Heat notes on the eve of Miami’s Wednesday opener at Orlando:
• On Bovada (the on-line gambling site), the Heat’s over/under for wins is 34.5, and more people are betting the “under” on the Heat than on any other team, according to a Bovada spokesman.
Guard Goran Dragic said Monday that he believes the Heat will be better than people think, because “we’ve got a young group who have a lot of talent and work ethic. And we have a style that fits us, [Whiteside] and shooters around.”
• Two NBA scouts insisted to me this summer that the Heat should have drafted Phoenix guard Devin Booker instead of Justise Winslow in 2015.
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So it was interesting last week when Booker – who was fifth in the NBA in preseason scoring at 19.5 per game – overwhelmingly won the category of “most likely to have a breakout” season in an NBA.com poll of general managers. Winslow didn’t get a vote.
“Winslow can handle, rebound, defend; he did the little things in a very effective way,” one Eastern Conference scout said. “But he’s got to be able to score to be a starter on a good team. Even if the Winslow and Booker picks were good for both teams, Miami picked the wrong guy. Booker will be the better pro.”
The Heat is convinced Winslow’s offense has improved and believe he can be a “special player.”
Winslow went 10th in the 2015 draft, Booker 13th.
Both should end up being very good players -- and the Heat feels very fortunate to have such a mature, versatile player as Winslow -- but it will be interesting to see who has the better career.
• With Winslow the only natural small forward on the roster, that means Heat guards will need to defend some bigger threes this season, such as Carmelo Anthony or LeBron James.
“We'll have to see when we get there, when we play a guy like 'Melo, play a guy like 'Bron, the giant small forwards,” said Heat guard Josh Richardson, who won’t play in Wednesday’s opener in Orlando because of a knee injury. “You know, somebody's going to have to step up and take the challenge."
Shooting guard Wayne Ellington expects to play some small forward. “It’s a challenge you’ve got to prepare for,” he said. “I haven’t played much small forward before.”
Dion Waiters, who will be asked to guard some small forwards at 6-4, said: “At the end of the day, you're a man, you've got to man up. And you look forward to those challenges. You've got to take on the challenge. It isn't about who you guard. It's just about going out there and just trying to stop."
• Beyond buying a house in Pinecrest, what did Tyler Johnson treat himself to after signing a $50 million contract?
He built a theater inside his home that he says looks like a movie theater, albeit much, much smaller.
Please check back tonight for another Heat post. For my UM notes from today, including some feedback on the team’s offensive problems, please click here.... Twitter: @flasportsbuzz