Advertisement

Winderman’s view: Time for the next Heat thing after Jovic?

ORLANDO — Observations and other notes of interest from Sunday night’s 105-87 loss to the Orlando Magic:

– In a meritocracy, what now with Nikola Jovic?

– Sunday was the 10th consecutive start.

– With diminishing returns.

– Yes, more size than Caleb Martin or Haywood Highsmith at the four.

– But also with zero attention from opposing defenses.

– For some teams, the reasoning would be as simple as allowing for growing pains.

– But this is not a lottery team.

– Or a team in the midst of a long-term plan.

– This is a win-now team.

– Amid a closing Jimmy Butler window.

– Developmental program?

– Fine, develop in the G League.

– As currently is the case with Jamal Cain and RJ Hampton.

– As has been with previous Heat prospects, and even previously with Jovic.

– And if it’s about showcasing, the returns are diminishing in that regard, as well.

– With Kyle Lowry moving to the second unit, Erik Spoelstra spoke Sunday of giving his team the best possible chance with the revised rotation.

– With Jovic, it too often now has been about playing from behind.

– The dilemma is that if Jovic doesn’t start, then there might not be minutes at all for the 2022 first-round pick.

– With Kevin Love also in the mix, that likely would be true.

– But in this moment, a veteran team needs a veteran approach.

– After considerable patience.

– So Spoelstra again went with a starting lineup of Bam Adebayo, Jovic, Jimmy Butler, Martin and Tyler Herro.

– Which had Lowry off the bench for the second consecutive game, his only two reserve appearances of the season.

– All of which was part of Spoelstra going in noting that slow starts remain a concern.

– “It’s there for us,” Spoelstra said. “It’s still within us. Again we just have to be really more intentional in getting off to a good start.”

– The Magic opened with Markelle Fultz, Jalen Suggs, Paolo Banchero, and Wendell Carter Jr.

Cole Swider traveled with the Heat to Orlando but was inactive.

– Love and Highsmith entered together in the Heat’s first substitution.

– Kyle Lowry followed.

– With Duncan Robinson making it nine deep.

– And then Josh Richardson for 10 deep.

– That had center Orlando Robinson and Thomas Bryant as the only available players out of the mix.

– Spoelstra went in with ample praise for the Magic and coach Jamahl Mosley.

– “They’re legit,” he said. “And Mose has done a really good job with this group. They’ve rallied around their identity. They’re an aggressive team. They really attack in all aspects offensively, transition, drives, getting to the free-throw line, offensive rebounding, cuts. That’s their identity there.”

– Spoelstra added, “And defensively, at this point they’ve been top five through a full half of the season. That’s not an anomaly. At this point, this becomes who you are.”

– Lowry’s second 3-point attempt moved him past Paul Pierce for 10th on the NBA all-time list.