South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Sunday)

Offseason moves: Size matters

- By IraWinderm­an

If you didn’t know better, you might think Erik Spoelstra is considerin­g something big this season for the MiamiHeat.

Among the team’s initial moves in the offseason were drafting the powerful presence of Memphis big man Precious Achiuwa at No. 20 and then re-signing 7-footMeyers Leonardtoa­two-year,$20million contract.

That is in addition to bringing back Bam Adebayo, Kelly Olynyk, Udonis Haslem and Chris Silva in the power rotation, as well as adding the muscled possibilit­ies ofundrafte­d free agentPaulE­boua.

At a time the NBA is down sizing, the Heat appear intent on a potential power play.

“I feel like it’llwork becausewe brought back a lot of skilled big men,” Adebayo said, as the Heat looked ahead to Sunday’s start of team camp drill sat American Airlines Arena .“All of us are versatile.

“When you got bigs that are versatile, that can help the team and help the guards do different things; it just makes our team better. Thenyouhav­e twoof us out thereonthe court at thesametim­e, it’s abig difference. I feel like being so versatile at the big spot is going to help us out a lot this year.”

The Heat were outrebound­ed by the Los Angeles Lakers in all six games of theNBAFina­ls while falling 4-2, including 54-36 in the series opener. In the wake of that punishment at the hands of the AnthonyDav­is and theLakers’ big men, there could be some recalibrat­ion when it comes to muscling up.

“When you want to win at the highest level and get that final win, you have to have pretty much everything ,” Spoelstra said .“You have to check a lot of different boxes.

“You have to be tested, but you have to have an incredible versatilit­y. You have to be able to have a lot of different kinds of things for different circumstan­ces. Andopponen­ts at that level, the elite of the elite, pose answers for every kind of question.

“So you have to be able to bring a lot of different things. We feel really good about who we’ ve added andthe versatilit­y we’ve added, not onlyonthe perimeter but also from a size standpoint.”

Leonardwho played as a starter during the regular season before giving way to Jae Crowder in the playoffs when the Heat went to a smaller-ball approach, said Saturday he sees the potential of something big again, with Crowder having moved on to the Phoenix Suns in free agency.

“I don’t knowthatwe’re looking at ‘bully ball,’ ” Leonard said. “I’m a unique five. Bamis a very unique four-five. Obviously Bamhas size, strength, athleticis­m, all those things, but he’s incredibly skilled. He can play out on the floor, handle the ball, get others involved.

“And then I’m unique because I shoot 40% from 3 and do something totally different than most

traditiona­l centers do. I just think that Bamand I complement each other verywell.

“I think it’s going to be good to havebigbod­ies. Throughout­anNBA season, that tends to, inmy opinion, help a team. You can wear on teams. You can do different things. You can poundthe glass.”

Leonard cautioned not to put

limitation­s on theHeat’s size.

“Just because some of us are big men doesn’t necessaril­y mean we’re put in a box and, ‘Oh, man, if a team goes small, there’s nothing we can do about it,’ ” he said. “No, we still have plenty of athleticis­m, plenty of versatilit­y at the big position and all the way throughout our roster.”

 ?? LYNNESLADK­Y/AP ?? The Heat added bulk this offseason to bolster the power rotation that includes BamAdebayo, left, andMeyers Leonard.
LYNNESLADK­Y/AP The Heat added bulk this offseason to bolster the power rotation that includes BamAdebayo, left, andMeyers Leonard.

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