Connect with us

Miami Heat

Yero’s Mailbag: Can Kelly Olynyk’s Hot Streak Garner Him A Starting Spot?

Miami Heat courtesy/Miami Heat courtesy

Does anyone still sleep on Kellz [Kelly Olynyk]? — Scott E Evans Jr.

To be fair, I wasn’t expecting to see what Kelly Olynyk has displayed two games into the Miami Heat’s stay at Disney World. First, he notched 12 points, six rebounds and four assists to kick-off the scrimmages. Next, he recorded a season-high 27 points along with eight rebounds.

Olynyk’s recent performances have potentially kept him from being out of the Heat’s 10-man rotation and even into the starting lineup. While there’s no official word on how coach Erik Spoelstra plans to utilize his 17-man roster, it’s expected to feature center Meyers Leonard, who started in all of his 49 games played this season.

However, as Leonard continues to find his groove after missing the Heat’s last 16 games prior to the league’s hiatus with a lingering ankle injury, Olynyk could substitute him for the time being.

Mind you, this is a possibility. Coach Spoelstra has praised Olynyk’s development during the Orlando training camp and in their recent games, noting that he’s playing phenomenal as of late. Such applaud could hint at Spoelstra’s interest in utilizing the 6-foot-11 big man a lot more.

“We’ve had a lot of guys stand out in camp and he’s had one of the better camps,” Spoelstra said. “Before we stopped he was playing some of his best basketball of the season and he’s continued that right now.”

If Olynyk can continue his hot streak, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him in the Heat’s lineup vs. the Denver Nuggets, their first of eight “seeding” games prior to the 2019-20 playoffs.

The Heat are eventually gonna choose between [Jae] Crowder or DJJ [Derrick Jones Jr.] in free agency … who would you rather have? — Silverfoxgoldenhux.

I don’t think it’ll come down to choosing between Jae Crowder and Derrick Jones Jr. for the Heat, mainly because of the circumstances both players face.

Jones Jr., 23, has shown significant strides this past season, averaging 8.9 points, 4.2 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 1.1 steals, and 0.7 blocks in 51 appearances (15 starts), all career-highs. Entering the final stages of his two-year deal, Miami’s status with Jones Jr. this offseason will be determined on the interest other teams have to offer.

The Heat are committed to keeping cap space in attempts to make a run at a stacked 2021 free agency class, featuring Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo and Indiana’s Victor Oladipo. If Jones Jr. receives a multi-year offer worth more than $10 million, it’s unlikely Miami will equalize.

The Heat’s efforts to maintain cap room were shown Monday, as ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reported that Miami’s All-Star center Bam Adebayo might not be extended this offseason to secure cap for 2021.

For Jae Crowder, who was acquired by the Heat on February 8, his potential to serve a crucial role as a backup forward for years to come is solid. He has the experience, passion and is developing his three-point shot. If it comes down to paying Jones Jr. in the double-digit million range, Crowder is seemingly Miami’s best option. On the flip side, if Jones Jr. takes a lighter deal to remain with the Heat, then he’s the best option.

Keep in mind that the Heat are very likely to maintain both players if the money is lenient for each side. Nevertheless, with the need to also resign Goran Dragic, Meyers Leonard, and Solomon Hill, anything can happen.

Why are Solomon Hill and Kyle Alexander getting playtime over KZ Okpala in scrimmage games? — HerroBall2021.

It was revealed that KZ Okpala was dealing with tendinitis, which sidelined him for Tuesday’s scrimmage. Still, there could be more to coach Spoelstra’s decision to sit the 2019 second-round pick.

In the case of Solomon Hill, his veteran leadership alongside Tyler Herro, Kendrick Nunn, Chris Silva and Gabe Vincent make things easier for the young crew. At the same time, Hill is on the final stretch of his four-year, $48 million contract. With the help of the exhibitions, Miami continues to experiment with how Hill fits on both ends of the court amid their postseason run and if he’s worth keeping next season.

As for Kyle Alexander, who made his two-minute Heat debut Saturday, it’s all about examining his potential at the NBA level. While the 6-foot-10 forward proved himself on Sioux Falls Skyforce, Miami G League affiliate, averaging 10.6 points, 9.0 rebounds and 2.0 blocks, it remains unclear how Alexander, who’s under a two-way deal, can translate his talent at Disney’s Wide World of Sports complex.

So to answer your question, Okpala, 21, has an insurmountable period of time to get his playing time over Hill and Alexander. There’s no rush to get him on the floor.

Still, I wouldn’t be surprised if he played in Tuesday’s scrimmage vs. the Memphis Grizzlies if healthy.

Follow @305Sportss and @MichaelYero for more Miami Heat news!

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

More in Miami Heat