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Have Heat found their backup center in Orlando Robinson?

Robinson should take Dewayne Dedmon’s minutes.

Minnesota Timberwolves v Miami Heat Photo by Jeff Haynes/NBAE via Getty Images

When the Miami Heat started the season at 2-4, I wrote an article here titled, “No big beyond Bam: Heat are back where they started.” Omer Yurtseven, who some thought would supplant Dewayne Dedmon as Bam Adebayo’s backup, was about to undergo ankle surgery. Dedmon had trailed off as a serviceable backup center since joining Miami in spring 2021.

Miami’s dearth of options behind Adebayo forced the team to swap guard Dru Smith for center Orlando Robinson on one of their two-way contract roster spots. Jamal Cain has the Heat’s other two-way contract.

And in two recent wins in which both Adebayo and Dedmon sat out — Dec. 15 at the Houston Rockets and last night against the Minnesota Timberwolves — Erik Spoelstra has given the lion’s share of minutes to Robinson.

In 27 minutes last night, Robinson scored 15 points and grabbed nine rebounds. He was effective in the pick-and-roll and on the offensive glass. His put-backs salvaged otherwise flat stretches of Heat offense.

Of course, Robinson is still raw. He picked up five fouls, forcing Spoelstra to briefly go small and play Haywood Highsmith at the five at the end of the second quarter. (Nikola Jovic, who started at center, also got into foul trouble.)

But Robinson has shown enough competent play that he should take Dedmon’s minutes. If he continues to improve, the Heat may decide to convert his two-way contract into a standard one.

Miami did that with Chris Silva in Jan. 2020, but he never developed into a quality rotation player. The Heat traded him the following season, though he briefly returned when the Omicron wave forced NBA teams to add players.

Still, it appears Robinson has a better skillset than Silva did. Here’s to hoping it continues to work out.