Q: I’m a fan of seeing someone other than us play Brooklyn in the first round. – Mike Austin, Texas.
A: As many know, I can be stubborn to an Erik Spoelstra degree when it comes to certain things. The first is always to have a veteran point guard in reserve. The second is that just because Bam Adebayo can change anything does not mean that the Heat defense has to change everything. And the third is that that first rule of Playoff Club is that you do not want to face the tandem of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in the first round. Whether you can maneuver out of it, taking into account the nuances of the recording round, depends on whether you are willing to give up potential home ground in the second round to be the no. 3 or no. 4-seeded to play in the first round.
Q: Now that the Celtics are sitting on top of the East, I’m really worried. Thoughts? – Philip, San Francisco.
A: And with good reason, or at least until this latest injury with Robert Williams, who was their defensive anchor over the second half of the season. That will make Wednesday night’s Heat game in Boston a litmus test for both the Heat and the Celtics. Both teams are empty on Tuesday, so that would be the best of what’s left for both teams. Boston has already clinched this season’s tiebreaker, but the game could set the tone for a potential second-round series, provided both can survive the first round in the ever-evolving East.
Q: Ira, look ahead with the watch low for the regular season: Does it look like another Victor Oladipo short-term contract with the Heat is likely? – Gabriel, Miami.
A: Not if Victor Oladipo has his sense after playing for the minimum this season. But as it was last summer, that will be what determines the market. At the moment, there is not much for Victor’s representation to sell, with the Heat not exactly rushing him back into a lead role. But all it takes is a breakaway post-season moment or two to change the perception, if the opportunity presents itself. As for the Heat, if Tyler Herro stays on a big extension, the wing funds’ figure will be limited, when also considering the payouts to Jimmy Butler and Kyle Lowry.