Q: If Spoelstra can find a way to make it work for Oden, doesn't Udonis Haslem deserve the same chance? -- Steve.
Q: Why aren't we seeing more of LeBron James in the post this year? It's almost non-existent again. -- Eldrick.
A: He went there several times against the Nuggets, then got away from it. It has been noticeable, perhaps because of the increased efficiency of his jumper. But now, if the Heat truly plan to start both Oden and Chris Bosh, it's not as if there will be much space to operate in the post with the starters.
March 17, 2014
Q: Greg Oden did not look good Sunday against the Rockets, especially on offense. It surprised he ended up with six rebounds. I hoped he would be further along at this point. It's hard to imagine him helping them much in the playoffs. -- David.
A: I think it is a legitimate issue for the Heat, which is probably why he was, to a degree, force-fed into the starting lineup Sunday. As I've been saying for weeks, now is the time to figure out if this can work, can allow the offense to stay in rhythm, can work without foul trouble. It's better to get the answers now, even if they aren't the ones you're looking for, then to go in blind against Roy Hibbert and the Pacers or another playoff team with an oversized big man.
Q: Come on Ira, Andrew Bynum is looking good for the Pacers. It seems like the Heat could have used a bit of that inside productivity. Why we didn't go after Bynum still baffles me. I love Oden, but he hasn't put together those numbers in all games combined (exaggerated). It just seem like the Heat should have known that losing out on Bynum would be huge. When Roy Hibbert goes out, in come Bynum and Luis Scola. How will we combat that? -- Keith.
A: By having LeBron James on the floor. Look I'm not saying that Oden ever would have been a game-changer in Heat-Pacers, but I still have severe doubts that Bynum will be either. Every minute that Bynum plays for the Pacers is a minute that Hibbert or David West is not on the floor.
Q: I remember your continued calls for a third point guard, and looking at how Patrick Beverley plays and how James Jones doesn't, it's a shame. -- Lef.
A: Look, Beverley is yesterday's news for the Heat. They went with Eddie House in 2010 because they were in win-now mode, and I have no issue with that. But as with so many others on this roster, they have had Roger Mason Jr. and Toney Douglas, and there still is a lack of trust in anyone beyond Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole at point guard, with Douglas utilized for all of 1:40 Sunday. I know the Heat say otherwise (as they should), but there sure seem to be plenty of players on this roster in whom there is little faith. Then again, the versatility of LeBron, Dwyane Wade and Shane Battier allow you to make more out of an eight-man rotation than most teams.
March 16, 2014
Q: The Big Three have worked well again this season, while Greg Oden and Michael Beasley have not so far. Pat Riley is so savvy that he is already planning his moves for next season, learning from the personnel mistakes he made this year. -- L.K.
A: But that's next year. To a degree, as Rashard Lewis, Roger Mason Jr., James Jones and even Toney Douglas have fallen to the wayside, it's as if Beasley and Oden have to be able to make it work in order for LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh to have the needed support. While Ray Allen certainly took a step forward on Friday night, there continues to be regression from Norris Cole. The question about the Heat's depth at this late hour is both legitimate and somewhat disturbing.
Q: I know Toney Douglas isn't the long-term answer, but what happened to adapting during the game? If Cole and Mario Chalmers are letting guys burn by them, might as well try Douglas. -- Scott, Los Angeles.
A: Well, if you're a regular reader of this space, you know that I had been an advocate for years of a third point guard, albeit more in case of injury than any other reason. But your point is valid, especially for this reason: The Heat have far too many players on this team who have no role whatsoever. There is nothing wrong with specialists, as long as your specialty is not "DNP-CD".
Q: Please explain to me why Shane Battier is still starting. He hasn't produced at all. It's time for a change. Please Spo! -- Justin.
A: And yet, a change at this point just might be construed as panic.