MIAMI – A new basketball season is right around the corner and the excitement level surrounding the Miami Heat continues to grow.
Local 10's Will Manso and Clary Ferraro attended Heat media day Monday, and provided their thoughts and opinions following a busy and exhilarating day.
10 Observations from Heat media day with Will Manso:
Media day is the day around the NBA where every team talks of hope and the expectations to contend.
Of course, it doesn't always work out that way.
For the 2019-20 version of the Miami Heat, the goals remain the same, but the energy around the team is much different than it's been in a few seasons. In particular from head coach Erik Spoelstra. He seems reinvigorated.
Here are a few of my takes after chatting with Coach Spo and the players.
So to wrap it up, like every new season, everything seems great and a big year is ahead.
I get it, most teams will say the same. But, if this team stays healthy, they do seem capable of being the best Heat team we've in a while.
This town needs it.
Local 10's Clary Ferraro took three main points away from Heat media day:
1. Hate the Heat! Please!
The Heat want your hate. No, really.
Erik Spoelstra told us that he and Jimmy Butler shared their mutual hate for each other while the team made is recruiting pitch to Butler. Sound crazy? It's not. In Spo's mind, they WANT to be hated by opponents because they feel like it means they're tough to play against. And that's one of the many reasons why they view Butler as a perfect fit.
2. Yes, the locker room vibe was off last year.
I sat down with Justise Winslow and he shared some insight on what went on in the locker room last year. Pat Riley noted that they had a logjam on the roster, and Winslow acknowledged that the energy in the locker room was not "connected" last season.
This year? Winslow believes the roles will be more defined and people will have a better understanding of how they fit into the Heat puzzle.
3. This team feels...different. In a good way.
Full disclosure: This is the honeymoon period for the Jimmy Butler-led Heat. But spending time around the team, there seems to be a sense that they're all in on what the expectations are this year.
Winslow said his goal is for the team to earn home court advantage in the first round of the playoffs, meaning a top-four seed. But Winslow also noted that viewing Butler's work ethic from afar a couple years ago inspired him to work even harder himself.
Butler has rubbed teammates the wrong way elsewhere because of his intensity. But it feels as if this Heat team knows exactly what they're getting into with Butler. And instead of hiding from it, they're embracing it. With the understanding that it will make them all better.