The Miami Heat basically rolled out the entire season rotation on Monday night, except for a main factor: Jimmy Butler. Continued reps for the very important duo of Kyle Lowry and Bam Adebayo, a rough shooting night for Tyler Herro following his three game master class, and some lineup fun from Erik Spoelstra.
Anyway, here are five takeaways from this game…
#1: Caleb Martin gets the start…and I think we see this often.
With Jimmy Butler out, Caleb Martin slotted into the starting lineup against his former team, seeing a familiar match-up in Cody Martin. Looking at the history of Erik Spoelstra, two-way guys are essentially starting lineup replacers. Why is that? Well, he’s never been interested in messing up the chemistry of the rotation, leading to him pulling a guy up from the bottom of the roster. Just ask Gabe Vincent and Max Strus. Martin has looked like he can handle that responsibility as well, not just through his shot creating actions on the offensive side of the ball, but his gritty defensive presence instead. Just looking at this game for example, Martin was immediately inserted into the Jimmy Butler role, crossing the half-court line with the ball in his hands. I believe we see more of that.
#2: The size Bam Adebayo has put on is a difference maker on many possessions.
Bam Adebayo has shown major differences in the way he’s going about things in the preseason. Operating from the mid-range wing instead of the elbow, giving him more room to operate with the ball in his hands, ultimately opening up his driving game. The other big difference maker with Adebayo is his noticeable added size. How does that change things? It’s not something you’re going to see on a stat-sheet, or something that’ll jump off the TV screen, but he’s finishing possessions in ways I don’t think he would’ve last season. Grabbing rebounds in traffic, hooking defenders in the post (which I don’t think is legal,) and taking it to the rim stronger for more free throw attempts. There’s no doubt it’ll shift many parts of his game in a positive direction.
#3: The minute distribution of Tyler Herro was preparation for the regular season.
When you see Martin inserted into the starting lineup, it was an indictment on the recent play of Tyler Herro. That should go without saying since Herro has led the league in scoring through three games, but as much as it’s preseason for players, it’s coaching reps as well. Developing some type of rhythm in the rotation is necessary, and that’s what was seen for the role of Herro. Entering at the six minute mark of the first quarter, and exiting at about the two minute mark of the second quarter. The point is that Herro is going to get plenty of playing time, and it’ll be with a bunch of different combos. Today was unique since he won’t be in many lineups with 4 other bench guys, but being the lead man is important as well. And truly, Butler will plug many weaknesses that may be seen.
#4: Once again, Markieff Morris needs to be a mid-range spot-up guy instead of the three-point spot-up guy.
Markieff Morris is an interesting piece for this Heat team. He has played his defensive role perfectly with the extra size on the interior, but the offensive stuff is still in question. Outside shooting hasn’t been his closest friend so far, but does it have to be? I mean, it would be very helpful for the team’s offensive success, but combining high volume and low efficiency isn’t a great mixture. Moving to different spots on the floor, like the middle of the court, has shown to be a much more comfortable spot for him. It places him into a simple role: corner kick-out, lob pass to the big in the dunker spot, or a mid-range jumper. Making that his home-base on the offensive end will do wonders, but I guess it is just the preseason.
#5: Kyle Lowry at the forefront of all of Miami’s most effective offensive sets.
This may be a pretty obvious statement to just throw out there, but it’s pretty much transferred over perfectly in every way you look at Miami’s offense tonight. Kyle Lowry may be that fast-break presence who can truly push the pace to get the ball up the floor, but his half-court control is what this team has missed. Running plenty of that two-man game with Bam Adebayo is a great starting point. And it’s not just about that coveted lob pass that Adebayo will see a ton this season, but instead Lowry’s ability to hunt his teammates’ mismatches. That’s an incredible skill to have, especially considering Adebayo has been a guy who has needed that extra push. And yet, it’s only the preseason. Back-to-back wing triples from Lowry may stand out from tonight, but it’s everything else that really matters.
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