Q: Hi, Ira. Erik Spoelstra’s biggest mistake in the 2021-2022 season is his bull-headed banishment or time out, call it what you will, of Omer Yurtseven, a guy who makes rebounding and scoring look relatively easy at times. Bottom line, Yurtseven needs to play ahead of Dewayne Dedmon or at worst 14 minutes per game. — David, Miami.
A: As readers of this space know, this is one I’ve wrestled with for a while. First, there is no way to make this rotation work with three centers. The minutes simply aren’t there. And too many teams go small to make more than one center at a time functional (it did not look very good at the start in Brooklyn, when Omer opened alongside Bam Adebayo). Beyond that, Dewayne Dedmon’s veteran savvy makes a difference, a significant difference defensively. And, please, do not overstate statistics piled up when the reserves, such as Omer Yurtseven, enter at the end of blowouts. All of that said, Dewayne’s productivity has been noticeably off recently, including some of his efficiency finishing at the rim. Considering the back contraption he wears before games, it could be a function of recent back issues. I’m still not sold that a change is needed. But perhaps at least investigating the possibility of Omer minutes as an alternative might be worth exploring at times over coming weeks, before the playoff rotation is settled. It might not be as clear cut as it previously appeared. But until Omer’s defense takes another step, I’m not sure it is much of a debate point at the moment.
Q: The Heat culture is not for everyone, but I am glad Victor Oladipo fits that mold like the rest of his teammates. — Christopher, Vancouver.
A: The reality of the 2021 offseason is there simply was not much out there when it came to leaps of faith on Victor Oladipo in free agency. So the Heat offered a lifeline of support, as well as the reality of maintaining Vic’s Bird Rights for a sizeable salary boost this coming offseason. So there were plenty of reasons for him to buy in. But it still takes the perseverance to make it back, and the Heat provided everything needed to maximize that perseverance. So win-win.
Q: With the buyout market as barren as it is, should the Heat work out Tyreke Evans? If he can pass a physical, it’d be a veteran guard, grateful for an opportunity, who can score and defend. At the very least, it’d be an upgrade over Kyle Guy, no? — C.J., Dubai.
A: Kyle Guy is on a two-way contract, a spot Tyreke Evans has aged out of. Plus, such a roster spot is not playoff eligible. And with the signing of Haywood Highsmith, the Heat have filled out their standard, 15-player roster. The Heat were well aware of Tyreke’s availability and NBA reinstatement when they opted to sign Haywood.