Miami Heat: Breaking Down Chatter Surrounding Training Camp
The Miami Heat may have wanted training camp to take place in the Bahamas, in part, to lessen the circus-like media attention given to them. However, considering the great interest there is in this team, we all knew that wasn't going to work.
We're only two days into training camp and there has been plenty of Heat gossip making the rounds. Let's go over the top rumors.
Dwyane Wade is Healthy
Perhaps the biggest concern for the Heat entering training camp was the health of D-Wade. Due to knee injuries, he did not look like himself in the 2013 postseason, required offseason shock treatment on both knees and wasn't able to return to the court until mid-August, according to Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel.
However, it appears the shock treatment and Wade's work with famed trainer Tim Grover in August, which was reported by ESPN's Brian Windhorst, worked, as D-Wade's knees have not been a problem so far. Two very important members of the Heat organization have lauded his health/play.
LeBron James on Wade (via Matt Kelley of the Miami Herald):
“I hear ‘A healthy Dwyane Wade’ and I get excited,” James said. “This is probably as healthy as he’s been since  training camp. He’s hungry. He’s hungry to get back to form and to show why he’s one of the greatest two-guards to ever play this game.”
Coach Erik Spoelstra added (via Windhorst):
"He's extremely fit, he's had a great camp so far," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "He's trying to win every drill."
Ray Allen Is in Great Shape
Throughout his career, Allen has been known for his fantastic conditioning. But it appears that Allen took his offseason work to another level this summer.
Spoelstra on Allen (via Winderman):
"What I like, and it's interesting, about Ray, is he continues to redefine and reinvent," Spoelstra said Wednesday after leading the Heat through the second of four days of workouts at Atlantis. "And now he's lighter, less body fat than what he was last year during the Finals. I believe this is about as light as he's been since he's in college.
"And you look at him right now, shirt off, he has the physique of a player in his early 20s. So he continues to find ways to remain relevant, even at his age."
This weight loss by Allen has the chance to pay big dividends for Miami.
He really struggled defensively last season. In particular, he had issues staying with quicker guards. If Allen can make that less of an issue this season, Spo can play Allen more minutes and, in turn, reduce Wade's minutes in order to lessen the chances of more knee injuries for the Heat legend.
Heat Players Are Helping Michael Beasley
Miami didn't invest very much financially in Beasley (Winderman reported the contract is for one year and worth the five-year veteran's minimum of $1,027,424); however, Heat players have been investing a good amount of their time in Beasley through two days of camp.
Beasley said that D-Wade was vocal with him throughout Miami's first practice (via Bleacher Report's own Ethan Skolnick):
"Everybody embraced me," Beasley said of his Heat teammates, some old and some new, following his first practice of his second tenure. "D-Wade stayed in my ear the whole time."
Respected veteran Udonis Haslem said he had a one-on-one conversation with Beasley, hoping to help the troubled forward (via Skolnick):
"I spoke to him, I sat him down, and I've always been able to be real, upfront and honest with Mike," Haslem said. "He probably didn't agree with everything I said, but he knows I have his best interests at heart. I've just got to do a better job than I did the last time around. I've learned some things about Beas, I think we understand each other. And I think he's a good kid, he really wants to do right. Sometimes it's not really the person. Sometimes it's who they are around, and who they surround themselves with. Sometimes that's the hardest thing for us to do is kind of clean out our closet a little bit."
It seems evident that Heat players believe Beasley can be a contributor if he has the right attitude.
Greg Oden Is Participating in Portions of Practices
Oden took part in his first NBA practice in four years on Tuesday. While Oden sat out the second half of the practice and didn't do any contact work, he and Spo were pleased with the results, according to Windhorst.
"It felt good just being out there," Oden said. "It's the first time in awhile, I'm happy I got it completed. They had to pull me off the floor. But I've got to take steps."
"It's step by step, practice by practice, minute by minute," coach Erik Spoelstra said. "It was a big bonus to have him out there. We'll meet with the trainers and see how he reacts and go from there."
As for Wednesday's practice, Spo said that the Heat did plenty of contact work that Oden didn't participate in (he hasn't been cleared for such work), according to Winderman.
"He did some of the pre-practice, a little bit of the practice," Spoelstra said of Oden's participation Wednesday. "But we were mostly getting after it. So that stuff, we held him out of."
Spo added that the Heat do not have a specific timetable for Oden doing contact work (via Winderman):
"It's day-by-day, that's how we're viewing it," he said. "The most important thing is getting his body strong, healthy. We'll work on conditioning as we go. It's not even going to be an issue of a day-to-day report with him. You can get that out of your mind. We're looking at this big-picture wise. Every day we meet, and we make a decision then."
Chris "Birdman" Andersen Lost Weight
Allen wasn't the only Heat player that got lighter this summer. Birdman said he lost 10 pounds over the offseason, according to Skolnick.
Chris Andersen says he dropped 10 pounds in offseason. And he's adding a championship tattoo in next month. "Damn right."— Ethan J. Skolnick (@EthanJSkolnick) September 30, 2013
Andersen is poised for his first full season since 2009-10 and turned 35 years old this summer, so the need to get in improved shape was absolutely there for Birdman.
He was already a great asset for the Heat last season. But if Andersen's able to, say, cut to the basket quicker and get in defensive position quicker than before, his $1.7 million contract will look like an even better bargain than expected.
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