The Miami Heat feels the need to have the proper intensity and mindset to be in the fight to contend for the conference crown. This is why coach Erik Spoelstra believes why the work done over at Disney’s Wide World of Sports during the team’s scrimmages will offer the team a “preseason” vibe in terms of intensity.
“I’ve already talked to Quin (Snyder) and Luke (Walton) about trying to work on some things, again, because you have to fast track so much before you get to that eight-game regular season,” he said on Friday night’s video conference call. “We’ll approach it that way and play probably everybody available. We’ll definitely work on some things and do a little bit of evaluating, as well.”
For individuals in the coaching fraternity to have the ability to speak to each other in regular circumstances is extremely rare. To be able to have extended conversations, even more so. It is this type of exchange of ideas that Spoelstra views as important as he prepares his team for their first scrimmage on Wednesday against the Sacramento Kings.
“I bumped into Quin in the lobby and we had a discussion about this,” Spoelstra said. It makes it much easier to have these moments keeping in mind that (Miami and Utah) currently call the Gran Destino Tower at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort home. “Otherwise, I don’t know if we would have. That’s what makes it a little bit unique. But everybody is trying to get their teams ready and trying to fast track, and those three scrimmages will be important for that.”
Based on that conversation, coaches have seen those moments as opportunities to gather ideas that could help get their teams back into rhythm as quickly as possible. In Miami’s case, Spoelstra’s conversation with Snyder was the reason why he implemented a late-night practice on Friday night. This fits into the Heat coach’s modus operandi as he has managed grueling practices in the past with a message in mind for his players. This is a different situation with a totally different context, but appears to have has some sort of success.
Although, based on the Heat player’s behavior, some of the players were practicing on their own during the week. One example was star forward Jimmy Butler who received complaints from guests because he was reportedly dribbling inside his apartment.
With such a window for preparation, having everyone on the same page will be of the essence. This is why Spoelstra intends to use as many of his players as possible when the season restarts.
This is one of the reasons why Miami’s practices have included plenty of five-on-five scrimmage work since their arrival in Orlando.
“I see some rhythm and conditioning that still needs to happen,” Spoelstra added. “But I’m encouraged by the work and the guys competing in five-on-five.”
The Heat are still missing center Bam Adebayo and guard Kendrick Nunn but they should be reporting for practice in the coming days. At that point, the coaching staff will analyze their situation and start to get them ready for the scrimmages against Utah and Memphis on July 25th and 28th respectively.
Miami restarts their season on August 1st when they face the Denver Nuggets followed by a brutal four-game stretch where they will play the three Eastern Conference teams that they currently trail in the standings- Toronto, Boston and Milwaukee.
These games could help them jockey for position with their mindset on the post-season. The Heat currently finds themselves in fourth place in the east, three-and-a-half games behind Boston for third place. Miami is also with a two-game advantage over Indiana and Philadelphia in that positioning battle amongst teams with post-season participation secured.