Q: Ira, how does Josh Richardson go from looking so awful at the start of the season to these past two games? We don’t win in San Antonio without him. – Abby.
A: First, Josh Richardson was dealing with a pair of foot ailments during the preseason and then back spasms this past week. Such are the tradeoffs when you add older players. But those same older players can get you settled when things start to go sideways, as Kevin Love showed with his third quarter against the Spurs. I wouldn’t necessarily say to temper expectations with Josh. But I think a reasonable expectation with the likes of Josh, Keven, Thomas Bryant and others on the back end of the rotation is that each will have their moments this season. Just don’t expect it every night. Sunday was one of those nights when Josh paid his dividends.
Q: Thank goodness for Dru Smith. – Roland, Borrego Springs, Calif.
A: This is why you doubt the Heat at your own risk, including when they decide to extend a standard contract to a player who appeared to have no more than a two-way future in the league. Sometimes it’s not about the elite athlete or dynamic scorer, it’s about a player who fits, it’s about roster construction. Just as Erik Spoelstra says the Heat’s way might not be for everybody, Dru Smith might not be for everybody. But for this team at this moment, he fits.
Q: Ira, Do you think Portland signing Jamaree Bouyea to a two-way contract was to further rub it in to the Heat? Or was it just a case of him being the best player in the G League to fit their needs? – Rich, Plantation.
A: Even in this league, not everything is sinister. The Blazers are in need of prospects, as well as backcourt help, in the midst of injuries to their guards. The Heat had every opportunity to retain Jamaree Bouyea, be it on the two-way contract he held this summer or a camp path to a standard deal. Instead, by limiting the connection to an assignment to the Heat’s G League affiliate, the Sioux Falls Skyforce, it left him eligible to sign with any NBA team.