Miami Heat: Short NBA season could be key for KZ Opkala & Draft Pick

KZ Okpala #4 of the Miami Heat attempts a layup against Charlie Brown Jr. #4 of the Atlanta Hawks (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
KZ Okpala #4 of the Miami Heat attempts a layup against Charlie Brown Jr. #4 of the Atlanta Hawks (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

Let’s look at how the Miami Heat can build up KZ Opkala and their newest pick’s game in this new 72-game short season. Maybe they discover something.

The Miami Heat just finished playing basketball a few weeks ago in all actuality. Let’s think about that as we prepare for the season that’s almost only just a month away.

I, for one, am not a huge fan of load management but in today’s modern NBA, it is now somewhat of a necessity and especially for injury-prone players. NBA teams need to plan out their lineups appropriately so that they will have a healthy squad come playoff time.

After all, that is exactly what every team and player wants.

They also need to make the playoffs first, so load management can’t control their season either. They need to find the right balance and that’s the tricky part for any player, coach, and organization.

This new shortened 2020-2021 season will see a 72-game season. In case we are all not adept in NBA scheduling math, that is 10 games less than the regular regular season and to make matters worse for the players, it will have an early start date which is coming in hot on December 22nd.

The Miami Heat will only have seven weeks of rest due to this short break. That’s 71 days between seasons.

The Miami Heat should have some key crucial minutes to afford their younger players with the early shortened season and coming off a long playoff run.

While that may seem okay to us diehard NBA fans, these players will have a hard time adjusting to the early start date.  That goes especially for the franchise players.

For the Miami Heat, this is where KZ Opkala should see a golden opportunity to squeeze into an already contested lineup. It definitely won’t guarantee him a starting position or even a secondary role, but he needs more minutes to improve or even facilitate at all the slight chance that he can either make his mark within this Heat organization… or at the very least improve his trade value down the road.

This 72 game season should be that opening. Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo, and Goran Dragic need to be Miami’s top priority in managing their minutes once the season starts.

This doesn’t mean directly benching them, but offering them a more extended offseason in the form of limited minutes. Let them get their legs back slowly while offering a kickstart to what KZ Opkala can become.

This also can be applied to the Miami Heat’s draft pick, providing that they actually make one. Whether it’s another guard or forward, the Heat have an opening to make a quick splash with their selection.

It might not be the traditional move, considering it won’t be a top 10 pick, but it won’t be a normal season anyway. It’s time to play around with the lineup early, in order that down the stretch, they know who’s capable of potentially being a go-to shooter, slasher, rebounder, or even scorer off the bench.

Okpala came highly scouted from Stanford, but we have yet to really see his progress. Early minutes could mean an early start to an unconventional year.

If anything, Coach Spoelstra can quickly fix some holes in these young player’s games. He could have valuable time to find the weaknesses and work on them.

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This would then give him the opportunity to build them up to see if they fit this Heat culture or not.  It won’t be a high-risk move, so the Heat have options to start this season off the right way.

And hopefully, work that route back to the NBA playoffs. We can’t wait to see what shakes out.