Heat guard Goran Dragic pleased with way young players developing, ‘We’re a really tight group’

 

 

Miami's Goran Dragic goes to the basket against the Magic's Serge Ibaka and Elfrid Payton in the first quarter of the Heat's preseason victory Tueseday. (David Santiago/El Nuevo Herald/TNS)

Miami’s Goran Dragic goes to the basket against the Magic’s Serge Ibaka and Elfrid Payton in the first quarter of the Heat’s preseason victory Tueseday. (David Santiago/El Nuevo Herald/TNS)

MIAMI – With one week remaining before the start of the regular season, Heat point guard Goran Dragic likes what he has seen from his teammates accepting their roles to the chemistry that is developing with 21 players having filtered through camp, 12 of those new to the Heat system.

The Heat are 4-2 in the preseason and coming off an impressive 107-77 win over Orlando on Tuesday without Hassan Whiteside and Justise Winslow. The Heat showed their athleticism throughout as coach Erik Spoelstra stuck to a three-guard lineup the entire way. Miami shot 51.2 percent from the floor while holding the Magic to 33.7 percent, and piled up 23 assists. The Heat are averaging 23.7 assists in the preseason, three more than they did during the 2015-16 season.

“It still can get better every day but we feel like we play together,” Dragic said. “I’m looking forward to this season. I’m really happy how the team is developing. We have a lot of new players, but you can see we’re a really tight group. We like each other and I think that’s really important for the season.”

Spoelstra is pleased with the progress and believes everybody has bought into the Heat culture.

“You try to build a structure, a culture, an infrastructure of teamwork and sacrificing, playing selflessly for a bigger cause,” he said. “But our guys have embraced it. They understand that we emphasize that quite a bit.

“It’s still preseason, so the roles have not been clearly, officially defined yet. But we’re heading in that direction.”

And the answers to several questions appear to be taking shape.

Whether it’s Dion Waiters or Tyler Johnson or eventually Josh Richardson that starts at shooting guard alongside Dragic, all three will be in the rotation. Richardson is rehabbing a knee injury and is expected to return sometime next month.

Derrick Williams, Luke Babbitt and James Johnson continue to battle for the starting power forward. If Williams starts as he has the last four preseason games, Babbitt and Johnson will at least have roles as specialists, Babbitt because of his 3-point shooting and Johnson because of his defense.

The 15-man roster appears set with the exception of one spot, which looked as though it would come down to point guards Beno Udrih and Briante Weber, but Rodney McGruder may have something to say. If Udrih or Weber survive the cut, that person would serves as Dragic’s primary backup at point guard. If it’s McGruder, look for Tyler Johnson to see a lot of time at the point.

[NBA GM survey: Miami Heat not expected to contend in Eastern Conference]

[Want more Heat news sent directly to your Facebook feed? Make sure to like our Heat Facebook page]

 

 

 

Reader Comments 0

0 comments