Shabazz Napier was back in street clothes. So were Justise Winslow and James Ennis. Willie Reed was making relocation plans. Tyler Johnson needs to let his jaw heal.
Even summer-league teams can be saddled with a short bench.
The final day of the Orlando Pro Summer League set up as one for the Heat’s second-team players to display their talents — which they did, using a balanced effort to steamroll Detroit 91-68 and finish an unbeaten week.
Josh Richardson, the Heat’s second-round pick, might have shown the most with 18 points in an expanded role that included extended time at point guard.
“Being able to lead a team at this level,” he said, “I think it was great for me to get kind of back into the flow of that.”
Zoran Dragic, the lone remaining starter from the first unit, added 16 points and Tyler Kalinoski struck for 15. Even Juwan Howard Jr., whose dad has been Craig’s top aide this summer, got his first extended minutes and scored 10.
“It’s just a great group,” said Dan Craig, the Heat’s summer coach. “We really just had a great team effort of guys staying ready and coming in and impacting the game.”
Friday already figured to be something of a makeshift day, with plans to rest Winslow, Napier and Ennis before the team flies to Las Vegas for the second half of its summer schedule. But it got more complicated with Thursday’s unexpected roster news.
First came word that Johnson came out worse than anticipated from a hard midcourt collision Wednesday night against the Clippers — not only losing a tooth but sustaining a small jaw fracture. He needs six weeks to heal.
Then Reed, the big man whose improved offensive skills had caught the attention of several observers, was plucked by Brooklyn with an offer of guaranteed money.
“Obviously, we’re very happy for Willie,” Craig said. “He had a great week for us, and we wish him nothing but the best in Brooklyn. He’s deserving of it. And then Tyler’s situation was unfortunate.
“We did have to shuffle the lineups quite a bit. But guys stayed ready. Even when they weren’t playing as much as they probably wanted to, they were ready for their opportunity.”
Put Richardson and Kalinoski at the top of that list, splitting the ballhandling duties with the Heat’s top playmakers sitting.
With Napier still working his way back from hernia surgery, Johnson had been the Heat’s primary point guard for 21/2 games. As the week went on, Craig also increasingly ran the offense through Winslow.
But with Winslow resting after Wednesday’s opening quarter and Napier’s minutes limited, Johnson’s injury left a dilemma. Both Richardson and Kalinoski looked erratic, to the point Craig brought Napier back to orchestrate the final 21/2 minutes.
Friday, though, brought a better outing from both. Kalinowski, later replaced by Richardson, teamed with the Heat’s four available non-starters to engineer a 17-2 run to start the second quarter. The Pistons never got within double digits after that.
“I think it let me grow a little bit on the court,” said Richardson, known for his defensive prowess but averaged 16.0 points and 3.6 assists as a Tennessee senior. “It’s just slowing the game down in my own mind. When rookies like me get into the league, everything’s going so fast.”
Craig lauded Richardson’s ability to take on multiple roles on both sides of the court.
“He’s probably had one of the more challenging experiences of the week because of what I’ve been asking him to do,” the coach said. “When you get to this level and see the size and speed of NBA players, it’s a little bit different. So I think it was a great experience for him to see that.”
Kalinoski only had two extended looks during the week but finished those with 12 and 15 points.
“I just kept telling myself to be ready,” the former Davidson standout said. “If I get that opportunity, just be ready to make the most out of it. I think I’ve done that.”
Despite their 5-0 record, the Heat couldn’t win the league because they were the odd team out in determining a championship match. Memphis and Orlando’s White team also went unbeaten through their first four, with the Grizzlies winning Friday’s title game.