Q: Ira, I was on my feet with every shot Duncan Robinson took in the first game. It was old times. I was wishing he turned the corner. But he’s still stuck. — Carl.
A: It’s as if Duncan Robinson’s greatest consistency this season has been his inconsistency. As he showed in Game 1, with his 8 of 9, there still are moments of 3-point brilliance, when his shooting his dramatically impacts the outcome. And then there is a scoreless Game 2, and only one basket in Game 3. The Duncan Coaster has been a wild ride this season, far more uneven than the play of Max Strus, who has supplanted him in the starting lineup. At some point, with additional defense potentially needed against the Hawks, it might not be surprising to next see some of his minutes go to Caleb Martin. At the moment, among the greatest uncertainties is what the Heat will be getting (or not getting) from Duncan. It’s a tough way to create stability.
Q: The Heat have a deep bench for a reason. That bench helped achieve the top seed in the East. Player decisions will be made in some part, maybe for the most part, on playoff results. Now that Kyle Lowry is injured, it is absolutely time to see what Victor Oladipo can do in the playoffs. Whether he starts or comes off the bench to spell Gabe Vincent, this is why the Heat invested in Oladipo. C’mon Erik Spoelstra, now is the time to see if a healthy Oladipo fits in to the future of this team. — Michael, North Miami Beach.
A: Actually, the investment was a minimum salary, so it’s not as if there is much riding on the investment. The style of play changes when Victor Oladipo enters. It just does. So for as much that can be said about exploring depth, there also is the matter of changing the playing style this deep into the process.
Q: Someone’s got to stop moving Gabe Vincent’s furniture around after every game, so he stops snubbing his toe. — Scott.
A: Actually, the Heat have been erring on the side of caution with their injury report almost the entire season, even when there is little chance of players missing time. For example, all five of the players listed on the Heat’s injury report ahead of Friday’s game against the Hawks participated in Thursday’s practice. So it’s not as if teammates are accidentally stepping on Gabe Vincent feet in order to get his playing time. Just the aches and pains of making it through the first six months of this process.