Here’s my Saturday news story on the uncertainty surrounding the returns of Josh Richardson and Justise Winslow. In other Heat news...
We’ve seen some of the best of Dion Waiters in the past week, with games of 19, 26 and 17 points.
But Waiters insists Heat fans will see an even better version next season, as he gets in better shape and further distances himself from January 2018 ankle surgery that sidelined him for a year.
“When I come back, I’m going to be like an action figure,” he said.
Waiters said returning to game action after missing so much time has created challenges, especially in forays to the basket.
“I can dunk the ball - I can get by anybody - but it’s still not where I want it to be,” he said. “It’s not where I like it. I feel like I’m being clumsy some times, like I get by you maybe to break you down, but I need the explosiveness. I need a whole summer to get that where I want it to be. [Remember], I missed like a year and a half almost.”
But he said another offseason of work will get him where he needs to be.
“By far, I need the whole summer to reset everything, come back, my body in the best shape again, and once I do that, this by far will be the best ever for me,” he said.
“That’s my goal. My explosion is not where I want it to be. I’ve got to keep strengthening [the ankle]; it’s tough during the season with back to backs. I would rather just fight through it. A lot of people don’t know what I go through. I don’t want anybody feeling sorry for me. It’s about rhythm, timing. Everything is coming.”
Though Pat Riley has said Waiters is meeting the team’s conditioning requirements, he said he still wants to lose weight.
He’s at 223 pounds now and wants to get to 220 before the season ends. He said he ideally would like to play at 215 next season.
WADE NYC FINAL
Hours from playing in his final NBA game in New York City, Dwyane Wade said Madison Square Garden was “easily” his favorite road venue.
“I’ve always said besides playing at home, it’s my favorite place to play,” he said. “It’s a lot of great arenas in the NBA, but there’s something about MSG that’s special. Heat Nation is always strong here. It’s the lights. It’s the way the floor is lit.”
Asked by New York media if coaching appeals to him, Wade said: “I don’t think so. We’ll see, but it’s not in my immediate plans.”
Goran Dragic’s 38 minutes against Dallas on Thursday marked the first time he topped the 30 minute since returning in late February from knee surgery.
And Dragic said even though he’s not 100 percent yet, he should be able to play as much as needed.
“I looked good,” he cracked, having produced his second career triple double in that win over the Mavericks. “Some days you feel better, some days worse. But I feel like I’ve recovered. It’s no pain. There’s stiffness, heavy legs. But nothing major like pain or restricted motion. The muscle is still not there. It’s just weak sometimes.”
Dragic said he will forever remember Thursday, because of the large contingent of Slovenian fans who came to watch him and Dallas star rookie Luka Doncic and then stayed a while after the game. (Dragic came out to greet them after the game.)
The whole evening, plus the triple double, prompted a flurry a texts to Dragic from NBA people, including Magic center Nik Vucevic and Suns coach Igor Kokoskov, who coached Dragic as a Suns assistant and on the Slovenian national team.
“Just an awesome day for me and Luka,” Dragic said. “Me and him could never imagine people would come across the continent to see this game, this amount of people is something I will remember my whole life. The [NBA friends who texted Dragic] were saying you have the best fans in the world.”
Here’s that Saturday Richardson/Winslow update.