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Heat’s Caleb Martin takes sharp approach in first season as starter, now with triple-double prediction – The Denver Post

The previous role was simple, you just had to energize yourself.

This turned out to be Caleb Martin’s starting point for a three-year, $20.4 million free agent deal with the Miami Heat in the offseason.

And then much more than money became real for the affable 27-year-old.

Signed up as a full-time starter for the first time in his four-season NBA career, Martin went into Friday’s game against the visiting Washington Wizards on one of the most productive streaks of his career, with a 24-point performance on Wednesday. victory of the night over the wizards.

“Caleb has grown and changed from where he was before,” coach Erik Spoelstra said. “I still think he’s going to have a game where he’s flirting with triple doubles, just the way he gets into dribbling transfers, the way he can get open shots from shooters. There’s going to be one of those nights where he’s just going to drop into all these marks, and you’re going to look up and he’s going to have eight assists with eight minutes left in the fourth quarter.

“I told him the most important thing is can he get 10 rebounds? I know he can score points and assists. He has a talent for the ball, so he will be able to have it too.

Ever since PJ Tucker’s off-season departure, the starting forward role was there for Martin’s take. But not only has he helped stabilize the Heat’s defense there, he’s also shown his ability to come back to small forward in the absence of Jimmy Butler, with Friday the fifth straight game Butler has missed with pain in the back. right knee. He was also there to score when Tyler Herro was out ahead of Wednesday’s return.

“Obviously there’s some slack that needs to be picked up with these guys carrying a load in terms of scoring and attacking,” Martin said. “So obviously we have to be able to pick up those shot attempts the way we can, without cutting Tyler and Kyle. [Lowry] and these guys.

“I just think overall I’m just starting to understand this role of four, in terms of how I’m able to get my shots. I get more short rolls, I get more slide opportunities, I get more transfers and pick-and-pops. So I’m just starting to learn this role a little better. I think it comes a little easier, so the attempts come with it.

All while continuing to energize, whether starting as power forward or moving to small forward alongside Nikola Jovic.

“He played amazing,” Lowry said. “The last two-and-a-half weeks, three weeks, he’s been finding guys, throwing, putting back, putting, making plays, making passes, then he’s shot the ball well.”

That included 4 of 9 on 3 points Wednesday night.

“He’s a great shooter,” Spoelstra said. “I see him when he works behind the scenes. He can knock down three.

“But he has an X factor of speed and quickness which really adds a different element to our offense. And now he’s really learning to be one of those secondary controllers, the dribble transfer guys, or at the end when we do the pick and roll with him.

Eventually, with Herro returning on Wednesday and with hopes of Butler returning soon, he’ll likely be back to an undersized forward for Martin, in a mix of himself, Butler, Herro, Lowry and Bam Adebayo.

“He’s so dynamic, especially on the four,” Herro said of Martin, who is 6-foot-5 and 205 pounds. “So to be able to put him there and be a trigger for us, he just makes a lot of plays for us.”

When he returns to the forefront, Martin said it will be in a comfort zone.

“I think last year I was more on the wing and created more catch-and-go, going out and attacking in transition,” he said. “I think now I just create more for the other guys and take it out of secondary action. I’m starting to find those attempts, but in a different way this year.

Including shooting when needed.

“Coach tells me to shoot the ball,” Martin said. “I’m still working my way towards that. Because my initial goal is to get these guys going and getting other guys to open fire. So I always lean on this aggressiveness.

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