A six-pack of Heat notes on a Wednesday:
▪ One intriguing potential Heat lineup next season — Goran Dragic and Dion Waiters in the backcourt, Justise Winslow and Josh Richardson at forward and Bam Adebayo at center — already appears unlikely as a starting group, for two reasons revealed in recent days.
Reason No. 1: Winslow admitted that while he’s comfortable playing either guard spot or small forward, he does not believe he’s particularly well equipped to play power forward, where he has been used extensively over the first four seasons of his career.
Reason No. 2: Erik Spoelstra reiterated how much he likes the Adebayo/Kelly Olynyk frontcourt pairing.
“I think he and Bam have really developed a nice chemistry between the two of them that sometimes doesn’t make sense, but the two of them, for whatever reason, you put them on the floor together and that unit functions at another level,” Spoelstra said. “We really figured it out on another level. That versatility will be important.”
▪ Dragic spoke of needing to change his game at 32.
“I’m not 22 or 23; I cannot dunk any more,” he said. “I need to change my game, definitely. After the injuries, you feel like you can beat nobody from the dribble. So you have to adjust a little bit. As you get older, your game is changing so you put more work to post up and shoot threes.”
Asked if there’s any older point guard he might model his game after — such as Tony Parker — he mentioned the latter years of former NBA point guard Chauncey Billups, now an ESPN analyst.
“Don’t get me wrong,” Dragic said. “If didn’t have this injury, I would still put the numbers up. I am still capable. I feel great. At some point, your body doesn’t feel so well back-to-back some games. Tony has a different game. I shoot more threes than him. He’s still going to the basket a lot. He shoots midrange. I shoot that too. I like Chauncey Billups. I have an advantage against some players that I can play low post against them.”
▪ Dragic, whose knee surgery in December knocked him out two months, said he won’t need another procedure.
“To miss 41 games is a lot,” he said. “It was a frustrating season for me. I’m a competitive guy. The most important thing for me is to have a good summer, try to get stronger in my right leg. My leg is still not there yet.”
▪ Though the Heat was encouraged by the first three games Waiters and Dragic started together this season, Miami ended up being outscored by 26 points in 247 minutes with those two on the floor together, while shooting 42.5 percent from the floor and 31.5 percent on threes.
“He got big potential to be a great player and be leader of this team,” Dragic said when asked about management’s orders for Waiters to get in better shape. “To get to the number he’s expected to, from there on, just hard work... If you are committed and do every day what you’re supposed to do, only good things will happen. Same thing for me. But I know I am going to do it. I feel if I don’t do it, I’m going to feel bad and nervous and be in a bad mood.”
▪ Despite his limited on-court role, Dragic warned against underestimating Udonis Haslem’s value.
“He means so much to this franchise, so much to these young players,” Dragic said. “Maybe the fans around the world see he’s not playing anymore, but they don’t know what kind of impact he has inside the locker-room. He’s the right hand of the coach, kind of a bridge between the coach and the players.”
Haslem is considering whether to return next season.
▪ NBC’s mock draft has Miami taking North Carolina guard Coby White at No. 13. I think that’s more likely than the player CBS’ mock draft has Miami taking: Sekou Doumbouya, a 6-9 small forward from France.
Said CBS: “Doumbouya should be the first non-college player selected. The 6-9 forward was born in Guinea but raised in France — and he didn’t turn 18 until last December, which makes him the youngest projected first-round pick available. He’s a good athlete who can run the floor and play above the rim. And though Doumbouya’s high-arcing jumper has never gone in consistently enough for anybody to call him a reliable shooter, there’s no obvious reason he can’t develop into one and become a high-level two-way player when he moves from the top professional league in France to the NBA.”
BONUS ITEM: Dwyane Wade spent more than two hours Wednesday signing autographs and posing for photos with every Heat employee.