Goran Dragic last month played nine games in a 15-day span for Slovenia during EuroBasket basket. It looks like he will be limited to two this month in the 17 days of the preseason preceding the Miami Heat’s season opener.
The Heat’s starting point guard was declared out for the third consecutive time in as many games Wednesday, to miss the home preseason finale against the Washington Wizards. The approach by coach Erik Spoelstra makes it likely that the 31-year-old also will miss Friday’s preseason finale in Kansas City against the Philadelphia 76ers.
The Heat open their regular season Oct. 18 at the Amway Center against the Orlando Magic, before returning for a season-longest six-game homestand.
Spoelstra at Wednesday’s shootaround downplayed the need for a dress rehearsal with his regular rotation in advance of the season opener.
“Actually, the last few years, I’ve never really done a dress rehearsal,” he said.
Dragic went through most of the drill work during the Heat’s five-day camp at Florida Atlantic University and then played in the first two exhibitions, a victory at AmericanAirlines Arena against the Atlanta Hawks and then a road loss to the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center.
Spoelstra said he has prioritized the drill work with Dragic during camp and the ensuing practice sessions.
Shooting guard Dion Waiters has downplayed Dragic’s absence, saying the two already forged the needed chemistry last season.
Dragic is the lone true point guard expected to make the Heat’s final 15-player roster, which must be submitted to the league Monday. The Heat have been going with Josh Richardson as Dragic’s replacement in the starting lineup in the interim.
Richardson said the balance of the preseason will be continuing to learn as much as possible about the roster.
“I think these next two will just be about personnel,” he said.
The Heat camp roster also features journeyman point guard Larry Drew II and undrafted rookie point guard Derrick Walton Jr., who already has committed to a two-way contract, therefore limiting his NBA available to a maximum of 45 days during the regular season.
Both Drew and Walton are expected to start the season with the Heat’s developmental-league affiliate, the Sioux Falls Skyforce.
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