Returning Heat Star Unleashes Team’s ‘Secret Weapon’: NBA Coach

Tyler Herro Victor Oladipo Heat

Getty Miami Heat stars Tyler Herro and Victor Oladipo look on from the sidelines during a game against the Philadelphia 76ers.

If anything is certain in the NBA right now, it’s that the Miami Heat are a force to be reckoned with. The team continues to fly under the radar of the mainstream hoops press, of course, but anyone paying attention can tell you that Erik Spoelstra’s crew has an opportunity to do something special this postseason.

Whether that means another super-solid playoff run or Jimmy Buckets hoisting the Larry O’Brien Trophy remains to be seen. In any case, Miami’s Cinderella story hasn’t evaded’s Sean Deveney.

“They’ve had a lot of injuries throughout the year, they’ve had a number of really great stories that have emerged with Caleb Martin, Gabe Vincent has been terrific for them. Max Strus also had a very good year for them,” Deveney said during a livestream with league insider Steve Bulpett. “But they get a little more depth on Monday night when Victor Oladipo, finally, is able to come out and play.”

The latter point could be a huge factor for Miami. According to Bulpett, Oladipo — who put up 11 points and four assists in his season debut against the Rockets — was the reason the Heat’s trade deadline was so uneventful.

“They think he’s going to help,” Bulpett reported. “In the last week before the trade deadline, I remember writing that there was talk that Miami was looking at different moves. But there came a point where I found out that they said, ‘Look, we’re just going to sit tight, and we get guys coming back.’ …Oladipo was the guy who was mentioned prominently.”

He’s not the only one who has indicated that the Heat have big plans for the returning star.

NBA Assistant: Oladipo Makes Miami’s Bench Lethal

Heavy on the NBA with Steve's Sean Deveney and Steve Bulpett talk about Victor Oladipo and the Heat, Klay Thompson and the Warriors, as well as potential Donovan Mitchell trades.2022-03-08T20:57:12Z

A league assistant who spoke with Deveney seemed to confirm that the Heat are banking on Oladipo to provide a big-time boost. As they see it, Miami is completely sold on the oft-injured baller’s ability to be a difference-maker in a potential title run.

“They’re not bringing him back for his own good, or to help his career,” said the coach. “They’re bringing him back because they think — they completely think — he is going to help them and be a factor in getting them through a really difficult East.”

The assistant believes that Oladipo’s 15-minute season debut was just a jumping-off point for the two-time All-Star and former All-NBA pick.

“He is going to be in the rotation. He could be the difference between losing in the first and second round and getting to the Finals.”

In particular, the coach envisions a scenario in which Oladipo and Tyler Herro become a game-changing bench combination.

“With him, if he is playing like Victor Oladipo, their advantage becomes this crazy 1-2 punch off the bench. You have to deal with Jimmy Butler and Kyle Lowry starting, then you pull Tyler Herro and Victor Oladipo off the bench? That is their secret weapon once the playoffs start. No one is matching that. That can get them to the Finals.”

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Dipo the Insurance Policy

Although Oladipo and Herro make for a tantalizing bench combo, the former No. 2 overall pick is also a player who could be a nice fallback in the event that starting point-man Kyle Lowry continues to be in and out of the lineup. As it stands, Lowry has missed 13 of the Heat’s last 23 games due to personal reasons.

Said Bulpett: “Having another player you can rely on is important that way, you know, if an injury happens or foul trouble happens, but just being able to keep up your level of good play.”


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