MIAMI — It’s time for another Heat mailbag.
@Aj3th: Who will fall out of the Heat’s rotation when Rodney McGruder and Kelly Olynyk return?
Anthony Chiang: This seems like the No. 1 question as the Heat prepare to resume their schedule this week after the All-Star break. Rodney McGruder (preseason leg surgery) and Kelly Olynyk (strained left shoulder) are on the verge of making their respective returns. That’s a good thing for the Heat. But it will also give coach Erik Spoelstra a few challenging rotation decisions. When McGruder and Olynyk return, the Heat will have 12 players who can make a case to be in the rotation — Justise Winslow, Goran Dragic, Josh Richardson, Tyler Johnson, Hassan Whiteside, Wayne Ellington, Bam Adebayo, James Johnson, Luke Babbitt, Dwyane Wade, McGruder and Olynyk. It’s just not realistic to think Spoelstra is going to use a 12-man rotation. A nine or 10-man rotation is probably what we’ll see from the Heat. So, who are the two on this list in danger of not making the cut? Babbitt is the most obvious candidate. Aside from Babbitt, Justise Winslow is another player who can be squeezed out of Miami’s rotation. Why? The Heat like to play Babbitt as a power forward who can provide spacing with his 3-point shot, but Olynyk will provide this when he returns from injury. As for Winslow, he’s just limited offensively at this point. He’s shown potential to be an effective point forward, but he still struggles to finish around the basket as a 44.1 (75-of-170) percent shooter in the paint this season and has made 28.3 percent (13-of-46) of his 3-pointers aside from a 10-game stretch that he made 12-of-17 shots from long range. McGruder, who is a true 3-and-D player, could take Winslow’s minutes when he returns from injury.
@BeltzaCane: Now that we’re past the All-Star break, what are the chances we win more than 46 games? I’ll hang up and listen.
Anthony Chiang: The Heat currently stand at 30-28 and have 24 regular-season games remaining to play. To finish with 46 wins, Miami has to post a 16-8 record the rest of the way. Considering the Heat have 15 home games remaining and just nine on the road, a 46-win finish isn’t out of the question. Still, it’s going to be tough. If the Heat are going to pull this off, they really have to take advantage of an upcoming five-game homestand that begins Saturday. The homestand includes four games against sub-.500 teams.