In the middle of training camp, things can start to get stale.
But the Miami Heat fought against the feeling of monotony Thursday on Day 3 of camp at FAU with a change to the usual format of its 5-on-5 scrimmages.
“Today we spiced it up a little bit,” coach Erik Spoelstra said. “Sioux Falls guys played on their own team today. That added a little bit more competition. They wanted it, so they got it.”
The six players on the Heat’s roster eligible to play on the organization’s G League developmental affiliate, the Sioux Falls (South Dakota) Skyforce, are Duncan Robinson, Yante Maten, Marcus Lee, Malik Newman, Jarnell Stokes and Briante Weber.
Robinson and Maten are signed to two-way contracts that allow for players to spend up to 45 days with their NBA teams during the season and the rest of the time with that team’s developmental affiliate.
“I think this is the part of training camp where you can make the most gains,” Spoelstra said. “This was our most competitive, but most coherent intentional practice, and that’s what you want to see. You want to see it when the guys start to have excuses or bodies aren’t feeling like they want it to feel and they’re able to respond in the right way.”
Lee, an undrafted forward from Cal, missed part of Thursday’s practice with a calf injury.
With photos of Dion Waiters going around social media, Spoelstra was asked if the guard is in the type of shape the Heat would expect as he works to return from January ankle surgery.
“Taking everything into consideration, yes,” Spoelstra said Thursday. “He’s working. Either you’re going to be on the court with us … if you’re healing from something, we’re going to find something you’re able to do to work your cardio and be smart about it. That’s the biggest thing.”
Spoelstra said Waiters is meeting the expected conditioning thresholds. Waiters continues to miss practice, but he is with the team at FAU for training camp.
After missing Wednesday’s practice with a sore ankle, Goran Dragic returned Thursday.
“He was able to go through the majority of the practice,” Spoelstra said. “I finally had to pull him at the end. He didn’t have anything to prove in this one. He was going to go the whole distance, but I kept him out of the very last scrimmage.”