By M.R. Dibber, AP Miami Heat guard Dwayne Wade says the Heat’s preseason schedule is packed with high-profile events.
Miami Heat center Hassan Whiteside says the first two weeks of training camp are a challenge.
Heat guard Dwyane Wade says he thinks his team’s preseason will be the toughest in his nine-year career.
A couple weeks ago, Wade said the Heat had a great preseason.
And so far, so good.
But Wade says with only four preseason games left, that preseason has become a bit of a challenge for the Heat.
“It’s going to be a real struggle, and I’m not kidding,” Wade said Monday.
“We have a couple of games coming up and we’ve got to find a way to get it done.
We’ve got a lot of work to do and a lot more that we have to get done.”
Wade said there are three main areas of focus for the preseason: preparing for games, finding chemistry and developing chemistry with the players.
“You just want to put your mind to work,” Wade added.
“I don’t want to be doing that at the same time you’re doing work on the court.
You’re not going to get any better than that.”
The Heat also will have to work to get Whiteside, who was the team’s MVP last season, ready to play after the team waived him on Monday.
The Heat has been searching for a long-term replacement for Wade, who is coming off back surgery in April.
“It doesn’t matter who’s playing, it doesn’t make a difference,” Wade told The Associated Press in a telephone interview.
“You’re going to have to put the pieces together, and then you have to see how it goes.
But that’s the only thing that really matters.
It doesn’t change who you are or what you’re going through, and that’s what we’re looking for in the offseason.”
The Heat will also have to find ways to get the game ready for players who missed preseason games because of back surgeries.
Whiteside missed three preseason games last season because of a broken left foot, and Wade missed two with a broken right foot.
The three missed games have been part of the reason Whiteside’s playing time has decreased each of the past two seasons.
Wade, who missed all of last season after he broke his right foot in the first preseason game, said he is confident the Heat will get Whitesides back soon.
“I think we’re all pretty confident,” Wade, 29, said.
“Hopefully I’m in good shape and ready to go.
I think that’s going the way we’re going.
Hopefully, we can have him back in a couple weeks.”
Wade is also excited about getting some new teammates.
The team signed former Indiana Pacers center Larry Sanders to a 10-day contract this week, a sign the Heat is getting some depth.
Sanders averaged 11.4 points and 6.4 rebounds in two preseason games.
“He’s got a chance to be the most valuable player in this league,” Heat guard Dion Waiters said.
Wizards guard DeJuan Blair said the preseason will bring a bit more competition.
“Obviously, we’re playing in front of a lot, but we’re also playing against some guys we don’t necessarily know,” Blair said.
The players have a lot to prove this year.
The preseason schedule starts Thursday and will include four games on Saturday and three games on Sunday.
Heat guard Dwyer Johnson, who has been sidelined with a sore right knee, said the team will focus on improving the game-plan.
“We’ll go out there and play hard,” Johnson said.