Heat coach Erik Spoelstra was pretty clear on Friday what he wants to see from Luke Babbitt now that the 6-9 forward is back with the Heat.
“I was walking out of the gym and he was working on some shot fake, ‘Hey, leave that shot fake outside this building. Let it fly,’” Spoelstra said. “See how much Wayne has changed in the period Luke was gone. Wayne went from how many ever threes a game or per 20 minutes, double that. I’d love to see that from Luke as well.”
Babbitt, who the Hawks traded back to Miami on Thursday for injured forward Okaro White, was a 41.4 percent three-point shooter in his lone season with the Heat a year ago.
Babbitt averaged 4.8 points and 2.1 rebounds starting 55 games mostly to play the first seven or eight minutes of the first and third quarters.
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His role typically was to help spread the floor for Hassan Whiteside in the middle and to open up lanes for Dion Waiters and Goran Dragic to drive to the basket.
Spoelstra said he’d give Babbitt the freedom to shoot plenty of threes.
“We’ll see what happens,” Babbitt said. “I’m going to play the way I always play, try to space the floor for these guys, give them driving lanes, play hard on defense and the shots will come.”
In addition to the hoopla surrounding Dwyane Wade’s return to Miami, Spoelstra felt having Babbitt back would have its own positive impact on the team down the stretch.
“It was very good to see Luke back here and that’s why we think these are two moves that can really help us and help the bottom line of winning. But they’re familiar comfortable moves as well. Two guys you feel great about coming back into the mix and into this family.”