Q: OK Ira, how has the draft changed the East? – Geoff.
A: Unless a playoff team leads the picks, the draft rarely changes a conference playoff run. I would expect that to be the case, again. Yes, the Magic made an intriguing selection with Paolo Banchero, Detroit got considerable talent with Jaden Ivey and even John Duren, Indiana should benefit from Bennedict Mathurin. From there, not necessarily sold by the fit with Johnny Davis with the Wizards or the machinations of the Knicks. Yes, the Knicks could maximize the free agency space they have created, but it will be more of a free agency factor. As for the draft, even with the No. 1 pick, it still looks like the Magic are a year away from being a year away. For now, in some order, it’s still Boston, Miami, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, and maybe what’s left of Brooklyn.
Q: Ira, why waste our time with Kyrie Irving? He’s not a Pat Riley player. -Adam,
A: I’m not sure anyone knows who a Pat Riley player really is until they become a Pat Riley player. And even then, you can’t always be so sure. Anthony Mason was not a Pat Riley player in New York when Riley suspended him. But then Mason became a Riley player with the Heat. Again, there’s a lot to come with Kyrie Irving’s contract solution, with nothing ever easy with Kyrie.
Q: Over the past three years, the teams (Lakers, Bucks and Celtics) that have beaten the Heat in the playoffs have all pressured the Heat by playing big. Injuries aside, should the Heat play bigger or at least make sure they have a roster that can compete with length and size teams? -Stuart.
A: I’m not sure that’s not too much of a generalization, since Bam Adebayo missed time in the 2020 NBA Finals against the Lakers and since the Heat were maybe one shot away from passing the Celtics. The first-round sweep at the hands of the Bucks in 2021 was the series where he really stood out. You play with the strengths of your list. So now the Heat must decide if Omer Yurtseven is a force on their roster.