South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Sunday)
Offseason moves: Size matters
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.”