot they wanted all game long.

On offense, the Warriors just can’t hit shots. They are shooting 26.7 percent from three this season, have the worst eFG percentage in the league, the third-worst true shooting percentage (48.9 percent, when the league average is a little above 55 percent), and they have a bottom 10 offensive rating.

Green is right in his postgame interview, those shooting and offensive woes start because the Warriors are not getting easy points in transition, a staple of the offense during their dynasty. Through two games, just 11.5 percent off their offense has been generated in transition, a number that was at 20.3 percent the last time they won a title. (Stat via Cleaning The Glass.)

Before the season, the Warriors were given “institutional credit” — we knew that Kevin Durant was gone, as were key role players such as Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston, and we knew Klay Thompson was injured, and we knew the roster had major changeover and the talent level was down. But these were the Warriors, five straight Finals appearances, they still had Stephen Curry and Green and they added an All-Star in D’Angelo Russell. Much like the Spurs or the past couple of decades, we just assumed they would win.

No. Not even close.

It’s just two games into the marathon 82 game NBA season, it’s too early to shovel dirt on the Warriors dynasty. They have time to turn things around this season, and next season when fully healthy the Warriors could be a serious threat again.

But right now? They f****** suck.

2) Ja Morant would like to throw his name in the hat for Rookie of the Year after dropping 30 on Nets. On a podcast before the season, Dan Feldman of NBC Sports and myself debated this question: How many games will Zion Williamson have to play to still win Rookie of the Year? That question assumed two things. First, that Zion would return around Christmas and almost immediately look like the guy who was a dominant force in the preseason.

Second, that other rookies wouldn’t just step up and take charge of the award before Zion even got on the court.

Meet Ja Morant, the No. 2 pick in the draft. He dropped 30 on the Nets Sunday night and was putting up highlights.

But Morant was not all sizzle and no steak; when the game was on the line he blocked a Kyrie Irving jumper to force overtime.

In overtime, it was Morant with the assist to Jae Crowder for the Memphis win.

Morant isn’t the only rookie putting up early numbers, RJ Barrett has impressed in New York, Tyler Herro has looked good in Miami, and the list goes on. Whenever Zion gets back on the court, he is going to have a lot of catching up to do with the rest of his class. Morant in particular.

3) Tacko Fall made his NBA debut and the crowd went wild. It happened on Saturday in the Celtics blowout win over the Knicks, but we had to bring it to you: Tacko Fall made his NBA debut.

“The lead was 11, then 13, 15 … it got up to 20 and I was like, ‘it’s time,’” Fall told NBC Sports Boston.

Fall racked up impressive per-minute numbers with four points and three rebounds in 3:38 of playing time at the end of the game.

Fall — obviously a fan favorite, the Garden went wild with his every play — is on a two-way contract and will spend most of the season with the Maine Red Claws of the G-League. As he should, this Tacko needs a lot more seasoning.

But the 7’6” big man out of Senegal and Central Florida has his first NBA bucket, and nobody is taking that away from him.