ASK IRA: Where did the Heat’s hunger games go?

Q: Ira, this version of Heat has no identity. They play without urgency, lethargic. Is it time to blow him up, now or in the offseason? – Juan.

A: Well, they’re certainly different approaches, and it’s much easier to achieve such a goal in the offseason when Tyler Herro is trade-eligible and Kyle Lowry has an expiring contract. The warm identity was usually about will, drive, and desire to overcome talent deficiencies. That hasn’t been evident not just on a regular basis this season, but on a possession-by-possession basis. The team that often talks about the practices of “Hunger Games” did not put together that many actual hunger games, or even hunger sequences. And that is uncharacteristic, very uncharacteristic.

Q: Rest and lose. The Heat got what they wanted. Might as well rest Jimmy Butler for the rest of the season. This way it is healthy to attend and watch the matches. – Caesar.

A: I wish there was more clarity on Jimmy Butler’s absence from Tuesday night if it was injury related. Because while I could understand a pre-arranged approach to back-to-back sets against the Grizzlies and Pistons since Jimmy’s one-of-two night session, I would have thought the Memphis loss should have changed that thinking. Similarly, it looked like the Heat were going to sit Kyle Lowry on Tuesday, until Gabe Vincent was ruled out.

Q: Without significant (hopefully future) contributions from Victor Oladipo and Omer Yurtseven, this Heat team is not one that can claim to have good depth. – Ray, Deerfield Beach.

Q: Right. There are a lot of nice players on the bench. But now that Tyler Herro has been moved into the starting lineup, there’s no one to necessarily move the needle in the second unit. This is where being vigilant with the luxury tax can create problems. Even taking Caleb Martin’s second-team energy out of the equation, with his current starting role, changed the calculus of the Heat bench.


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