If the Heat opt to insert center Meyers Leonard back into their starting lineup – where he spent most of last season – alongside Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo, it would leave just two slots in the starting five available for Goran Dragic, Tyler Herro, Kendrick Nunn, Duncan Robinson, and Avery Bradley, writes Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald.
Dragic did well coming off the bench last season before joining the starters in the playoffs. However, Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra said he hasn’t talked to the veteran point guard yet about whether or not he’ll start. Spoelstra, who pointed out that the opening night lineup wouldn’t necessarily be permanent, is confident that Dragic would be willing to accept any role.
“We’ve been in this a long time together,” the Heat coach said. “It’s great to have guys who are all about winning.”
For his part, Dragic recently said that if Spoelstra asks himself to come off the bench again, it’ll be easier to adjust to this time around, since he now has a year of experience as a Heat reserve under his belt.
Here’s more from around the Southeast:
- The Magic have until December 29 to exercise Mohamed Bamba‘s $7.57MM option for the 2021/22 season. Bamba’s development has been slowed by health issues and he has yet to be cleared for full contact, but according to Roy Parry of The Orlando Sentinel, “all indications are that the team values Bamba and remains committed to him.” That bodes well for his fourth-year option.
- The new-look Hawks have been practicing together for less than a week, but John Collins (the team’s longest-tenured player) is already noticing the effect the new veterans are having on team communication, writes Sarah K. Spencer of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “The gym is a lot louder … I feel like our older guys are sort of leading,” Collins said, citing Rajon Rondo, Kris Dunn, and Solomon Hill as the players who have been most vocal.
- Steve Hummer of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution takes a closer look at the exceptional basketball IQ that Rondo brings to the Hawks and the impact the veteran point guard can have on his young teammates.