Some NBA Players Proving to be Bad Teammates

The narcissists who make up the 15% of unvaccinated NBA players are fools.


Astonishingly, grown men with straight faces argued in defiance of evidence and reason to their peers and league officials that a vaccine mandate in place to protect them is a “nonstarter,” as ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported.


Whatever pseudoscience and rubbish about civil liberties cited by the governing minority as a reason to avoid the vaccine should be treated with ridicule. These players are not smarter than the doctors who have risked their lives helping create an antidote for the world’s plague that has claimed the lives of 4.6 million people.


I want to extend my pity to the level-headed gentlemen who tried to help these men see the light because they, too, lost significant brain cells in this failed crusade.  The small group has shown that they are incapable of self-reflection and being counted on by their contemporaries in dire circumstances.


The “personal choice” this small faction of union members has taken, whoever they are, is to live in willful ignorance. Yet, I doubt their bubble is blissful.  These rejects will have a different experience in-season than those who are fully vaccinated due to the league protocols.


Referees, and all team personnel within 15 feet or less of the athletes, have to be fully vaccinated for next season.  Everyone in the NBA is doing their part to ensure a safer working environment, except for the thoughtless camp.


The league will not give COVID tests to vaccinated players in the same high frequency as those who aren’t, per Shams Charania of the Athletic.  The minority are at greater risk of hindering their teams through missed time if a test returns positive or if they come into close contact with someone who is because that forces the unvaxed athlete into a week of isolated shelflife.  Fully vaccinated players will not have to quarantine over close contact with someone positive for coronavirus. 


These specific guidelines ensure that another debacle, like when Nets forward Kevin Durant was removed from a game against the Toronto Raptors, twice in one night, over close contact with someone with a positive test, cannot occur again for those who were wise enough to vaccinate.  Only the careless will fall victim to that this year.  


Imagine sharing a foxhole with someone who only thinks of themself. It’s not fair to those who did the right thing and embraced the team mentality of thinking of their fellow man.  The dudes who did not vaccinate are bad teammates.

Kyle Lowry is Ready for the Final Phase of His Career

The longtime Raptor is ready to close out a fantastic career playing a role he’s no stranger to.

It was no surprise that Kyle Lowry’s final big contract came courtesy of the Miami Heat. The rumors had swirled since the trade deadline the season prior. It felt almost like a formality that the two would come to an agreement at the start of free agency. That agreement sought Lowry as a way to bridge the Jimmy Butler era into the Bam Adebayo one. He was the perfect piece to help this team compete in the now while setting them up for the future. Kyle Lowry has spent most of his career playing the role of team player, leader, and connector. What the Heat are going to ask of him won’t be much different from what he’s used to — it’s a match made in heaven.

Dating back to Houston, Kyle knew how to leave his mark in almost every game. He wouldn’t be the flashiest or the prettiest (though his flops were true works of art akin to Warhol), but he knew how to get the job done by any means. Lowry has been one of a kind in a league that’s seen so many unique Point Guards. When Heat fans saw him play, it felt like they were watching what would happen if scientists created the most Heat-like PG.

These two were practically made for each other. It’s the same feeling Heat fans had when watching Jimmy Butler. And similarly to the Butler signing, it seems like the two paths are crossing at the perfect time. Lowry is no longer in the prime of his career at 35, but Miami knows this. They don’t need Kyle Lowry of 2016 to succeed; the current iteration that’s still one of the best PGs in basketball will more than suffice.

You could make the argument the marriage of the two might have been even better if Lowry signed with Miami in 2014 when both expressed mutual interest. But let’s not dwell on the past like a regretful 40-something. The Heat have proven time and again that they always circle back to players. While it may not be 2014, this union’s timing is still right to benefit both sides greatly.

Earlier, I talked about Lowry being the “bridge” to connect the old and new guards. Last season Miami was a team stuck in the middle, not knowing which direction to go full throttle. After a wasted year that saw Jimmy Butler put up incredible numbers, it was clear they needed to stop waffling. But with Kyle Lowry, it’s not only a “win-now” move — it’s a move that’ll help the future of the franchise in Bam Adebayo to be the best version of himself.

That’s the kind of player Kyle Lowry has always been. Lowry has worked with young players waiting for their greatness to be unleashed. He made the game easier for Pascal Siakam while knowing when to take a step back so that he could learn to fly. All those small but significant details Kyle plugs will make the game slow down even more than ever for a young player, especially a center like Bam. I won’t go into more detail about those intricacies since everyone and their mother has written in-depth about those already. We all know about the pocket passes, short roll delivery, post-entry passes, quick hitters, and DHOs flowing into pick-and-rolls. Adebayo will get his piece of the pie on a platter as opposed to through the pig trough.




Lowry wants to make the game easier for everyone in a variety of ways. He plays every possession like a mini-war that he wants to get all his soldiers through on the winning side. That may seem like hyperbole, but the man literally went through a player’s legs attempting to get a foul call. The same guy that tried drawing multiple charges at an All-Star Game. It’s safe to say that he’s not one to take possessions off that easily.

But Miami won’t be asking him to do too much. At this point in his career, asking for everything from Lowry in an 82 game season is a sticky proposition. It’s a good thing Miami will only want about 75% of everything. A line of around 16-7-5 on 33 minutes with decent efficiency is the sweet spot throughout the season. The playoffs are where everyone will be asking for that 100% Ultimate Lowry Form. Not asking much from Lowry as he reaches the tail-end of his career will lend this union to paying even more dividends for his longevity.

Kyle Lowry doesn’t need much more to solidify what was already a wonderful career, but these final few years of competing in the playoffs will go a long way for those who still aren’t sure of his historical status. Not everyone has appreciated him the way Toronto fans or hardcore fans of the NBA have. The man has a Championship run under his belt — he doesn’t need to validate himself to casual fans. But these will more than likely be the last memories he’ll be making for a team that wants to win right now. A Miami team asking him to help lead them to another deep playoff run while guiding their up-and-coming star in Bam Adebayo. He’ll be easing the games of Jimmy Butler, Duncan Robinson, and Tyler Herro while they ease the burden of him having to do too much.

Both Toronto and Lowry knew that their timelines were diverging and that it was time to go their separate ways. The split won’t take away all those memories he made or the legacy he helped build throughout his tenure. He knew it was time to take on a new challenge in his career. The time was right for him to say goodbye and venture to this new challenge of his career. He’ll take on this challenge the only way Kyle Lowry knows, and that’s to go in 100 miles per hour while in controlled chaos mode. He’ll forever be known as the quintessential Toronto Raptor. The heartbreak and triumph that followed are etched forever on the minds of every Raptors fan. Those films will play in the back of their minds, with Lowry playing the lead in every one of them, holding everything together throughout the years.

Lowry has always been the glue that holds a team together. He’s played the role and perfected it in a way few point guards achieve. The role isn’t anything new for the 6-time All-Star, but now it’s a whole new movie. Lowry isn’t the leading man anymore, but the supporting actor that gets Oscar-buzz after a resounding return to the big screen. Heat fans are lucky to get front-row seats to whatever his final act has in store.


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Wherever he goes next, Goran Dragic should eventually reside in rafters

Pat Riley has a habit of honoring the difference makers.  So much that he even graced Michael Jordan by retiring #23.  A player who — wore a different set of black, red and white while crushing the Heat on more than one occasion.


There was also the time the Heat hung Dan Marino’s #13 up in the rafters, even though his armor was cloaked in aqua and white, and his arena was a football field.  


The others Riley glorified are the pillars of the organization.  Alonzo Mourning, Tim Hardaway, Shaquille O’Neal, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade.  Additionally, there are three names also deserving, but nothing can be done for them yet because they are active players.  LeBron James is the “king of both coasts.”  Udonis Haslem is still barking invaluable instructions from the Heat bench.  Finally, Goran Dragić is a member of the Toronto Raptors. 


As far as Dragić and James, the Heat could never say anything publicly now due to the tampering headache that would hypothetically arise if they mentioned any plan to celebrate these two.  It’s inevitable that James gets his commemoration sometime when he’s retired, but the Dragon’s tale should always be remembered like myths carved in stone.  


The Dragon represented the Heat in the All-Star Game in 2018, and maintained that level of play whenever he was not burdened by injuries.  Dragić showed the ultimate allegiance to his former club.  His role shifted from being a captain and go-to scorer into the team’s sixth man and back again as a starter in the bubble.


Dragić has said the lineup change wasn’t easy when Coach Spoelstra suggested playing behind undrafted rookie Kendrick Nunn, but he handled it gracefully while excelling in his new mantle. Dragić possessed the emotional intelligence to allow Spo to tinker with the lineup during the 2020 regular season to maximize the group’s chances of winning later, and that’s a significant reason why the Heatles buried their eastern opponents. 


For three rounds in the bubble, Dragić was merciless on drives to the hole and shooting from the perimeter.  Miami’s lucky #7 was the squad’s leading scorer in the sweep over Indiana and in the eastern conference finals against Boston. 




In Game 1 of the championship round, misfortune struck as Dragić tore the plantar fascia in his left foot, which sidelined him the next four games.  The lasting image of Dragić sobbing on the bench after his failed pregame warmup before Game 4 is ineradicable from memory.  He shouldn’t have tried to practice, but love for the game can cloud even the clearest minds.


The wounded Dragon made his courageous, albeit foolish, return to the court in Game 6, but the Heat got beat, and the Lakers were crowned champions.  


Dragić’s final year in Miami was the 2021 campaign in which the Heat never found their edge, amid a plague of injuries and size concerns.  The season ended in a sweep at the hands of a team (Bucks) who got pantsed by Miami in the bubble.


This summer, the Heat successfully pursued their latest white whale, Kyle Lowry. Yet, the indifferent Riley had to ship away Dragić and Precious Achiuwa to Toronto in a sign-n-trade to make the salaries work for both teams.


With less than three weeks until the start of training camp (Sept. 28), Lowry, who previously wore #7 in Toronto, still has not announced his jersey # for the Heat.  Considering the quality of player Dragić was during his time in Miami, and how he sacrificed his body for the club, it would be uncharacteristically tasteless for the Heat to give their new lead guard the same jersey # as their beloved Dragon.


One day #7 should hang in the rafters, but the back of the shirt should read Dragić, written in black.



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Chris Bosh: The Struggle and Power of Closing a Chapter

With the Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony this Saturday, Chris Bosh will finally be closing a chapter of his basketball career he wasn’t expecting to write this early.

Letting go of a part of your life and walking towards the unknown of whatever is next can be terrifying. Whatever is next can be both exciting and nerve-racking. The scariest part of it all is knowing something is ending. For Chris Bosh, it was more frightening and even more unknown than he could have ever imagined.

For many basketball players of Bosh’s caliber, ending their playing careers is almost always on their terms. They realize when the game has passed them by or when their bodies have had enough. But that’s where we come to understand that life is as cruel as it is beautiful. Chris Bosh’s career didn’t end on the floor after his team’s final regular season or playoff game. It didn’t even get a tearful goodbye speech in front of the press. Bosh’s playing career ended inside a doctor’s office without a fan or media member to be found.

This couldn’t be how the career of someone who had become so beloved in South Florida would end. Someone who, by all accounts, was one of the most likable players anyone had the pleasure of interacting with. It didn’t make any sense to basketball fans, people who rooted for him, and to Chis himself. It had felt like a gut punch to the basketball universe that we’d no longer get to witness the joy and unbridled enthusiasm Bosh played with every night. He was only getting started writing in the final quarter of his career, and before anyone knew it, there was no more ink left.

At first, Chris kept trying and trying to come back to the game, thinking he could still get through this. Rumors kept swirling about a possible return to a team here and there. But the risk was way too high for a man who had a growing family that loved him, wanting to see something much more than a career be extended. Bosh had given so much to the game of basketball and, without warning, was taken away in an instant. Snatched away while still being on the verge of even more greatness ahead. More time to build an even more impressive career resume was gone in the blink of an eye.

I could only imagine the frustration felt by Bosh knowing the game was finally getting to where he would have been playing well into his late 30s. He was literally an All-Star the first time he had a sign of anything troubling. Everyone knew Chris still had so much left in the tank, and he knew it too. Why do people think he kept trying to come back and play? He knew he had so much more to give and more to build with the Miami Heat. He saw that All-Star caliber Point Guard in Goran Dragic Miami had just acquired and wanted to play alongside him. The dreams of pick-and-pops that Dragic had so much success with Channing Frye in Phoenix were dancing in everyone’s minds. But that’s all they would be; just dreams. Hopes dashed overnight so casually cruel.

Nothing about the entire end of Chris Bosh’s career felt fair to anyone. But then again, any kind of abrupt ending rarely is. This didn’t make it any less gut-punching for everyone involved. It’s now been 5 years and 7 months since Chris last played in a professional basketball game. He’s seen his old team go through several changes with a variety of different players, some of which Bosh had played with not too long ago. We saw Chris get his jersey lifted on the rafters of what is now known as FTX Arena between that time. He gave a wonderful speech that was appropriately ended with a patented “Bosh Roar.” He knew that the circumstances that led to the end weren’t up to him, but he’s making sure the final few speeches he’s giving about his playing time are memorable.

These moments were the ones Chris Bosh dreamed of happening once he left the game; they were just happening a lot earlier than he had hoped. But Chris was no longer thinking about what could have been. He had moved on to saying goodbye, even if it wasn’t on his terms. But how often do our goodbyes actually come at “the right time?” It’s about what we do in those closing moments that matter. And a guy as smart and thoughtful as Chris Bosh is always going to make sure they matter. Sulking and standing in the corner isn’t going to do anything. Moving forward with a head held high is the only way Chris knows.

When you see him up on that podium accepting his Hall of Fame enshrinement, it’ll be the closing of a chapter but not the end of his story. The man will be producing music, helping kids achieve goals, mastering a new instrument, teaching code, or simply being the best dad he can be. Basketball was a beautiful part of Bosh’s life that I, and so many others, were lucky to witness. I know he’s going to give a speech that is suited for such a great career. The ending may have been unexpected, but he’s making the most of what is now the coronation. The flowers that he deserved to get when he was playing are rightfully being given now. The importance he played in the league’s growth and the Miami Heat franchise is getting the shine it deserved for so long.

So while his career may have ended when a doctor broke the news 5 years ago, he’s just now writing the final pages of his basketball chapter. We’ll see a close to it this Saturday, and we’ll shed a few tears looking back at all of it. We’ll finally get the closure Miami Heat fans, basketball enthusiasts in general, and Chris himself never got to have. Chris said at his Hall of Fame press conference, “even though losing the game was tough, this definitely gives me closure.” That closure will be on Chris Bosh’s words as he rightfully takes his place amongst the greatest to ever play. We can’t always expect the ends to parts of our story, but Chris has shown that the way you tell those endings means more. Never with your head looking down, but with it looking back fondly and looking forward with optimism.


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It’s Bam Adebayo’s Time to Be the Face of the Franchise

For the 2021-22 season, Miami should focus their attention on passing the torch to the face of the franchise.

We often find ourselves looking around for something that was in front of us the whole time. Sometimes it’s finding the special someone you had only seen as just a friend. That sudden realization can act as a catalyst for a better life than the one you were clawing your way through. The hardest part is arriving at that “aha” moment sooner rather than later. For the Miami Heat this upcoming season, it’s time to look at the star-in-the-making they have in front of them and turn the keys completely over to Bam Adebayo.

In the past handful of seasons, the fans and the team have been privileged to watch their late lottery pick improve in numerous ways to the player he is now. Bam has gone from a rim running big with some impressive defense into an All-Star big man perfect for the modern NBA. But those seasons have been as either the passenger of a team belonging to a Dwyane Wade in his twilight or to Jimmy Butler. Bam Adebayo has never truly felt like the team was his to take. Who would blame him? Wade, a literal Heat legend, was in his final days with Miami, and Adebayo was a young raw center still finding his way. Jimmy Butler was the max acquisition looking to take the team back to the NBA Finals.

That’s not really Bam or the team’s fault, seeing as no one expected the jump a late lottery pick made in the past few seasons. We really do forget that Bam was playing as a backup for his entire first 2 seasons and had a limited role that barely showcased his inevitable talents. This is another problem I have with Heat fans who forget just how far the guy has come from his rookie season when he was as raw as prospects can be.

Not only was Bam playing as their support but dealing with the constant talk of another possible superstar joining the Heat. It was constant talk of Giannis Antetokounmpo’s then-impending Free Agency or the James Harden rumors last season. That can give off the idea to some players that they aren’t enough for winning a title, especially when you helped lead them to the Finals just a season ago. I’m not saying this got to Bam, but I can see why this would help affirm his passenger status.

But now the rumors are done with, and Miami is no longer looking for the next whale. They signed Adebayo to his max deal last offseason and have surrounded him and Jimmy Butler with win-now guys. No longer are they thinking about the “pipe dream” player who might not arrive. They started to look at the unicorn in front of them. One of the few players in the league who can do what he does on a nightly basis. The same player who was able to hold Giannis Antetokounmpo to 4-15 shooting in the first round while the rest of his playoff opponents scrambled to keep the Finals MVP in check. The Heat are on their way to make him the face and force of the franchise.

For players like Bam Adebayo, who may have a tougher time with that final push of being “number one,” it’s important to give him as much of the wheel as possible. Adebayo is more wired the same way a guy like Chris Bosh was, where he was more than willing to play support for the team’s betterment. Recently in a wonderful piece by Michael C. Wright, it was revealed that Bosh had this type of mentality dating back to when he wasn’t even considered the number one guy in High School.




It took Bosh a while to realize what he could do once he did have to lead a team himself. Bosh even recently talked with the Miami Herald about what advice he’d give the young All-Star big man. “Shoot it. That’s it. Shoot it. That’s all he needs to do is shoot it, I’m telling you. I did it for 13 years in the league, man, and it never steered me wrong.” He’d go on to say, “it’s wonderful that he’s a team player. But for him to get to where he wants to go, he’s going to have to shoot the ball.” Coming from a player like Chris Bosh, who knows a thing or two about alternating from sacrificing for the good of the team and knowing when to become the head of the household.

I’m sure this isn’t anything Bam Adebayo hasn’t heard before or won’t hear again. And it’s not as simple as taking more jumpers will improve his game and the team’s chances overnight. It’s way more complicated than that. Heat fans need to realize it wasn’t that long ago when Adebayo wasn’t taking any shot outside the paint. He went from that shot being a non-factor into shooting the same % on similar attempts from midrange as guys like Jayson Tatum. As a collective fanbase, we have not put into proper perspective the improvements he’s made since he entered the league.

Every summer, Bam has come back with something else in his arsenal that, for some reason, we fail to recognize with proper appreciation. Adebayo has constantly shown that he’s more than capable of adding weapons and new tools to his belt. Players with the type of mentality and skill to get better year after year the way he has should not be taken for granted.

Now another offseason will shortly come to an end, and we’ll have the next phase of Bam Adebayo to look forward to. This chapter should be even more fun to see because it will undoubtedly be Bam Adebayo’s time to shine. I think he’ll finally have that sense of being the conductor leading the train. Bam has always been compared to Kevin Garnett for a bit, and you can see why when you look at the numbers. Their season-by-season numbers look virtually identical from seasons 3 and 4. The difference is that Kevin Garnett had room to spread his wings and was an undoubted face of a franchise from day one.

Now it’s Bam Adebayo’s time to get that proper label of Face of the Franchise. Kyle Lowry will be there to push him further along on that trajectory everyone knows he’s destined for. Jimmy Butler won’t be far behind as he’s constantly referred to Bam as their most important player. Lowry and Adebayo’s two-man game will develop as their Dribble Handoffs flow smoothly into pick and rolls. The vertical threat of Bam, along with Kyle’s pull-up 3 pointer game, will be a treat to the eyes like a summer sunset. All of this will have Bam in so many more positions to succeed than ever before. The effect this will have for Bam cannot be understated. People can talk about Adebayo needing to be more aggressive, but the system has to play to his strengths to transition into this next phase of his career.

So while taking more shots is something I’ll also be keeping an eye on, don’t forget what type of shots they’ll be and how much easier they’ll come for him. The jumper will be there, and he might even stretch it further out to the 3 point line for all we know. Why would that surprise anyone if he did that? Did everyone expect him to come back from the 2020 season pause with a midrange jumper for the Bubble Playoffs? The guy never stops improving, and who’s to say that he won’t be pulling up from the top of the key soon.

Everything is lining up for the beginning of Bam’s true ascension. The Heat looks as if they realize that it’s time. And maybe I’m just naive in thinking this; if so, the organization needs to wake up and smell the roses. This is your new Dwayne Wade. Stop having Dwayne Wade jerseys on the front page over Bam Adebayo ones. Tyler Herro isn’t the young Kentucky late lottery pick to push on everyone. Please don’t wait until the final 2 weeks of the season to push for his Defensive Player of the Year candidacy (especially this year when I think he has a shot of leading a top 3 defense to where this will be a real possibility). Bam Adebayo is your franchise — let everyone, including Bam, know. When you instill the power to someone on his upward trajectory like Bam Adebayo, it’s only a matter of time before you reap the rewards.

The star you were waiting to add to the roster the past 2 seasons is right in front of you, ready to take his next step. The heir to the Dwayne Wade throne is ready for his crown. Everyone is ready for the next page of this team’s story to be led by Bam. Hand over the keys to your franchise and watch him drive you into the future full throttle. Bam’s ready, and we’re all ready to witness it.


Everything Tradeshows is a one-stop-shop for trade show exhibit rentals and custom exhibit display purchase solutions to companies of all sizes.

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Ranking every Miami Heat season under Pat Riley, worst to best

Only a few weeks away from the 27th season since Pat Riley joined the Heat in 1995, I’ve created a list ranking all twenty-six seasons during his tenure.  Rather than just purely looking at total wins, or playoff finishes, I have tried to compare the rosters and rank the teams in comparison to how they would fare if they faced each other.  Unfortunately for Heat fans, health and injury issues still count in these rankings, so those teams will once again be cut short of their potential.  


  1. 2007-2008

Record:  15-67

This season was so disastrous, it caused Pat Riley to retire (again).  Dwyane Wade missed the last third of the season with a knee injury and Alonzo Mourning suffered a career-ending knee injury.  The 2006 championship roster quickly transitioned to significant roles for Ricky Davis, Mark Blount, Daequan Cook, and others who had quick stops in the league.  


  1. 2002-2003

Record:  25-57

With Mourning still dealing with his kidney ailment, and leading scorer Eddie Jones missing the 2nd half of the season, the Heat stumbled to the worst record in the division.  The only bright spots were Caron Butler’s All-Rookie season and the product of this struggle led to the 5th pick in the 2003 Draft which changed the course of the franchise forever.  


  1. 2018-2019

Record:  39-43

In Dwyane’s “One Last Dance”, the Heat narrowly missed the playoffs in the final week of the season.  This year also marked a transition to young players like Josh Richardson, Justise Winslow, and Bam Adebayo moving into significant roles.  Richardson led the team in minutes, steals, and points and was the piece moved to land Jimmy Butler that summer.  


  1. 2001-2002

Record:  36-46

With Mourning’s inspiring return to the court, the Heat finally got to see the vision of Zo, Brian Grant, and Eddie Jones together.  However, the additions of veterans like Chris Gatling, Rod Strickland, LaPhonso Ellis, Kendall Gill, and Jimmy Jackson were not enough support.  The Heat stumbled out of the gates, and never recovered en route to Pat Riley’s first season missing the playoffs during his legendary coaching career.


  1. 2006-2007

Record:  44-38 (Division Champs, Lost in 1st Round)

After winning the first championship in franchise history, the “championship hangover” lasted all the way until a 1st round sweep to the Bulls.  With injuries to Shaq and Wade, Pat Riley missing time, and a stale roster that “ran it back” to an embarrassing failure.


  1. 2014-2015

Record:  37-45

Losing LeBron James would push most teams into tanking, but the Miami Heat remained competitive.  And after the trade deadline acquisition of Goran Dragic, the Heat looked to be elevating itself in the Eastern Conference race.  Unfortunately shortly after the trade, it was discovered that Chris Bosh would be sidelined with blood clots and their playoff aspirations vanished.  


  1. 2017-2018

Record:  44-38 (Lost in 1st Round)

In a season highlighted by the re-acquisition of Dwyane Wade at the trade deadline, the Heat fought its way to a division championship before a disappointing 1st round loss to the Sixers in 5 games.  After an exciting 16-17 run, the Heat questionably “ran it back” re-signing Dion Waiters, James Johnson, and adding Kelly Olynyk to a team that seemed stuck in mediocrity.  


  1. 2009-2010

Record:  47-35 (Lost in 1st Round)

Without prime Wade carrying the load, this roster may be one of the worst in Heat history.  A supporting cast of Jermaine O’Neal, Michael Beasley, Quentin Richardson (acquired mid-season), Mario Chalmers, and Carlos Arroyo was enough to make the playoffs, but the season quickly ended at the hands of the Celtics in the 1st round.  The disappointment of another season wasted in Wade’s prime would soon lead to more promising times.


  1. 2008-2009

Record:  43-39 (Lost in 1st Round)

The Heat rebounded from one of their worst seasons in franchise history under new head coach Erik Spoelstra, who had a healthy Dwyane Wade at his peak, scoring a career-high 30.2 points per game.  Along with Wade and Jermaine O’Neal, the Heat added two youngsters to the rotation – 2nd overall pick Michael Beasley, and a 2nd round point guard Mario Chalmers who quickly became the starting point guard.  While greatly improved, the Heat lost in the 1st round to the Atlanta Hawks in seven games.  


  1. 2016-2017

Record:  41-41

With Dwyane leaving for Chicago, the Heat were now “Big 3-less” and started the season 11-30.  Heading for one of the worst seasons in franchise history, the Heat flipped the script and finished 30-11 but lost a tie-breaker to qualify for the playoffs.  Following his max contract, Hassan Whiteside led the NBA in rebounding.  Goran Dragic starred a balanced attack with eight players averaging double digit points for the season.  


  1. 2000-2001

Record:  50-32 (Lost in 1st Round)

The Heat looked poised to improve on a 50-win season after acquiring Eddie Jones and Brian Grant to pair with Tim Hardaway, Alonzo Mourning, and a strong supporting cast.  But after returning from the Olympics, it was discovered that Mourning had a kidney disorder that would cause him to miss the entire season.  As part of the Eddie Jones trade, Anthony Mason had a surprising All-Star season for the Heat.  But the season ended in 1st round disappointment, swept by the recently traded Jamal Mashburn and the Charlotte Hornets.


  1. 1995-1996

Record:  42-40 (Lost in 1st Round)

In his first season in Miami, Riley made immediate changes.  The Heat acquired Alonzo Mourning on the first day of the regular season, and later traded to land Tim Hardaway, Chris Gatling, and Walt Williams.  The mid-season addition of Voshon Lenard from the CBA also proved to be crucial.  Mourning became the Heat’s first all-star during this season.  Although they ultimately fell to the 72-10 Bulls in the 1st round, the Heat were able to defeat the Bulls with just 8 players in February.  


  1. 2020-2021

Record:  40-32 (Lost in 1st Round)

A season marked league-wide by COVID restrictions and empty arenas, the Heat were unable to shake off injuries and inconsistencies after their exciting run to the NBA Finals in the Orlando bubble.  Their late season run avoided the “play-in games” but drew a 1st round matchup with eventual champion Milwaukee that ended in four games.


  1. 2003-2004

Record:  42-40 (Lost in 2nd Round)

This season marked the second chapter of the Riley era.  After handing the head coaching role to Stan Van Gundy, the team moved forward with rookie Dwyane Wade and undrafted Udonis Haslem, a newly acquired Lamar Odom, and what remained of the early 2000s Heat.  After an 0-7 start, the Heat managed to finish strong and land the 4th seed.  Wade began to establish himself as an emerging superstar in clutch moments, defeating the New Orleans Hornets in seven games, before being eliminated in six competitive games to the Indiana Pacers.  


  1. 2015-2016

Record:  48-34 (Division Champs, Lost in 2nd Round)

The Heat returned to the playoffs only one season removed from losing LeBron James, winning their division and finishing 3rd in the East.  Sparked by rookies Justise Winslow and Josh Richardson, as well as the rise of Hassan Whiteside.  The youngsters complimented Wade, Goran, and an all-star return of Chris Bosh.  Unfortunately for the Heat, following the All-Star Game Bosh was sidelined again due to the blood clots which would eventually end his career.  Wade led the Heat past the Hornets in seven games in the 1st round, before falling short to the Raptors in seven games in the 2nd round.


  1. 1997-1998

Record:  55-27 (Division Champs, Lost in 1st Round)

Overcoming significant injuries to Mourning and Mashburn, the Heat finished 2nd in the East led by another strong season by Hardaway.  For the second straight postseason, the Heat found themselves matched up against the Knicks.  Late in game four, with a 2-1 lead, Alonzo Mourning fought former teammate Larry Johnson.  The Heat would lose that game, as well as game five without a suspended Zo.  


  1. 2004-2005

Record:  59-23 (Division Champs, Lost in East Finals)

The Heat immediately became a title contender after acquiring Shaquille O’Neal from the Lakers in July.  Dwyane Wade joined his new teammate making his 1st all-star game.  The Heat finished 1st in the East, swept through the first two rounds of the playoffs, but with a hobbled Wade the Heat fell short in the Eastern Conference Finals, losing to the defending champion Pistons in seven games.


  1. 1999-2000

Record:  52-30 (Division Champs, Lost in 2nd Round)

Led by another All-Star and Defensive Player of the Year season by Alonzo Mourning, the Heat finished 2nd in the East.  Jamal Mashburn elevated his play and was 2nd to Zo on the team in scoring.  The Heat dealt with injuries to Hardaway and Lenard, but Anthony Carter and Bruce Bowen stepped into their roles admirably.  After sweeping the Pistons, the Heat found themselves up against the Knicks for the fourth straight playoffs.  After leading 3-2, the Heat lost the final two games of the series – including the unforgettable decision for Mashburn to pass the critical shot to Clarence Weatherspoon.  


  1. 2010-2011

Record:  58-24 (Division Champs, Lost in Finals)

After adding superstars LeBron James and Chris Bosh to Dwyane Wade, the Heat’s expectations were never higher.  They finished with the 3rd best record in team history, but were 2nd in the East behind Chicago.  The Heat “gentleman sweeped” themselves through the Eastern Conference playoffs, before facing the Mavericks in the Finals.  The Heat won game one, led the series 2-1, but eventually lost the final three games of the series.  The failure is usually remembered by the criticism of LeBron James, who averaged 8.9 less points per game in the series and only averaged three points in the series fourth quarters.  


  1. 1998-1999

Record:  33-17 (Division Champs, Lost in 1st Round)

The Heat entered the playoffs as the East’s 1st seed in a lockout-shortened season.  Alonzo Mourning had his best season in a Heat uniform, finishing 2nd in MVP voting and winning Defensive Player of the Year.  Tim Hardaway also was selected to the All-NBA 2nd team.  But in the playoffs, facing the Knicks for the third consecutive season, the Heat lost on a disgusting Allan Houston buzzer-beater in a winner-take-all Game 5.  The Heat became the 2nd #1 seed in NBA history to lose in the 1st round and the Knicks’ run as the 8 seed went all the way to the NBA Finals.  


  1. 1996-1997

Record:  61-21 (Division Champs, Lost in East Finals)

Building on his successful first season in Miami, Riley added Dan Majerle, PJ Brown, Ike Austin, and Jamal Mashburn (mid-season) to a talented Heat team.  Hardaway had a career year, joining Mourning on the all-star team and finishing 4th in MVP voting.  They finished 2nd in the East with a team best 61 wins and won their first playoff series in franchise history.  After series wins against the Magic and Knicks, the Heat ran into the Bulls on their way to back-to-back championships.  


  1. 2019-2020

Record:  44-29 (Division Champs, Lost in Finals)

After acquiring Jimmy Butler in the offseason, and with the emergence of all-star Bam Adebayo, Duncan Robinson, Tyler Herro, and Kendrick Nunn, the Heat quickly became an unexpected contender in the Eastern Conference.  When the season resumed in the Orlando bubble, Heat culture went on a magical run led by Goran Dragic and Jimmy Butler – sweeping the Pacers, knocking out the MVP and 1st seed Bucks in five games, and winning the Eastern Conference by defeating the Celtics in six games.  While they extended the series to six games, the Heat struggled to overcome injuries to Goran Dragic and Bam Adebayo in a Finals loss to the Lakers.  


  1. 2005-2006

Record:  52-30 (Division Champs, NBA Champs)

After falling short of a championship the year prior, the Heat engineered a multi-team trade to acquire Antoine Walker, James Posey, and Jason Williams, while adding veteran Gary Payton to the roster.  Led again by Wade and Shaq, the Heat entered the playoffs as the East’s 2nd seed.  After defeating the Bulls and Nets, the Heat were able to overcome the Pistons in a rematch of the previous Eastern Conference Finals.  In their first NBA Finals, the Heat found themselves down 0-2 to the Mavericks.  Taking advantage of the NBA’s 2-3-2 format, the Heat won the next 3 games in Miami and won their first championship by taking Game 6 in Dallas.  Dwyane Wade provided a legendary performance in the Finals, averaging 34.7 point, 7.8 rebounds, 3.8 assists, and 2.7 steals in the series on way to the Finals MVP.



  1. 2013-2014

Record:  54-28 (Division Champs, Lost in Finals)

After winning back-to-back championships, the Heat looked to 3-peat in the 4th season of the “Big 3”.  Entering the playoffs as the East’s 2nd seed, the Heat defeated the Bobcats, Nets, and Pacers on their way to a Finals rematch with the San Antonio Spurs.  In what proved to be the end of the “Big 3” era, the Spurs dominated the Heat from start to finish, winning the championship in five games.  


  1. 2011-2012

Record:  46-20 (Division Champs, NBA Champs)

After a disappointing finish to the previous year, and a lockout stalling the beginning of this season, the Heat finished 2nd in the East.  Once again, Bosh, Wade, and James were all-stars and moved swiftly through the first two rounds of the playoffs, beating the Knicks and Pacers.  Once again facing a disappointing exit from the playoffs, LeBron James turned in one of his most legendary playoff performances (45-15-5) in a game six Heat win in Boston.  After losing the 1st game of the NBA Finals, the Heat swept the next four games to defeat the Thunder and win their 2nd championship in franchise history.


  1. 2012-2013

Record:  66-16 (Division Champs, NBA Champs)

After winning its first “Big 3” championship, the Heat added Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis to the roster.  Finishing 1st in the East propelled by a 27-game winning streak that is 2nd best in NBA history, all-star seasons by Wade, LeBron, and Bosh, and LeBron’s fourth MVP season (one vote from unanimous).  The Heat made quick work of the Bucks and Bulls in the playoffs, before a difficult seven game series with the Pacers.  In the NBA Finals, the Heat faced the Spurs and found themselves training 3-2 returning to Miami.  With the yellow ropes surrounding the court and a Spurs championship imminent, Bosh rebounded a LeBron miss, found Allen in the corner for a game-tying 3 pointer to force overtime.  The Heat would win that overtime sealed by a Bosh block on Danny Green, and eventually prevailed in Game 7 to win their 2nd consecutive championship.


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Dame Lillard needs Blazers to go for Broke

Before the Olympics began, reports of Damian Lillard’s displeasure with the Portland Trail Blazers erupted.  According to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, Lillard’s worries about the organization being a genuine championship contender could push him “out the door.”  


Ahead of leaving for Tokyo with Team USA, Lillard denied requesting a trade, but in the same statement, contradicted himself with a stunning admission, “I haven’t made any firm decision on what my future will be.” 


Two summers ago, Dame Time signed a super-max extension to keep him in Portland until the end of the 2024/2025 season and pay him over $48 million in the last year.  The ink isn’t dry on his deal, yet it seems that his affections for the only pro team he’s ever known are dwindling.  How else can someone with four years remaining on their contract, while making extraordinary sums of money, claim their mind isn’t made up?  


The answer to that question is painfully obvious.  Lillard has no other leverage in forcing the team’s hand to improve than to give the impression he’ll look to bounce if he is suspicious that they are too comfortable.  He’s a sharp dude.


I’m not sure if this is what the  Big O (Oscar Robertson) envisioned when the Players Union settled with the league in the Robertson Suit in 1976, which as Sam Smith brilliantly explains in his book Hard Labor, created the NBA as we know it.  As of now, it appears that Lillard is grabbing the Trail Blazers by the balls, and he should continue to squeeze.


The list of players that could get away with “indecisiveness” when already contractually committed and not have their rep suffer too much is not long.  Recently, the Oakland native said, “I know what the truth is. I know where I stand. It’s not my duty to make the public know … it’s not my job to make them aware of what that is.”




Lillard’s frustration with Portland is understandable, but unfortunately, the fans were caught in the crossfire.  The front office’s master plan this offseason resulted in signing Ben Mclemore, Cody Zeller and Tony Snell as free agents for the bench.  Then on Aug. 27, as part of a three-team deal with Chicago and Cleveland, the Blazers swapped Derrick Jones Jr. and a protected first-round pick to the Bulls.  Lauri Markkanen, originally a Bull, found a new home in Cleveland, and the Blazers got Larry Nance Jr., per the Athletic.


With respect to the new members of the Portland outfit, the front office’s performance thus far in the offseason is underwhelming, which probably doesn’t delight Lillard.  The Trail Blazers, much like the 76ers, appear to have plateaued and cannot improve without making drastic alterations to the lineup. 


It would behoove the team’s managers to feverishly search for a suitable trade partner, but I’ll suggest one: the Philadelphia 76ers.  Both teams could get salaries to match in trading Ben Simmons to Portland in exchange for Mr. President of the Players Union CJ McCollum and Anfernee Simons, sent to Philly.


In this proposed scenario, no team loses as each club eliminates a problem.  The 76ers can’t continue to utilize Simmons as the primary ball-handler because he is reluctant to shoot when left open, despite his game-changing ability on the defensive side of the court.  McCollum, in his place, gives Philly more variety attacking, and his defender won’t sag off and clog the lane for the other 76ers on the court.


 The Trail Blazers, over the past five seasons, have only had a top 15 defensive rating once (6), and that was in 2018.  The past two years, Portland was 29th in that category in 2021 and 27th in 2020.  Hypothetically, Simmons in black and red instantly improves the squad’s defensive ceiling due to his skills operating in multiple coverages.


Any suggestion that could boost the Blazer’s chances of winning needs to be explored by the top brass immediately. Dame Time is the best player to walk through Portland’s doors since Bill Walton and Clyde Drexler.  The team is not good enough, and Lillard needs the execs to reach for the stars.  


As usual, there’s little love for the Miami Heat

Shortly after the release of next year’s NBA calendar, the wise guys at Caesars Sportsbook revealed their win totals for the 2021/2022 regular season, enticing degenerate gamblers and casual risk-takers alike to plunge into the muddied waters of sports betting.    


Upon review of Caesars’ predictions, it seems that these renowned fortune tellers have underestimated the Miami Heat.  The sportsbook slots the Heat winning 47.5 games out of 82, which gives Miami a winning percentage of .580.  Last year’s Heatles finished the regular season with 40 wins out of 72 (Covid, shortened season) and in sixth place in the east, with a .560 winning percentage.


Statistically, that is marginal improvement, although there are three teams ahead of the Heat in the east, according to the over/under.  The Milwaukee Bucks – the champs, and they bludgeoned Miami to get there, is appropriate.  The Brooklyn Nets – despite their star-studded triumvirate suiting up for 13 games, regular season and Playoffs included, is fair because of the talent advantage they have over most teams.  Yet too much respect is given to the Philadelphia 76ers as a top three squad in the east.  


It has not eluded my memory that Philadelphia was first in the conference during 2020/2021.  Every year they are touted as contenders when the reality is they are spoilers.  However, what should hold the most weight in the minds of invested spectators and depraved bettors is the health of Embiid.  When in peak-form, there are few in Embiid’s stratosphere on the court, yet those moments do not last an entire season.  Keep in mind that Philly’s center elected to rehab his torn right meniscus instead of getting surgery this offseason, per ESPN. 


Time will tell if Embiid made the right decision based on his ability to stay on the hardwood, and fingers crossed that he did.  Nonetheless, the Heat’s improvements did not generate enough regard, and they shouldn’t be four wins behind the habitual underachievers.    


The Heat’s semi-makeover this offseason brought back some familiar faces and filled leaking holes the team had at the point and the power forward position.  One of the first orders of business was retaining deadeye Duncan Robinson, keeping Dewayne Dedmon, the team’s best offensive rebounder, re-signing Victor Oladipo while he recovers from his quadricep injury and committing to Max Strus, a promising understudy.  


Then there are the new faces.  Kyle Lowry, even at 35 years old, is an All-Star caliber orchestrator and a champion. PJ Tucker is a versatile defender at 36 and one of the NBA’s premier threats from the corners.  No player has hit more corner triples than Tucker in the last five years, as Kirk Goldsberry of ESPN pointed out in March about the champion.  Next is Markieff Morris, another winner and multiskilled scorer for the reserves, most likely.  


Two of those three additions for the Heat will find themselves in the starting lineup.  Most probably Lowry and Tucker, and they would immediately improve Miami’s potency on the defensive end.  It’s difficult for opposing ball-handlers to lose Lowry without a screen on the perimeter, which eliminates the threat of a breakdown and slasher going downhill. Also, Lowry is very effective at playing safety close to the baseline, cutting off rim-runners by stepping in front of them for a charge.  


Unless Tucker is guarding with the league’s unicorns, it’s a challenge for anyone to muscle their way past him at the elbow or in the low post.  His swift hands and lateral quickness allow the possibility to use #17 in multiple defensive coverages.  


The Heat’s latest acquisitions are one of the keys to getting back to what they were during their time in the bubble.  Lowry, Tucker and Morris in the lineup should alleviate much of the pressure burdened on Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler’s shoulders during this past season.  It’s possible that last year, with the health of Miami’s favorite Dragon betraying him (Goran Dragic), that Adebayo and Butler had too much on their plate as the team’s most dependable scorers, distributors and defenders.


I can’t speak for others, but I’m taking the over on the Heat and expect them to finish as a 50+ win team.




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Miami Heat Player Development: Fact or Fiction?

Like the term “Heat Culture”, the Heat’s player development program is something used to justify decisions that the Miami front office has made since Pat Riley arrived in September of 1995. But is it actually as impactful as some may believe? 

As we weigh the prospects of players like Gabe Vincent, Max Strus, and Ömer Yurtseven being part of the rotation, should the Heat player development program be trusted? 

What does “player development” even mean? For this article, I am defining player development as a staff improving a player to a point they can contribute positively at the NBA level that was not evident prior to joining the team. To be fair, I will be filtering out certain types of players to avoid giving the Heat too much credit. 

First, there will not be any top ten draft picks on the list since their evaluated talent was already at a high level prior to coming to Miami. This eliminates some players such as Dwyane Wade, Caron Butler, Alonzo Mourning, Lamar Odom, and Justise Winslow. 

Second, there will not be any players who did not enter the Heat organization in their first four seasons in the league. This eliminates some players such as Chris Gatling, Damon Jones, James Jones, “Birdman” Andersen, James Johnson, Dion Waiters, Kelly Olynyk, and Wayne Ellington. 

Third, there will not be any players who had previously shown high level talent prior to coming to Miami. While I think Miami’s player development has “sharpened” the skills of great players, this eliminates some players such as LeBron James, Chris Bosh, Jimmy Butler, and Goran Dragic. 

And finally, any players without sustained success (minimum of five seasons in the league) will not be included. This eliminates some players such as Sasha Danilovic, Willie Reed, among many others who flashed talent in Miami but fizzled out of the league quickly.

Point Guards 

More so than any other position, the Miami Heat have been able to develop point guards at an extremely successful rate. The first of many examples was Anthony Carter (1999-2003). An undrafted player out of Hawaii, Carter went to the CBA before joining the Heat in 1999. Playing in place of an injured Tim Hardaway, he nearly averaged a double-double in the opening round sweep of the Pistons and later hit a memorable baseline floater to beat the Knicks in game 3 of the 2nd round series. Carter went on to a 13 year NBA career and currently is part of the Heat coaching staff. 

What would the “Big 3” have been without Rio? Drafted in the 2nd round in 2008, Mario Chalmers (2008-2016) immediately won the starting point guard job in Miami and eventually won two championships. The 34th pick spent eight of his ten seasons in Miami, starting 383 games and has 4th most assists in Heat history. 

The most recent example is Kendrick Nunn (2019-2021), who the Heat signed from the G-League after going undrafted out of college. Similar to Chalmers, Kendrick immediately took the starting point guard position in Miami. He started 67 games and was 2nd to Ja Morant in Rookie of the Year voting on a Heat team that went all the way to the NBA Finals. In his two seasons in Miami, Kendrick averaged 15 ppg on 48.5% shooting. 

The Heat have also developed reserve point guards at an exceptional rate. Eddie House (2000-2003), Mike James (2001-2003), Chris Quinn (2006-2009), Norris Cole (2011-2014), and Shabazz Napier (2014-2015) all started their careers in Miami as late 1st round, 2nd round, or undrafted players. 


While Miami boasts a strong track record for developing point guards, there is no question they have been a factory for developing shooters. The tradition began in Riley’s first season in Miami when Voshon Lenard was signed mid-season from the CBA. Lenard (1995-2000) spent the first five seasons of his eleven year career in Miami, starting 143 games, averaging 11 ppg, and has the eighth most threes in Heat history. 

Over the years, the Miami shooting coaches improved the shooting strokes of players like Bruce Bowen (1999-2001), the late Rasual Butler (2002-2005), and Jason Kapono (2005-2007). However, there is no better example of the Heat developing a shooter than Duncan Robinson. With 530 three point field goals in his first three NBA seasons,

Duncan is already 6th in Heat history and a scorching 42% from behind the arc. He recently became the highest paid undrafted player in NBA history with a 5 year, $90 million contract. 

The Heat have also been able to build their defensive identity by discovering unknown talent late in the draft or from players who were not even drafted. Bruce Bowen was a key piece of the Heat’s defense in the early 2000’s, but James Ennis (2014-2016), Tyler Johnson (2014-2019), Josh Richardson (2015-2019), Rodney McGruder (2016-2019), and Derrick Jones Jr. (2017-2020) have all been developed in the Heat’s defensive system and found lucrative paydays during their NBA careers. 


Miami has found undrafted success for championship teams with Joel Anthony (2007-2014), and current assistant coach Malik Allen (2001-2005), but there is no other way to highlight Miami’s development of post players than Udonis Haslem. After going undrafted in 2002 and spending a season in France, Udonis is entering his 19th season in Miami as the franchise’s all-time leading rebounder, second in games played, and part of every championship in the franchise’s history. Udonis has went from an unknown to eventually having his #40 hanging from the rafters. 

Ike Austin (1996-1998) found himself as one of the earliest success stories in Heat player development. After finding little success early in his career, Ike slimmed down in Miami and became the NBA’s Most Improved Player in 1997. His time in Miami was short as he was traded away in his 2nd season, and never was able to continue his success elsewhere. 

Similar to Austin, Hassan Whiteside was out of the league before joining the Heat and earning a $98 million contract. Whiteside (2014-2019) quickly developed into a nightly double-double threat and one of the best shot blockers in the league. After five seasons in Miami, he ranks as one of the franchise’s best rebounders and shot blockers. 

Although he was a lottery pick, many believed Bam Adebayo was drafted too high when Miami picked him 14th in 2017. Just a few years later, Bam is one of the best defensive players in the league and has become an All-Star and Olympic gold medalist. He is far from a finished product, but the early returns from his development could put him on a path to be the all-time best example of the Heat’s player development program.

The Verdict 

Over the past 26 years, there are few if any franchises who have consistently found “diamonds in the rough” like the Miami Heat. There is no question that their player development program is one of the best in the league and that is why agents of undrafted players seek out opportunities for their clients to join the Heat. There are also examples of failures along the way, but that is the case for every franchise and those examples are far less significant than the success stories. So when assessing the future growth of current players like Ömer Yurtseven, Max Strus, Gabe Vincent, Tyler Herro, KZ Okpala, and potentially others, you can see the historical path of players who were relatively unknown and unproven, given the chance to shine in the Miami system, and flourished. The beauty of the Miami Heat is that the current pipeline is being manned by coaches who were once products of this system, and led by Erik Spoelstra who himself grew from the film room to head coach.

The Miami Heat’s Defense is Going to Be Special

So much was made last season about how Miami somehow ended up having a top 10 defense despite starting only two “plus defenders” for most of the season. It felt like an uphill battle throughout the year despite the defense being considered “solid.” The uphill climb was felt more internally throughout each game by Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler. Both guys would need to cover for many of their teammates who were either weak or downright bad defenders.

You could feel how much energy they were exerting trying to keep certain lineups afloat. Not to mention what they also had to do on offense. These factors are why the midseason addition of Trevor Ariza felt like such a significant boost to the team. It was one more defender Spoelstra could put out there with their stars without having to worry. And this was a slightly over-the-hill Ariza we’re talking about — imagine if you added even better defenders multiplied by 2. That’s what the Miami Heat have done this offseason.

The additions of PJ Tucker and Kyle Lowry will allow Miami to become the best defensive versions of themselves. I believe that performance will be good enough to be no lower than a top 4 defense this season. I feel like it’s gone under the radar just how great and downright menacing the Heat’s defense will be. They managed to forage a top 10 defense last year with way less ammunition than the current roster. Imagine the possibilities now that the weakest defender on the starting lineup will be Duncan Robinson, whose defense isn’t that bad now!

With the new acquisitions, some losses may have been difficult but necessary for this season’s team to be its best. No longer will Kendrick Nunn or Goran Dragic have to defend the point of attack for the team. That also means that Jimmy Butler won’t have to defend the opposition’s primary ball-handler for the nights they’re desperate. This trickle-down effect will also be significant for saving Jimmy’s legs late in the season and into the playoffs. Jimmy will be able to play that terrifying free safety role he was so good in last season. Miami’s defense will see drastic improvements when Butler can roam more and disrupt the opposition’s sets.

For Bam Adebayo, it’ll mean more time in the paint and less time cleaning up after his guards’ mistakes on the perimeter. Not to say that Bam can’t handle his own beyond the arc, but it’ll boost the team’s ability to deter teams from getting to the rim even more. Adebayo will be utilized more as a rim deterrent and terrifying help defender that can switch as the shot clock winds down. With Lowry at the helm of the point of attack, they’ll be even more versatile in the ways they’ll deploy Bam.

You’ll see plenty of different coverages mixed throughout the year. They might have Adebayo not stuck outright switching but more coming to the level of the screen. Lowry is so good at navigating, and fighting over screens that will create a terrorizing pick-and-roll defense with Bam — alongside Jimmy Butler on the wings waiting to pounce. Bam was already in the Defensive Player of the Year discussion, but Lowry will show off another terrifying side of Adebayo. It’ll be a breath of fresh air to not have Bam cover for the entire roster at times.


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Teams will try hunting Duncan Robinson as their last resort, forced to become an isolation team. Miami will gladly take that; they’ll have more than enough bodies to cover up for him. And good luck getting those Miami players to give in to that switch that easily. They will make you earn that switch and force the shot clock down to its last second. And, as I said earlier, Robinson has made great strides in his defense that won’t make that the worst outcome.

Miami doesn’t have to wait for their defender to arrive for the Power Forward position midway into the season. This time they went out and grabbed PJ Tucker to keep that spot in check. All the things Ariza helped give you last season, Tucker will do that while being able to guard up. Not to forget how much Tucker and Lowry will improve the rebounding numbers from last season. PJ was a maniac on the boards during the playoffs for the Bucks. Teams would try hiding their weakest defensive player on him, and he’d punish teams by crashing the glass and getting extra possessions for Milwaukee.

Lowry himself has been an excellent rebounder for a point guard averaging five boards over the past six seasons. He uses his base better than any other point guard and boxes guys out to the half-court line. Miami had tons of problems finishing off possessions last year as they constantly got outshot throughout the season. It will help drastically to have these two on the floor to clean up the glass. Not to mention an entire season of Dewayne Dedmon and his insane OREB% to help out.

Add to this the possibility of having Victor Oladipo ready by December, and it’ll raise the defensive powers to insane levels. Gabe Vincent will do an admirable job in his absence from the bench, but Victor will be on another level. Good luck trying to score on a Lowry-Oladipo-Butler-Tucker-Adebayo closing lineup.

Erik Spoelstra has done more with lesser rosters, and now he’s been given his best defensive starting lineup since the Big 3. The man wrung out a top 10 defense from a starting lineup that included Carlos Arroyo, Michael Beasley, and whatever remained of Jermaine O’Neal. Spoelstra has coached a top 10 defense for all but 5 of his tenure in Miami. And 3 of those seasons, his teams finished just outside at 11th, two of which made the Finals. He’ll get the most out of this new potent lineup, to say the least.

Everything we saw that was so hard for Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler last season will become much more manageable. The weight put on their backs will be lighter and make for a really fun defense to watch. This team will annoy the living hell out of teams like a child who refuses to stop kicking your seat on a plane. They’ll make you feel them and have you working overtime for your money like a terrible boss. Miami went all-in on defense this offseason, and everyone should be glad they did. This team might rival the 2013 defense in how much fun they’ll be to watch on that end. Who said defense couldn’t be fun?



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Visit them at EverythingTradeShows or call 954-791-8882