Matt Pineda of Hot Hot Hoops (SB Nation's site covering the Miami Heat) stopped by Peachtree Hoops to answer a few questions before tonight's 8 pm tip-off at Philips Arena.
Daniel Christian: The Heat made a few money-saving moves at the deadline yesterday by trading Jarnell Stokes, Brian Roberts and Chris Andersen. They didn't get anything in return besides avoiding the tax, but how do you think these moves will affect the team the rest of this season? Does it hurt depth? Will it not have any impact at all?
Matt Pineda: The moves actually give the Heat a lot of flexibility. Chris Andersen and Jarnell Stokes weren't playing for the Heat. They were both buried at the end of the bench and so giving them away and getting under the tax and is good for the team. It now gives them the ability to add depth that will be cheaper and maybe even more productive. I see them waiting for buyout season to begin and who knows who they might add. It doesn't hurt their depth because they weren't used -- it could have a positive impact depending on what they do with the roster spots.
DC: Chris Bosh has had re-occurring issues with blood clots, so for some of us Hawks fans who might not be up to date on the situation, can you speak to how long he will be out/ the severity of the situation? It seems like a fluid thing and I know everyone in the NBA is wishing him the best. Assuming he's able to play again this season, what do you think his absence could do to Miami's playoff seeding?
MP: We don't really know the details of the Bosh situation. We know something is up, but the fact that Pat Riley hasn't said anything means they are still figuring it out. I suspect we will learn soon what the time table is. However, the consensus is that he will return this season at some point and that this is not as serious as last time around. I think the Heat will struggle for a bit, but in the East, I think they have a good chance each night. Goran Dragic will have to take more of a role and that may be a good thing. The positive side is that the team has been through this before.
DC: Bring us up to speed, if you could, about how Justise Winslow has been playing. What's his biggest strength so far and where do you see the most room for improvement? Does he strike you as someone who could take the reigns of the franchise in a post-Wade/Bosh era?
MP: Justise Winslow has been consistent all season. He never scores much, but always contributes in multiple statistical categories and makes an impact beyond the box score. He is a gifted defensive player and is in nearly all of the Heat's most productive 5-man and 2-man unites. He will continue to play 25+ minutes a game. We believe that he will be the future of this franchise if he can develop a better jumpshot. Right now, it is slow and not very good. He has everything else including ball handling, but he needs to shoot better.
DC: The Heat won't have Bosh or Hassan Whiteside tonight. How will that change the way they play Atlanta? Is there any matchup by which you're particularly intrigued? Care to give a prediction on tonight's game?
MP: Paul Millsap is going to have a big night. In fact, I'm playing him with my FanDuel lineup tonight. The Heat will be old and slow inside with only Stoudemire, McRoberts and Haslem playing in the power rotation. Miami will go small plenty of times with Luol Deng at PF. With the reality that Dwyane Wade is also a game-time decision. I think the Hawks at home are going to win, probably taking a larger lead in the second half.