NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Some quick notes off the team’s final day of camp in the Bahamas:
> Saturday’s final practice at the Atlantis Paradise Resort ended with point guard Goran Dragic (knee soreness) and center Hassan Whiteside (left knee soreness) not participating in contact drills.
Neither issue is of serious concern to coach Erik Spoelstra.
Whiteside, who also worked off to the side on Friday, and Dragic, who said he was just sore from having played a lot this summer with the Slovenian national team, both expect to play in the Heat’s preseason opener on Tuesday at Washington.
“I’m looking forward to it,” Whiteside said. “I’m pretty sure I’ll be there the first game against the Wizards. Just get out there and get it started, get in front of the Heat fans and let’s get this thing started.”
The soreness for Whiteside is not in the same knee he severely sprained during the playoffs.
“It feels a lot better,” he said of his left knee. “I just wanted to be careful with the contact. I worked out. I feel a lot better.”
> Guard Josh Richardson, who sprained his MCL on Sept. 9 after he landed awkwardly following a dunk during a team workout, said he made some progress with his knee during camp but is still experiencing pain with certain movements.
The Heat still hope he will be ready for the season opener Oct. 26.
“I think I’ve made a lot of progress actually,” Richardson said. “Before this week I just started walking and stuff. I never really got to get on the court at all. So this week I got to do a little court walk, start shooting some. Just being able to be mobile with my team has been great for me mentally.”
Richardson said he will likely wear a leg brace to start the season.
> Spoelstra said he’s not sure who will start in Tuesday’s preseason opener just yet.
“I’ll chew on that all the way until [Tuesday],” he said. “I’m going to have to learn a lot. Actually, I’m thankful we have eight preseason games. We’re going to need these games to evaluate and continue to get ready.”
> Friday night the entire team got together for a barbecue on the beach and some bonding time.
“It helps when you go away,” Spoelstra said. “Going back to when Pat was coaching, you always like to get away and just have more opportunities that are unscripted [for bonding]. It has to be organic. You can’t force it upon a group. It just happens very naturally here. Like I said it was a great environment to be here and the bus rides, all the meals we had together. The team barbecue last night was fun.”
Dragic said he learned how to play dominoes at the barbecue. He might even be willing to head down to Calle Ocho now in Miami and take on some grand champions at Domino Park.
“It was great,” he said. “We finished practice and had a good meeting. After that it was relaxing and having fun. The fellas, they teached me how to play Dominoes and it was fun. Something new, but at the same time you can talk with those guys and ask them questions and get to know them.”
How is the bonding going with Dion Waiters in the backcourt?
“Great. I just I think we still need a little bit more time,” Dragic said. “From his part, he needs to be more communicating. But he’s an unbelievable player. We’ve already seen what he can do. Even in this training camp he’s explosive. He can get other people involved. He can create his own shot. So, it’s going to be easy. We just need to talk so we can be on the same page.”
Published at Sat, 01 Oct 2016 18:47:53 +0000