Q: At what point do the Heat admit this roster is lacking and we start hearing about trade possibilities? – Will.
A: The Heat do not have to publicly admit anything. What they have to do is take realistic stock and come to conclusions. Those conclusions include deciding whether an upgrade will help in the moment, or whether based on where the remainder of the Heat roster stands, and based on where the competition stands, that there is not a move or moves that can turn things around in the short run. The remainder of this trip, with the games in Cleveland, New York and Milwaukee should offer a guidepost of where the path potentially leads for this season. Typically, for all the pre-deadline bluster, plenty happens in the moment, with the moment this year coming on Feb. 9 at the NBA trade deadline. There are times when a subtle tweak would appear sufficient. Then there are games such as Sunday. And what was most troubling about Sunday is that the Heat were whole, so it no longer is a matter of waiting for a specific player to return to turn things around. I do believe the Heat will make a move at the deadline, I’m just not certain it necessarily will be transformative.
Q: Victor Oladipo offensively has been awful the last few games. – Charles.
A: Such is the problem with earning respect during a comeback. Now that Victor Oladipo is back on opposing scouting reports, it is a different reality. Further complicating the issue with Victor is he is the only player on the second unit who typically plays in attack mode, with Gabe Vincent and Max Strus mostly shooters. So sometimes that leads to Victor trying to do too much. The result can be games such as Sunday, when he closed 4 of 12 from the field, including 1 of 5 on 3-pointers. And his defense, to be candid, wasn’t very good, either.
Q: Everyone will say the Heat’s defense came up short against Charlotte. But it is the uninspiring offensive play that takes the players out of the game mentally. Sometimes the offense has to be easier. – Stuart.
A: Which typically means more 3-pointers. But when I tried to ask Erik Spoelstra about that Sunday, he turned the question into a response about his team’s defense. Sometimes you need an easy button. The 3-pointer had been the Heat’s easy button. Now not only are the shots not falling, but sometimes they’re not even going up. And that makes everything more difficult, offense and defense.