Erik Spoelstra to keep rotation ‘as consistent as possible’ to help young Heat players develop

 

Erik Spoelstra stuck wiht a nine man rotation for the first three came to develop continuity. )AP Photo)

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra stuck with a nine man rotation for the first three game to help develop continuity. (AP Photo)

MIAMI – Heat coach Erik Spoelstra has stuck with the same nine-man rotation, including the same substitution pattern, for the first three games of the season, something he believes is best for this team at this time.

“For this group right now,” he said. “Since we have some new faces and guys are learning a new system I’m trying to keep it as consistent as possible to build continuity. How this may look in a few weeks or months down the line I don’t know.

“But I want to give guys a chance to feel comfortable.”

The most obvious change will come when guard Josh Richardson (knee) returns, and perhaps even forward Josh McRoberts (foot). Richardson, McRoberts and guard Wayne Ellington (thigh) are not available for tonight’s home game against Sacramento.

The rotation has included starters Goran Dragic, Dion Waiters, Justise Winslow, Luke Babbitt and Hassan Whiteside with Tyler Johnson, James Johnson, Willie Reed and Rodney McGruder off the bench.

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That biggest surprise has been the absence of forward Derrick Williams, who started five preseason games and led the Heat with 197 minutes. Williams has yet to log any playing time.

Williams and Udonis Haslem are the two healthy players who have not played.

“We have more than capable guys that have not gotten an opportunity to play and it has nothing to do with them,” Spoelstra said “It’s more about just trying to get some continuity early on the season.”

Spoelstra has spoken with Williams and said those conversation were not easy.

“I would expect him as a competitor to want to be out there,” Spo said. “And he’ll get his opportunity. I know that. I just ask that he continue to commit to get better, to improve, to learn our system and be ready when the opportunity comes. It will happen. Irrelevant whether it’s the right decision or not, it’s when the opportunity comes just make sure you’re ready.”

For Dragic, the rotation doesn’t matter. What does is getting to know the players with whom he has not spent much time on the floor.

“As a point guard I need to know each player, what they do the best,” he said. “I need to know how I can play with them.

“That’s why at practice Spo sometimes he changes the lineup so we can play together with everybody.”

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