ORLANDO, Fla. — The Rockets are over the moon with the arrival of Dwight Howard. The Nets are busy loading up on veterans Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Jason Terry and Andrei Kirilenko. The Bulls figure they’re right back in the picture with the return of Derrick Rose. The Clippers and Warriors are on the rise with additions of Doc Rivers and Andre Iguodala, respectively.
During his visit to the Orlando Pro Summer League, coach Erik Spoelstra said the improvement to the Heat will come from themselves.
“Even our veteran players, even guys that are over 30 years old, you have to continue to try to get better,” Spoelstra said in an interview on NBA TV. “And the only way we’ll get better, and you see the competition around the league is getting better, our guys have to get better.
“Our best players take that upon themselves, so it’s easy for the other guys to follow. But even a guy like LeBron (James), coming off of an MVP year the year before, people thought that was probably the highest level that he could play at and he played at an even more historic level last year. We’re going to need that from quite a few players next year.”
In an era where change is always in the air, the Heat with back-to-back titles can afford, are using cohesiveness and consistency as their strength built around the core of James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.
The Heat re-signed free agent center Chris Andersen and now the only member of the playoff roster not under contract for next season is Juwan Howard.
“It was important for (Andersen), for us, to be able to get him back,” said Spoelstra. “It was one of the biggest signings, we thought, during the year.
“His style fits very much to how we like to play, defense and toughness and rebounding, he finds a way to get open. But his personality also fits. And he’s got that great TV personality that you all see, but inside the locker room, you have to be a little bit out of the box to fit in our locker room.”
Spoelstra said the most important thing for the Heat going forward is to continue blending and refining the talents of the Big Three.
“It’s taken some time,” he said. “I think you probably forget what we looked like when we first put the group together. It was rough offensively.
“I think early on, we were able to develop our defense and create an identity and play off of that. But offensively it’s taken some time to get into a comfort level and gain some confidence. Another year, hopefully will do that. But we also have to have an improvement from within.”