NBA scouts debate Miami Heat’s best choice at energy ahead


Unless the Heat provides an influence ahead earlier than the season opens in mid October, Miami nearly assuredly might want to begin a small ahead at energy ahead: Jimmy Butler or Caleb Martin.

And that call can be a conundrum, in keeping with two scouts.

Both stated transferring Butler to energy ahead — enjoying a lineup of 4 wings and utilizing Martin off the bench — would most likely be the higher possibility than beginning Martin, noting that Martin’s vitality, defensive switchability and total talent set are property off the bench.

But that comes with a draw back, the scouts cautioned.

“The load you’re putting on Jimmy at the four [power forward] would be hefty,” stated one scout, who performed within the NBA. “He can definitely do it. But that’s a heavy load to ask him to consistently guard bigger, heftier players.

“Jimmy is essentially a two guard, even though he can guard multiple positions. That would be a huge toll on him physically. He can definitely do it. But I’m not sure that’s what you want ideally.

“I know the Heat already plays a lot of zone, but Spo [Erik Spoelstra] is probably calling college coaches who play a lot of zone, preparing for it if they’re going to be that small.”

What about Martin?

“As a supporting cast player, he plays exactly the way they want him to play,” that scout stated. “He provides shooting. He’s a guy who can play in transition. He can score off the dribble. He plugs a lot of holes. I like him coming off the bench.”

Asked about the best choice at energy ahead with the Heat’s present roster building, the second scout stated:

“I would rather have Butler at the four, and bring Caleb off the bench. I like Caleb. Excellent DNA. His shooting came around last year. He’s a hustler, a Heat guy. He can defend, has some defensive versatility, and now that he’s making threes; that’s part of the reason he got paid. Somewhat limited, but he gets the most out of his ability and he really competes.

“I would be a little concerned about [power forward]. Caleb Martin could be a starting four but does that lead to a championship? Is this a guy you’re going to play into May with as your starting four? Is he getting overmatched when it really counts?”

Martin performed 22 % of his minutes at energy ahead final season.

The Heat additionally may play smaller lineups with Max Strus at energy ahead at instances. Haywood Highsmith is an influence ahead possibility off the bench if he cracks the rotation.

And Spoelstra is anticipated to not less than take into account smaller doses of larger lineups, with Adebayo paired with Dwayne Dedmon and Omer Yurtseven.

But Spoelstra historically has been reluctant to make use of two bigs collectively for important minutes except certainly one of them – reminiscent of Kelly Olynyk or Meyers Leonard – is a longtime, revered three-point shooter.

Yurtseven stated final season that he hopes Spoelstra shall be open to enjoying him some with Adebayo.

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


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