ASK IRA: Has relying on Jimmy Butler, Tyler Herro become risky Heat business?

Q: Tyler Herro missing about 30 games and Jimmy Butler missing 10 to 15 are the reason we are in this situation. Healthy and we are a top-four team. – Segio.

A: Except that is who the Heat are, with Tyler Herro with his extended injury absences, this past season first missing 18 with a sprained right ankle and then 20 more until the medial tendinitis in his right foot subsided. As for Jimmy Butler, the total of missed games this season actually was 22. So it’s almost as if you have to ask yourself if you can live with those absences should you move forward with those players. It’s not as if this season was an anomaly on the absence front. Injury prone or unlucky, the numbers are what they are.

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Q: As the saying goes, “Defense wins championships, But hasn’t the Heat’s long-term philosophy of choosing defensive players over offensive ones led us to where we are now? Our defense has never won us the O’Brien Trophy. Isn’t it time to rebuild this team where offense takes precedence? – Bob, Davie.

A: But the defense-first approach has led to the Eastern Conference finals in three of the past four seasons for the Heat. So it depends on the level you consider acceptable. Yes, the Top 17 teams in offensive rating all advanced to the postseason, while the postseason cutoff with defensive rating was the top nine teams. But the teams with the best championship hopes still also are at the top defensively. The reality is the Heat need a bit more scoring, but not necessarily a role reversal for the franchise’s enduring defensive success.

Q: Please win Wednesday. Rest is invaluable. – Joshua.

A: If rest was considered so valuable, then advancing directly to the playoffs would have guaranteed at least five days off. Now the options are two days off with a victory Wednesday in Philadelphia before opening Saturday in New York, or one day off after a Friday play-in victory before opening Sunday in Boston. Or, of course, a pair of play-in losses and then months of immediate rest.