Dwyane Wade called the Heat’s point-guard position a work in progress on Tuesday after the Heat’s shoot around. The progress continues tonight with a home preseason game against the Orlando Magic before the team boards a plane for Brazil. The Heat plays LeBron and the Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday in Rio, and one of the biggest voids the Heat must fill after losing LeBron is at point guard. Mario Chalmers is the veteran at the position, but his role as completely different last year than what it is expected to be this season. Norris Cole is the backup at the position, but pushing to be the starter.
“We’ll need them to be aggressive,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said of his point guards this season. “They’ll have more opportunities than they have in the past. I don’t want them thinking they have to shoulder all the responsibility to create opportunities for the rest of the team, but the more aggressive they are and the more confident they are, the better it is for us.”
Tons more from shootaround Spoelstra today:
## On the offense:
“We’ve made some progress. We’re trying to balance the two so we’re really trying to set the tone defensively for this training camp. But offensively we’ve been spending this time trying to build continuity and trust and working on helping each other get open shots. I thought the other with the second unite they did a very good job of moving the ball and helping each other.”
--The Heat has put in long hours in the gym in the last two days after a poor showing against the New Orleans Pelicans. Spoelstra is hoping for a result (or at least a few major signs of progress) tonight against the Magic:
“We spent the last two days really working on the whole group and we really made some progress. We’ll see tonight when we get some real defense out there.”
## How to implement an offense with a guy as important and unique as Josh McRoberts out with an injury:
“I think that’s what helps because he is so unique and so skilled and has such a high IQ, Josh can fit in to virtually any kind of offense and he’ll make it work and he’ll make it seem to flow. When you think of flow, that’s usually when you have either a super-high IQ point guard, or a super-skilled high IQ big, and that just helps the flow of your offense. I think he’ll be able to fit in. He’s doing things in practice and he’s very observant. He asks all the right questions. But a lot of what we’re doing anyway is because of the skill level of our bigs.”
##On the progress of James Ennis:
“We went into it with an open mind and the way we’re looking at James is we want to invest time in him. It has been two summers and two summer leagues and one training camp, partially, and he has made progress. We just want to continue for him to grow, and get better and understand our system and see where he can go. He’s already much better than he was last summer. When you have young players like that who are hungry and who also have a very good work ethic, you don’t know what their ceiling can be”
--So, it sounds like Ennis is still very much a work in progress. Spoelstra used a lot of D-League buzzwords and phrases there if you were paying attention.
##Where is Luol Deng fitting offensively:
“I think he fits in with all those intangible gaps. He is really a versatile player, which obviously we like those kind of guys. They can do a lot of different things. But he is very comfortable and efficient playing off the ball. And I think that fits into our system very well with his cuts and his secondary post ups and his offensive rebounding and his random, miscellaneous drives. And we think he is an underrated shooter. So all of these things we think fit with the type of game we’re doing because he makes it work.”
##On Stan Van Gundy returning to the profession:
“I’m sure the Detroit press is loving it. They’re going to have a new storyline every single day. But Stan definitely seems reinvigorated. We text now probably more than we talk because both of us our so busy. But we text enough. I probably fired off a text right before training camp asking him, ‘Are you sure this is really what you want to do? I’m sure it is quite different than what he was doing last September, just hanging out.’”
##Van Gundy was out the league for two seasons. Will he have to play catch up? What’s different in the league then and now?
“Stan is super sharp. He’ll figure out whatever adjustments…it wasn’t like he was on a total exodus from the league. He was watching the league, and saw how everything was going. That’s one of his strengths, being able to adapt.”
## Has Van Gundy mellowed out at all?
“No, not at all. I wish I had more time to talk to him. It’s just that I love the give and take and arguing and hilarity of the conversations usually. And it might not have anything remotely to do with basketball. Oftentimes it’s not.”
## On the Heat’s coaching staff and how it’s working out?
“Number one, we wanted it to be a player development staff. Number 2, there is great continuity and No.3 there is great versatility. Guys with a lot of different backgrounds and former head coaching experience. Keith [Smart] is only 50 years old and he has a wealth of NBA experience. And we have future head coaches in line and everybody is hungry and ready to work because there is going to have to be a lot of work done this year.”
## With the TV deal and player contracts getting shorter, the importance of having core Heat players like Udonis Haslem and Dwyane Wade:
“It is absolutely vital. It is absolutely critical in our microwave society now, and it is seeping into pro sports more than ever. We always talk about how there is constant change and turnover in pro sports, well now it is on steroids. Your windows to put together great teams are shorter, your windows to even have a familiar group of guys to build a culture is shorter. And if you don’t have that consistency in your organization, you’re leaving it to random chance. That’s the toughest thing to do, to build consistency and continuity, and it starts with your ownership and your management and then everything just falls into line from there. So, the one thing you can count on with the Heat is stability. That doesn’t guarantee you anything, but at least it gives you a head start.”
## What will it be like facing LeBron on Saturday?
“I haven’t gotten to that point, but it will probably be a little strange. At least we’re in a different country for it, so the whole trip will be a different experience.”