Heat’s Erik Spoelstra addresses Lowry conditioning, Herro drop-off, Oladipo future, keeping it together – The Mercury News

Two days after his team was eliminated from the NBA playoffs by the Boston Celtics in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals, Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra was back at FTX Arena on Tuesday attempting to sum up the season.

Some of his thoughts:

— He said the entirety of the season, “I feel like I still need some time to decompress.”

— But, he noted, “It was just a really memorable and gratifying season.”

— He said, “That will go down as a great season even though we didn’t accomplish the goal we set out for ourselves.”

— And, “We became even closer because of all the adversity.”

— Of growth from within the roster, he said, “I think what we’ve proven, it doesn’t matter what your age is.”

— He added, “I think Jimmy [Butler] is an example of that. In his 30s, he’s become a much better player.”

— Of the team’s playoff drop-off in 3-point shooting, he said, “Our team proved we could win in a lot of different ways.”

— But he said, the next step is to “make shots under duress, in shorter windows.”

— He called the shooting struggles “overplayed,” and said, “There’s a myriad of different ways.”

— Asked about Kyle Lowry’s conditioning, Spoelstra said, “You have to take into context everything: The missed games. Injuries. It’s not all apples to apples.”

— He then instead answered, “I thought Kyle was in an incredible groove about six weeks before the playoffs.”

— He did add, “I think Kyle will come back in the next training camp in the best shape of his career.”

— From there he continued, “He trains hard. He really works at it.”

— Of Tyler Herro’s playoff drop-off before his groin injury, he said, “Every great player has a journey in the playoffs.”

— He added, “There always is a process to it.”

— And, “What it proved, in my mind, they saw how important he is.”

— He noted, “He’s only going to continue to get exponentially better during seasons, and then that will translate into the playoffs.”

— He praised PJ Tucker lavishly, noting versatility not previously anticipated.

— Of Victor Oladipo, Spoelstra said he sees an even higher level in his push back from injury, “without a doubt.”

— He added, “For him to do what he did in this playoff run is really unheard of.”

— And, “His instinct, once he got healthy, immediately you saw it defensively.”

— He said a healthy summer of work is what is needed most next.

— Of keeping the roster together, he said, “Any time we’re close and have banged on the door and even ended on a disappointing loss, our history is that we usually have brought the core or the majority of the core back.”

— And, “Yeah, you want to have a chance to do it again with the same group.”


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