In what is welcome news to Miami Heat fans, coach Erik Spoelstra is spending this weekend in Slovenia with starting point guard Goran Dragic.
Guess who made a stop in Slovenia to visit the Dragićs? Spo & Coach O! pic.twitter.com/CkbCnlYs79— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) August 26, 2016
Dragic is playing with the Slovenian national team at the EuroBasket qualifying tournament, and Spoelstra has stressed playing at a more up-tempo pace that plays to Dragic's strengths.
For Heat fans who have bemoaned the Heat's slow pace in recent years, these developments are refreshing. Dragic earned a Third-Team All-NBA selection with the 2013-14 Phoenix Suns team that had the eighth-highest pace in the league. Even last season, the Heat improved with a faster pace after Chris Bosh's blood clots forced Spoelstra to slide Luol Deng to the 4.
Of course, with training camp just a month away, we still have not heard about Bosh's playing status. And for what it's worth, last August Spoelstra and Heat players worked out with Bosh in California. Whether Spoelstra's travel to Slovenia this year signals a change in priorities for the team's future will be subject to speculation.
Young, athletic players like Justise Winslow, Tyler Johnson and Hassan Whiteside will all benefit from a team that plays an up-tempo style. We'll have to see if Dragic is able to lead those players -- as well as veterans like Dion Waiters, Wayne Ellington and (possibly) Bosh -- to exceed expectations this year.