Barry Jackson

Wade cleared to play. And here’s why this young Heat prospect has the team excited

Wade on being named an NBA All-Star: “I’m going to enjoy everything”

Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade talks to the media after their 118-102 lost to the Oklahoma City Thunder at AmericanAirlines Arena on Friday, February 1, 2019 in Miami.
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Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade talks to the media after their 118-102 lost to the Oklahoma City Thunder at AmericanAirlines Arena on Friday, February 1, 2019 in Miami.

After missing the morning shootaround with an illness, Heat guard Dwyane Wade feels better and will play in Wednesday night’s game in Dallas, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said Wednesday evening.

Meanwhile, in commenting about Wade and Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki — who both plan to retire at season’s end — Heat coach Erik Spoelstra revealed Wednesday that “every once in awhile, I nudge Dwyane and say, ‘You can always go back on that decision [to retire]. Nobody will penalize you.’”

Other players have expressed similar sentiments to Wade, but Wade has said he won’t change his mind.

The Heat and Mavericks also play March 28 in Miami. Spoelstra on Wednesday recalled the great battles between the teams, including the 2006 NBA Finals (won by the Heat) and the 2011 Finals (won by Dallas in LeBron James’ first season in Miami).

Spoelstra called Wade and Nowitzki “first-ballot Hall of Famers. We saw Nowitzki at his finest on the biggest stage to be able to produce and put a team on his back [ in the 2011 Finals]. Forever respect. We did the Africa Game together. I went up to him when I first saw him and told him that.

“Why there’s such a global following for Dwyane and Dirk is because they transcend normal professional athletics. They’ve been able to compete at the highest level but do it with a dignity and grace and class that’s different than most. It’s hard not to root for those guys…. They also both deserve to go out on their own terms. They’ve accomplished everything you can accomplish in this game.”

Of his relationship with Wade, Nowitzki told ESPN’s Tim McMahon: “Mutual respect. After ’06, we had some frosty times, but I think that’s way behind us. I always say he pushed me to become the player in ‘11 to ultimately win. There were some things said after the ’06 Finals and both sides didn’t ultimately love it. There were some times we didn’t speak much. But I always watched from afar. He’s one of the best two guards to ever play the game. It’s an honor to obviously represent in the All-Star Game with him. He pushed me and made me the player I became later.”

Wade and Nowitzki will both play in the All-Star Game on Sunday in Charlotte, having been named to the game by NBA commissioner Adam Silver.

ROBINSON PROGRESSING

The Heat knows forward Duncan Robinson has a clearly defined NBA skills: He can shoot from the perimeter. And he can do it at a high level.

For Robinson, the focus this season — mostly with the Heat’s G League affiliate in South Dakota and now during a stint with the Heat — has been about developing other parts of his game, including moving without the ball, defending at a higher level and driving past defenders who play him tightly at the three-point line.

The Heat and Robinson said this week that progress has been made.

“I have watched his highlights quite a bit,” coach Erik Spoelstra said of Robinson, whose two-way contract limits his NBA service time to a maximum of 45 days before the G League season ends.

“He’s really developed now as a movement catch and shoot guy, not just a spot up [shooter]. He came into our program as a spot up three point shooter but he’s really now become dynamic on catch and shoots, running full speed, creating havoc, making people overreact. That’s a credit to his dedication. He puts in a lot of time. We felt like he’s a Miami Heat-type guy. And he’s also developed other parts of his game as well.

“Defense is something we spend quite a bit of time on. The economy and efficiency of using a dribble when people overreact to the three; he’s gotten better at that as well.”

The 6-8 Robinson, who has been with the Heat since Friday’s game in Sacramento, has studied tape of Klay Thompson, J.J. Redick and Joe Ingles — three highly-skilled perimeter shooters – and how they shake free from defenders.

“Watching a guy like Klay Thompson [Sunday in the Golden State game], how he gets his shot off, how he moves on the floor, how he impacts the game on both ends,” Robinson said. “That’s a huge goal of mine to be impactful player.

“If I am run off the line, [driving] is something I’ve been really focusing on. I try to be a good passer. If I can’t get in paint and finish, just get in the paint for sprays and get other guys looks.”

Robinson has been very good in the G League, averaging 20.7 points, 4.2 rebounds and 2.8 assists in 30 games while shooting 51.6 percent from the field and 48.3 percent on threes. His 4.6 three-pointers per game leads that league, and his three-point shooting percentage ranks third.

Entering Wednesday’s game in Dallas, he had played 36 minutes for the Heat over six games, shooting 3 for 8 overall and 2 for 7 on three-pointers.

“I feel I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to be a professional at this level,” said Robinson, who averaged 9.3 points in three seasons at Michigan before going undrafted. “There is pretty good continuity between [the Heat and Sioux Falls]. The whole coaching staff has been great with player development stuff.”

Robinson and power forward Yante Maten were both named Western Conference G League All stars on Monday. Maten has been sidelined since early January with a sprained ankle.

THIS AND THAT

Spoelstra said Goran Dragic is “making a lot of progress” in his return from December knee surgery but declined to offer a timetable. He’s expected back shortly after the All-Star Game.

Spoelstra said Ryan Anderson is in good enough condition to play meaningful minutes if needed and said “We will get him in Miami Heat shape soon enough.”

Barry Jackson has written for the Miami Herald since 1986 and has written the Florida Sports Buzz column since 2002.


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