Thoughts & observations from Miami Heat media day with Local 10's Will Manso, Clay Ferraro

Excitement, energy are common themes at Miami Heat media day

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.

  • It's not just lip service from the Heat about contending in the Eastern conference. Spo says every year it's the goal, no matter what. But it's clear they really believe that this season. They love this group. They believe this team fits the "Heat culture" to perfection.
  • I wouldn't sweat the Justise Winslow should play point guard debate. The ball will be in his hands a lot. Spo makes that clear. Justise makes that clear. Winslow says he doesn't care what you call his position. He will be active on offense and defense.
  • Don't dismiss Goran Dragic. The Heat almost traded him this season, yet they very much value his ability with the ball and as a scorer. He will still be a major factor.
  • Everyone loves Jimmy Butler. Period.
  • But, Spo admitted this is the "honeymoon phase" and they will deal with adversity. He calls them "uncomfortable moments" during an NBA season. He believes this team is wired to handle it. Butler will be a big part of that.
  • Derrick Jones Jr will surprise a lot of people. As he told me, he's much more than just a dunker.
  • Tyler Herro has real chance to be a key contributor. They love everything he does. He's been putting in the work since he was drafted.
  • It's all there for Dion Waiters to have success. No excuses. He's in shape and healthy. He's committed to play a big role and Spo wants him to.
  • They won't put statistical expectations, but they believe Bam Adebayo will take huge step as a player and leader. He is the young face of Heat culture.
  • This is seems to be the closest group of Heat players in a few seasons. There is not as much uncertainty. Will it translate to wins? We'll see. The belief is there.
  • 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.

    About the Authors: