ASK IRA: Is Nikola Jovic alongside Bam Adebayo the future of the Heat’s power rotation?

Q: Ira, clearly Nikola Jovic has to put on some weight and muscle over the next year or so, and I’m sure he will. His future and maybe his present is playing alongside Bam Adebayo, not as a center. He has the body and the basketball IQ to eventually be a point forward. – Joel.

A: And that is what makes him so intriguing and unique for the Heat. This is not a team that often drafts for the future, or drafts at all. In Nikola Jovic, you can see a bridge to the future. That is why it is essential to determine how he might fit going forward with Bam Adebayo and Tyler Herro. That might be your young core moving forward. Not quite ready to call it a Big Three, But there is a unique combined skill set with those three, particularly if Jovic can take some of the ballhandling onus off Herro in the years when Kyle Lowry has moved on.

Q: Ira, is there is a systemic problem with the NBA when, 14 games into a (non-COVID) season, a team can’t find the requisite eight able bodied players to suit up? – Ray, Deerfield Beach.

A: The Heat certainly could have dressed more in Washington and used more, but there still is the long view of not risking long-term injury in November. It actually is admirable, I think, for a team to take that approach. To me, this is not a failure of the training staff, but rather a training staff looking out for its players. And, as it was, the Heat certainly had enough, had it not been for a Wizards turnover at the end of regulation, a missed Kyle Lowry shot after that, and a ball sneaking through the hands of a rookie big man in overtime.

Q: Ira, it looks like the basketball gods are not smiling on the Heat this season. They seem to lose most close games. The team has been plagued by the injury bug. Kyle Kuzma shoots 2 of 12 from 3, but makes a 3-pointer to tie the game and force overtime. Is it time to start thinking/hoping for Victor Wenbanyama? – J.E.

A: This might be a case of you working off a different calendar than the NBA. The league continues to use a Gregorian Calendar, which shows that we still are in mid-November, with the Gregorian Calendar calendar showing that the NBA regular season ends in mid-April. Using that calendar model, we’re not quite at Wenbanyama season. If, and when, the NBA shifts to a Julian Calendar, I will get back to you.