November 7, 2013
Q: Any chance Greg Oden gets activated for Thursday's game vs. the Clippers? I think they should, because, let's face it, if he gets hurt then he would have eventually gotten hurt, anyway. I know he's not ready to play 10 minutes, but how about getting him some action against Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan? -- Jeremy, Hollywood.
A: I'm not saying it can't happen, because Erik Spoelstra tends to spring such moments upon us at the last moment. But I thought it was telling on Tuesday when Spoelstra said Oden was left behind on the single-game trip to Toronto so he would be able to use the AlterG treadmill at the team's training site. In other words, running on his full weight apparently remains an issue. So it's not a case of whether Greg would get hurt by playing, but rather whether such action would retard his rehabilitation schedule. It speaks volumes that the Heat did not take Greg to Toronto even when they knew they could be without Chris Bosh. As Erik has consistently said, there is a big-picture approach in place, very much with a long view in mind.
Q: Do me a favor and ask Coach Spo why he doesn't start Michael Beasley over Udonis Haslem. I mean, he is taller than him, can shoot better than him, and he is younger than him. We can't let loyalty blind us. -- Utz, Miami.
A: No need to ask when the response is known. Haslem is a far superior defender, a player who plays within the confines of the Heat system. He fits. Perhaps Michael will at some point, as well. That point is it's just not right now. But Erik has proven to be flexible, so perhaps that point eventually will arrive.
Q: I think it's funny how Coach Spoelstra is working his rotation. It seems obvious to me that he is purposely making Beasley earn his run with the first team and keeping him motivated by playing heady, less-talented players in front of him, and it's genius because he'll get Beasley to hustle more and play team-first ball. By midseason, Beasley will be starting and coach will be playing a 10-man rotation that is uber-talented and unstoppable. Am I the only one who sees this? -- Tony, Fort Lauderdale.
November 6, 2013
Q: Michael Beasley is better offensively than Chris Bosh and let's not act like Bosh is a defensive threat. And Dwyane Wade plays better with Beasley. -- Cole.
A: Look, Michael had his moments Tuesday, and his consecutive 3-pointers certainly helped keep the Heat afloat. But he's not better than Chris Bosh, who has become a highly efficient defensive presence, and that is not where the debate stands. Now, if you want to debate the merits of Michael vs. Rashard Lewis, or Michael vs. Udonis Haslem, you at least could state a case. But, again, this is all about comfort, comfort for Erik Spoelstra, comfort with the rotation. Look, Michael does best what he did in Tuesday's second quarter, provide instant offense. That's not a bad option to have in case of emergency.
Q: Prepare your box for all the "Beasley should start over U.D." inundation. -- Jordan.
A: No one has an email box that big, and "Ask Ira" has yet to get its own server.
Q: Why do the Heat seem to come out flat at the start of every game and have to claw their way back? They might get away with such foolery against bad teams. But against quality teams, they won't. If your answer is that, "It's still early and the team is learning to jell," well aren't the opposing teams also learning to jell? They had eight exhibition games to learn to jell. -- Martin, Delray Beach.
A: First, I don't know if you can make judgments after a game without Chris Bosh. And they also did not have Dwyane Wade against the 76ers, when they were down 19-0. So continuity has something to do with it. But if I get your subtext, yes, it is clear that opponents are barely guarding Haslem at the outset. The one thing about Spoelstra is he adjusts when he has to. When he has to. I'm not sure the second week of the season is when he has to.
November 5, 2013
Q: Ira, from my seat in front of the TV, it would seem that Rashard Lewis is making better use/contribution of his skills than Shane Battier. Do you think Lewis will eventually overtake him in the rotation over the course of the season? -- Jose, Hialeah.