The Miami Heat kicked off their season against the Orlando Magic on Wednesday night, and it was pretty much filled with surprises. The main surprise was that Miami didn’t play like the team that was just in the NBA finals, losing 113-107, but that doesn’t mean there should be immediate overreaction. Anyway, here are five takeaways from the game…
#1: Offensive sloppiness looks to be problematic.
It’s no surprise that turnovers are the first takeaway from this game, especially from Miami’s starters. They had 12 turnovers at the half, with the starting unit being in a rush offensively in the first quarter. That may have something to do with Tyler Herro running the point, since he’s not a traditional one, but that will improve as the season progresses. Goran Dragic though, which will be explained in a bit, settled Miami down and took control of the offense. Tyler isn’t the only one to blame, since Jimmy and Bam showed some sloppiness as well. But this should be expected in a season opener, and if they continue to slow down the offense early in games, it will be very beneficial to their play.
#2: Precious Achiuwa gets surprising minutes off the bench.
Even though I mentioned that I wouldn’t be shocked if Coach Spo threw Precious Achiuwa in the game off of the bench tonight, I definitely didn’t expect to have him being one of my takeaways from a season opener. But well, he is. There were a couple things that have been mentioned when discussing Precious Achiuwa. For one, he can be utilized on this team to reiterate many of the things Bam does on the floor, which he showed he can do. And secondly, it’s been said over and over that he has great touch around the rim, and that was clear as well. The lob connection he has found with Goran Dragic has been obvious, but even an impressive drive at the end of the shot clock showcased some more of his flashes. Coach Spo inserting him in the game to begin the season, after the absence of Summer League, should tell you all you need to know about the future of Precious Achiuwa with this team.
#3: Goran Dragic continues to be Miami’s steady piece.
It would be wrong not to mention Goran Dragic after this game, mostly since he was the main reason Miami was able to settle down early. After the starters continued to struggle offensively, as I mentioned previously, Goran came right into the game and picked up exactly where he left off. And that means he still was able to deliver when Miami was in a tough spot. His scoring ability is an obvious attribute, which he used early in the first half, but more importantly his ability to slow down the game is where he truly showed out. He has great feel for the game, which means he knows when to play both fast and slow, and tonight was the game to slow things down. Even with an aging Goran Dragic, it seems as if he isn’t slowing down anytime soon, and will continue to be a huge part of this Miami Heat team.
#4: Bam Adebayo’s offensive confidence seems to improve game by game.
Bam Adebayo’s scoring has been the thing people are waiting to emerge this season, specifically with his jumper. It’s never been about can he shoot the mid-range jumper, but instead will he shoot it. And tonight, we got the answer to that question. He came out in the first quarter with a purpose to initiate offense with the ball in his hands. And even though all of the shots weren’t falling for him, it’s a step in the right direction. The shots will begin to fall eventually, but it’ll come down to finding his spots that he’s most comfortable. And after watching him shoot it in both preseason games and tonight’s season opener, he seems at his best after the jab step. Either way, seeing Bam becoming more and more confident is a great sign for his progression going forward.
#5: Miami’s depth has been a point of emphasis, and rightfully so.
It seems as if it may have been getting old for a lot of people, when repeatedly hearing the Miami Heat’s depth being such a strength for this team. And well, I think that was on display tonight. For most of the game, the bench unit outplayed the starting lineup, mostly due to the fluid offense by limiting turnovers. That mostly falls under the two categories that I discussed before with Precious Achiuwa and Goran Dragic, but even others proved to be high value guys in a game like this. And we didn’t even see Avery Bradley or KZ Okpala, who are two guys that can easily help this team win basketball games right now. Coach Spo has an interesting task to deal with when talking about the rotation, but he’s got many options to choose from.