Ira Winderman

Ira Winderman (September 30, 2014)



October 31, 2014

Q: James Ennis dunk was such a feel-good moment for the Heat and the fans, and what a statement it made! At a point where the game was in the balance, James' dunk energized the arena, the crowd and the players. It led to a major run that helped seal the game. And for just a moment that dunk made us appreciate the James that we have, and forget the James that we lost. That dunk said we are not going to just lay down for anyone, we are not going away, we're here to compete and we're here to win. -- Yunasi, Miami Beach.


Pictures: Zombie Walk in downtown Fort Lauderdale

A: It does say something when you can secure the cover photo of next season's media guide on opening night. Forget LeBron? Um, the news cycle would make that impossible, anyway. But what that scintillating moment showed was the emotion that so often was missing during recent regular seasons. There is something to be said about pure basketball joy. But then you also move on. The Heat don't need Harold Miner II. What they need is something who can grow into a reliable wing presence. That process continues.

Q: I loved Norris Cole's contribution, but 15 shot attempts in 28 minutes and only two assists for your starting point guard? I don't know if that's a winning formula. By the way Shabazz Napier looked great. He's definitely not ready for a starting role, but man you can see some true point guard skills there. Hope he develops. -- Ramos.

A: What I'd say about Norris is that he scored because for most of that game he had to score, before Dwyane Wade finally got it going. Norris still is finding his way, and, like Mario Chalmers, will essentially remain a combo guard. As for Napier, you can see the instinctive mentality of a point guard. The question is whether his slight build will allow him to endure.

Q: Why are the Heat lying about the status of Josh McRoberts? He has been "day-to-day" for like a month. Is there something else going on with his health? -- Wang.

A: They're not lying because they've never said when he would be back. But based on how the Heat termed the toe surgery and the recovery process, it sure seems as if even they are surprised by the process. Still, until McRoberts gets back, the Heat won't be able to truly sort out their rotation.



October 30, 2014

Q: Ira, I am getting very aggravated with the level of disrespect Dwyane Wade has been receiving. Numerous times I have heard reporters calling Chris Bosh the number-one option. I understand Bosh may be making more money, but even with Bosh and LeBron James there, Wade was the clear second option. So tell me how is Bosh now looked at as the alpha dog on this team? This franchise still belongs to Wade. We clearly know who is the better player. -- Rick, Miami.

A: Your pro-Wade passion is laudable, and I can't say misguided. But Dwyane has a lot of wear on him, has missed a lot of games these past few seasons. Even he recognizes that his high-flying game can't necessarily withstand go-to demands every night. He is among those who have pushed Bosh to do more, expect more. Of course, what matters is what it looks like on the floor, and if Wade can recapture his previous magic, I'm sure Bosh gladly would defer. For the Heat, it basically comes down to that either Bosh or Wade, or both, have to be at the top of their games for the team to succeed. Bosh was the bigger difference-maker during the opener. Perhaps Saturday in Philadelphia will be Wade's turn. But it just seems a bit easier at the moment for Bosh to be able to make the difference.

Q: Even if the Heat give Norris Cole an extension, wouldn't that still be relatively cheap labor? It seems that with this CBA it is critical to find players that produce on small contracts. -- Juan, Denver.

A: But relatively speaking, a few million dollars in 2016 could be the difference between executing a 2010-like makeover or coming up short. To a degree, the timing just isn't right, with the Heat still trying to get a read on where Shabazz Napier is headed and whether Mario Chalmers can spend these next two seasons as an efficient backup shooting guard. Remember, while the Heat can't give Cole a rookie-scale extension beyond Friday, they still could build an extension at any time this season off his current contract. It's a complex issue both in terms of timing and mechanisms. But I also wouldn't be surprised if Wednesday doesn't get the Heat to at least think of getting this settled sooner rather than later.

Q: The Heat played the entire 48 minutes of a regular-season game with a fire and passion not seen in four years. -- F.L.

A: I don't know about that. And there were some lulls against a shorthanded Wizards roster. But that's what this season has to be about. The Heat might get away with a few lulls Saturday against the D-League 76ers, but the same type of effort as Wednesday will be needed Sunday when the Raptors visit.



October 29, 2014

Q: If Norris Cole is good enough to start, shouldn't he be good enough to get an extension? -- Cliff.