MIAMI — It’s time for another Heat mailbag.
@Aj3th: Will the lack of a consistent rotation turn into a problem for the Heat down the stretch and in the playoffs?
Anthony Chiang: This is the Heat’s roster, a group full of versatile and interchangeable players who can be used at multiple positions. Injuries are to blame for this, too. Just when the Heat looked like they were finally healthy — minus Dion Waiters — Dwyane Wade and Hassan Whiteside went down with injuries on Saturday. When Miami is healthy, it has 12 players who can make a case to be in the rotation — Justise Winslow, Goran Dragic, Josh Richardson, Tyler Johnson, Whiteside, Wayne Ellington, Bam Adebayo, James Johnson, Luke Babbitt, Wade, Rodney McGruder and Kelly Olynyk. Coach Erik Spoelstra usually plays 10, which leaves two of these players out. But he’s made it clear the bottom of the Heat’s rotation will change depending on matchups in each game. In other words, don’t expect the Heat to have a concrete 10-man look any time soon. Dragic, Richardson, T. Johnson, Whiteside, Ellington, J. Johnson, Winslow, Olynyk and Wade seem to have the “set in stone” nine spots in Miami’s rotation, with Adebayo, Babbitt and McGruder fighting over the final interchangeable slot. The bigger question is, will the Heat ever be healthy long enough for Spoelstra to set a consistent rotation?
@_NBAEverything: Realistic goals if we make the playoffs?
Anthony Chiang: It depends on the first-round opponent. If the Heat find themselves in a first-round series against Philadelphia, Indiana, Washington or Milwaukee, they will have a realistic opportunity to advance to the second round. Facing Toronto, Boston or Cleveland is a totally different story that will create a much more challenging first-round series for Miami. Bottom line: A realistic goal for the Heat this season is to win one round in the playoffs.