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Has PJ Tucker topped what Jae Crowder offered Heat in 2020?  – Denver Post

Q: PJ Tucker looks and plays like someone ran over PJ Brown about 6 inches shorter and 6 inches wider. Heck, they even have the same name. As important as Jae Crowder was in our run to the 2020 NBA Finals, the same can be said for Brown, uh, I mean Tucker. – Joey, Plantation.

A: Actually, you raise an interesting debate about the best fit and best contributor between Jae Crowder and PJ Tucker. For the past three seasons, the Heat have opted for a veteran power forward replacement. In 2019-20, it was Crowder. Last season, Trevor Ariza. This season, Tucker. For now, you might have to give Crowder the edge, as he helped the Heat progress to within two 2020 Championship wins. But such a lead, or maybe even more, is still there for Tucker. Crowder was more of an offensive threat, with Tucker more of a two-way presence. The irony is that there will be a similar question with Tucker as with Crowder: can the Heat hold him? Tucker has an opt-out this summer. Or will he just be the next man in the pool of veteran forwards available?

Q: We look so dead behind the basket compared to other teams. Why don’t Heat fans have white noodles like Philadelphia fans, when the opposing team shoots free throws? – Amparo, Delray Beach.

A: Among the reasons I didn’t ask this question first, I’m not sure it would have been safe to use a title: should Heat fans wave their white noodles? I will leave it there.

Q: Ira, please tell me why is the NBA community so reluctant to give the Miami Heat any credit for their better than expected performance so far this year? It’s so frustrating as a Miami fan to constantly search for something that never comes from the press and the rest of the NBA family. It’s almost as if they never forgave the Heat for their Big Three in 2010 that angered so many people. -Brent, Wellington.

A: Nah. What the national media is looking for is storylines. And aside from Jimmy Butler’s blowout on the sidelines in March, the Heat haven’t offered much this season. Those who focus on basketball appreciate what has been accomplished and what can still be accomplished. Those who focus on the salacious, juicy bits know that it’s almost always best to look to New York and Los Angeles in those cases.


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