Q: Victor Oladipo’s defense, playmaking and ability to break down a defense prove him more valuable than Duncan Robinson and Caleb Martin. That proved true the second he came into Game 4, when Miami went on a run. Scoring will come, but like Erik Spoelstra always preaches, it’s not what’s always in the box score. Sometimes it’s about common sense. I hope he gets regular minutes going forward. — Marc, Arlington, Texas.
A: Actually, it will come down to common sense, the common-sense element of what is available and how a game is trending. Yes, with Kyle Lowry out, the opportunity was there for Victor Oladipo on Sunday night and was seized. Had Kyle been available, the game arguably could have set up differently. As stated since the lineup change to Max Strus with the first unit, I believe the only two givens off the Heat bench are Tyler Herro and Dewayne Dedmon. Beyond that, it all becomes mix and match, with Victor certainly a component of that mix. Even with Duncan Robinson, the opportunities have been brief at times recently. So for Gabe Vincent, Duncan, Caleb and, now, Vic, it very well could prove situational, with the opposing rotation and roster factoring considerable into that equation.
Q: What has happened to Tyler Herro? — David.
A: Winning? Look, the numbers, with the exception of one game, have not been there for Tyler Herro during this series. But what has been there are victories in three of the first four games. So if a player is going to slump, better that it comes while winning. Tyler has been too consistent for too long for his game to simply disappear. And he is too valuable for the Heat to simply turn in another direction.
Q: Hope the Heat already have been scouting Philly. — Ang.
A: Of course they have. One component of the playoffs when it comes to scouting is that it much easier to be able to focus on a single series, knowing that the NBA, unlike some other sports, presets its bracket after the regular season. So it’s not a matter of re-seeding in each round. The Heat have been in attendance throughout 76ers-Raptors, as well as breaking down tape of both teams back at FTX Arena. One thing about the Heat that can never be questioned is preparedness.