Q: Obviously we disagree with Nikola Jovic. The international game is very different. I see a guy who, whether he’s 15, 20 or 30, just doesn’t “get it”: when and where to set screens, how to rotate on defense. Some guys watch the game, others like KZ Okpala for example will never watch it. – Jon.
A: It’s still a little harsh, but certainly everyone’s entitled to their opinion until Nikola Jovic is finally in the rotation or out. The question is how many more opportunities, even as brief as Wednesday’s, will be for Nikola once Bam Adebayo returns. In fact, when Haywood Highsmith returns, that would limit the possibilities even more, especially considering how Caleb Martin recovered from his preseason knee soreness. Still, there have been enough international players who eventually arrived later in their NBA tenure that you wouldn’t give up on a 20-year-old. Ultimately, a long run in the G League might be the best way to take stock, particularly with a roster full of win-now veterans like the Heat’s. But for now, Adebayo, Kevin Love, Martin, Highsmith and even now Orlando Robinson are also positioned above Nikola in the Heat’s power rotation hierarchy.
Q: Orlando Robinson was on the team last year and you played Cody Zeller over him. We could have used Orlando in the NBA Finals. -Abel.
A: Maybe this Orlando Robinson, the one we’ve seen for the last two weeks. But don’t underestimate the gains made since the end of last season. The current Orlando Robinson is a significant upgrade over the Orlando Robinson on the roster at the end of last season. And remember, Orlando was on a two-way contract last season and therefore ineligible for the postseason.
Q: What happened to Duncan Robinson? He seems to have learned how to play decent defense without fouling all the time and the refs are letting him play. And who knew he had “game”? He’s not just a three-point shooter anymore. He has shown that he can drive and finish. Great improvement. – Irwin, Boynton Beach.
A: It’s all part of the growth and development process, and Erik Spoelstra reminds us that development doesn’t have to stop after your first or second season in the league. Duncan Robinson is a testament to that. And yes, it seems like he’s getting more veteran whistles now that he’s older.