The Miami HEAT opened camp Tuesday morning at FAU Arena in Boca Raton. Below are some tidbits you need to know from Day 1 of Training Camp Presented by Baptist Health South Florida.
A Different Vibe
Last year at this time, the HEAT had plenty of new faces on the team trying to mesh and figure out the system. This time around, things are a lot different thanks to 11 returning players. As such, Erik Spoelstra expects to be able to move much quicker than last September.
“It felt different than last year, for sure. Last year, it felt like we were in training camp for the first four weeks of the season,” Spoelstra said. “Today for the first hour and 15 minutes was Miami HEAT Training Camp feel. And the rest of it…was more of a practice, a continuation.”
While that kind of continuity makes things a little easier, perhaps nobody was more ready to hit the hardwood than Hassan Whiteside.
“I slept probably four hours last night, man,” Whiteside said. “I was just so excited to get back to it, the anxiety of just getting back to training camp. I felt like I was playing well, though.”
Look Out for Bam
Even though Miami has largely the same team from last season, rookie center/forward Bam Adebayo could make some noise in due time. In particular, Dion Waiters was impressed with the sheer athleticism of the former Kentucky Wildcat.
“I’ll tell you one thing. Bam, man, he jumps so high. He’s so athletic, he’s young, he’s raw,” Waiters said. “Once he really studies the game and really gets what’s going on out there and the defensive principles, he could be a monster on the defensive end. [Having] him and Whiteside back there is crazy. Once he really just figures out everything, he’ll be fine.”
Luckily enough, Adebayo has plenty of guys giving him advice about what it takes to make it in the league.
“I talk to Bam all the time, ever since we drafted him,” Whiteside said. “I’m going to teach him the ropes, U.D. and I are always in his ear and 17 [Juwan Howard] even. We’re going to stay in his ear, and he’s got a bright future.”
Winslow Brings It
Of all the players Coach Spo talked about on Tuesday, Justise Winslow seemed to stand out. Due to all the work Winslow put in during the summer, that should come as no surprise.
“He has been scrimmaging for a while even when he was at Duke, so that was important for him to be able to get those live reps,” Spoelstra said about the 21-year-old. “But you would never be able to tell by the physicality and aggressiveness that he brought to this practice that he was coming off any type of injury anywhere on his body.
People felt his presence today.”
-Despite coming off a long EuroBasket tournament in which he won the gold medal and MVP award, Goran Dragić stated that he went through the whole practice on Day 1.
“I feel like if I’m one of those guys who needs to be an example for those young guys, for the rookies, it doesn’t matter [that I played a lot before camp]. I’m tired, but the best way to prevent the jet lag is to practice.”