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Beginning of something big? Heat pre-season could be a laboratory for Erik Spoelstra’s expanded lineups – The Denver Post

It could have been a time for experimentation and perhaps the start of something big, with the Minnesota Timberwolves arriving at the FTX Arena on Tuesday night for the Miami Heat’s exhibition opener.

There is arguably no better opponent in today’s NBA to test the possibilities and feasibility of going with two big men than against what the Timberwolves will offer this season with Rudy Gobert and Karl-Anthony Towns. .

Such direct assessments will have to wait, however, with Towns recovering from a non-COVID illness that kept him out of training camp.

With the Heat in the offseason bringing veteran big man Dewayne Dedmon back to twice last season’s salary, even with Bam Adebayo and Omer Yurtseven already in place, the Heat are well positioned to deploy something along the line of double centers. , especially without real power forward on the roster.

“Playing with two big guys is something that’s definitely in our wheelhouse,” coach Erik Spoelstra told the Sun Sentinel during training camp.

Which has also been the case since Adebayo was selected No. 14 in Kentucky in 2017.

Which is also something that just didn’t happen with Adebayo.

Last season, Spoelstra used two big men for a total of 33 minutes, none at all in the playoffs.

It’s a pattern that began with Adebayo’s arrival, when he played just 52 minutes alongside Hassan Whiteside in the 2017-18 regular season, none in the Heat’s five-game playoffs. this post-season.

“I don’t know how we’re going to approach this in the regular season,” Spoelstra said, “but in training camp we have to look at all of our different variations of our rosters. That’s what training camp is for. training, that’s what pre-season is for.

The Heat’s five-game preseason schedule may well help determine if there will be a next big event for Spoelstra.

The constant in Spoelstra’s big lineups has been the presence of at least one 3-point big man.

For example, before Kelly Olynyk was dealt to the Houston Rockets at the NBA’s March 2021 trading deadline, he played 37 games and 630 minutes this season alongside Adebayo.

The previous season, Adebayo played a combined 1,365 minutes alongside Olynyk or Meyers Leonard, another big man who shoots on the outside.

And in 2018-19, Adebayo played 1,038 minutes alongside Olynyk.

Ultimately, it could come down to whether any of the Heat’s big men can create the kind of 3-point spacing provided by last season’s starting forward PJ Tucker, who left for the 76ers. of Philadelphia in free agency.

Yurtseven said he spent the offseason making at least 300 3-pointers a day, shooting them, he said, at an 80% clip.

Adebayo said he, too, converted as many 3-pointers in his practice days, “about 70 percent.”

For his part, Dedmon had a career-best .404 on 3-pointers last season in limited attempts with the Heat, after averaging more than one 3-point conversion per game during a two-point stint. seasons with the Atlanta Hawks.

“Did you see me in Atlanta?” I had two years where they had to respect all three,” Dedmon said. “I haven’t walked away from it. I didn’t have the same opportunities. Came here, just tried to figure out the offense before I started doing anything else.

“Last year I saw my opportunities. I took them when I could. That’s what I did this summer. I worked on consistency, making sure that it falls more often.

The problem with Adebayo is that if he were to become the big spacer man on the ground, it would take him further away from the rim, in light of all the changes he’s making to the perimeter on defense.

“The way the game is going, you’re going to have to start shooting over threes,” Adebayo said. “It makes him more dynamic for your offense. I feel like the big guys need to shoot three.

So Adebayo & Yurtseven? Adebayo and Dedmon? Dedmon and Yurtseven?

“Spo is a smart man,” Dedmon said. “Whatever he sees fit, he will do. I love playing with Bam, but we’ll see what happens.

Miami Heat double-center use

Regular season 2021-22

Adebayo-Yurtseven, 3 games, 18 minutes.

Adebayo-Dedmon, 5 games, 14 minutes.

Dedmon-Yurtseven, 1 game, less than a minute in total

Playoffs 2022

Adebayo-Dedmon, no time together

Adebayo-Yurtseven, no time together

Dedmon-Yurtseven, no time together

Regular season 2020-21

Adebayo-Olynyk, 37 games, 630 minutes

Adebayo-Leonard, 2 games, 16 minutes

Adebayo-Achiuwa, 6 games, 7 minutes

Adebayo-Dedmon, 1 game, less than a minute in total

Playoffs 2021

Adebayo-Dedmon, one game, eight minutes

2019-20 Regular Season

Adebayo-Leonard, 49 games, 781 minutes

Adebayo-Olynyk, 58 games, 584 minutes

Leonard-Olynyk, 3 games, four minutes.

Playoffs 2020

Adebayo-Olynyk, nine games, 39 minutes

Adebayo-Léonard, no time together

Leonard-Olynyk, no time together

Regular season 2018-19

Adebayo-Olynyk, 75 games, 1,038 minutes

Olynyk-Whiteside, 50 games, 458 minutes

Adebayo-Whiteside, 12 games, 14 minutes

2017-18 regular season

Adebayo-Olynyk, 39 games, 477 minutes

Olynyk-Whiteside, 21 games, 186 minutes

Adebayo-Whiteside, 11 games, 52 minutes

Playoffs 2018

Adebayo-Olynyk, 5 matches, 52 minutes

Olynyk-Whiteside, 4 matches, 12 minutes

Adebayo-Whiteside, no time together

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