Josh McRoberts just needed time.
The Heat’s overly-scrutinized big man hadn’t played since last season’s playoff when he returned Nov. 12 and the rust showed.
Through his first nine games McRoberts was shooting 22.2 percent and averaging two points.
Forced into the starting lineup because of injuries and now playing alongside center Hassan Whiteside at power forward instead of backing up Whiteside, McRoberts looked more like the player the Heat hoped they would see before injuries derailed his Miami career.
McRoberts has scored 23 points on 10 of 19 shooting in Miami’s last two games, including a season-high 13 points and four assists in Saturday’s 99-92 loss in Portland.
“I think I’m a little more comfortable at the four,” the 6-foot-10 McRoberts said about playing power forward. “I just have more experience playing the four. But it’s going to take some I haven’t been able to do much since the playoffs last year. Hopefully keep building on the comfort level I find.”
Ironically McRoberts, whose Heat career has been defined by injuries, is one of coach Erik Spoelstra’s healthy players. He missed 40 games last season and then broke his foot in the playoffs. McRoberts than sat out the entire training camp the start of season because of reoccurring issues with his foot.
The Heat finished Thursday’s win in Utah with nine available players and got one back on Saturday.
Now McRoberts hopes to remain a part of the rotation as he regains his comfort level. And although the Heat have incorporated six new players on the roster, including Wayne Ellington and Rodney McGruder, both starters Saturday, McRoberts believes he’s fitting in nicely.
“I’ve played with a lot of those guys out there,” he said. “Wayne’s a veteran guy who knows how to play. Rod’s definitely not a rookie with the way he plays. With (Goran Dragic) and Hassan I’ve played with those guys.”