When the Miami Heat opened training camp, James Johnson was projected by many to be the starting power forward, with newcomer Kelly Olynyk coming off the bench. Well, Olynyk has played well in the past two preseason games starting next to Hassan Whiteside and might be named the starter when the regular season beings on Oct. 18 against the Orlando Magic.
"Kelly has a different skill set and his ability to shoot and make plays off the dribble," Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra told The Miami Herald. "We like that. We feel that's a great fit and can be good fit with our second unit or he can play alongside Hassan. Whoever starts, I'm not there yet right now."
Johnson was a revelation for the Heat in 2016-17, as he was very productive coming off the bench. In 75 games, Johnson averaged 12.8 points, 4.9 rebounds and 3.6 assists. As a reward for his season, the Heat signed the eight-year NBA veteran to a four-year, $60 million contract in July.
When discussing Johnson, backup guard Tyler Johnson said the two of them can make a big difference coming off the bench.
"Me and him both are on the same page as far as I felt most comfortable and best suited the team in my role coming off the bench," Tyler Johnson told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
Whether he starts or comes off bench, Olynyk is expected to split time at power forward and center during his first season in Miami. In July, Olynyk signed a four-year, $45.6 million contract with the Heat.
-- Nick Silva