Answering Your Questions on the Miami Heat

There haven’t been many practices for Miami this season, as well as other teams, but the Heat were able to get one in this morning after having the second day off in a row. They will hop right back into it on Saturday night, then follow that up on Sunday, which is why these two days off are so crucial.

Anyway, this piece is about you guys. Let’s take a look at some of the questions about the Heat’s current state…

Even though the headliners today for Victor Oladipo include “injury update,” there really wasn’t any update on his injury status. Coach Erik Spoelstra did not add anything differently, other than the occasional, “He’s making progress,” which people seem to be running with right now. Spoiler alert: Don’t do that from that single comment.

I can’t give a direct answer if he will play again this season, since honestly, I don’t believe that the Heat know at the moment. But, due to your question asking whether he will play another game with the Heat, I’d lean yes, being you didn’t mention anything about this season.

The off-season will be quite interesting, and although Oladipo’s contract may not be the primary focus right now, it’s lingering throughout the higher ups. There won’t be many teams throwing themselves at the likes of Oladipo this off-season, leading to the overall answer that Miami could have him back next season on a very generous salary.

Ah, the KZ Okpala vs Precious Achiuwa debate.

I don’t think there’s any question that both of these guys need time and G-League, which is why the adjective “potential” is currently being linked to them. But, when looking at the way this Heat team is constructed, KZ Okpala seems like the clear answer.

Not only do I believe he has more potential, but I believe he has a much higher chance of having a role on this Heat team in the future. Precious Achiuwa has had his moments and has a chance of becoming a solid back-up big for Bam Adebayo, but the fact of the matter is Okpala doesn’t have a franchise centerpiece standing in his way for the starting spot. (No I didn’t forget about Jimmy Butler and yes I believe Okpala would play the 4)

Even though Pat Riley said on draft night that the goal is to play Adebayo and Achiuwa together, that boat seems to be docked and doesn’t look to be sailing anytime soon. The only way that becomes a viable option is if Achiuwa develops a trusted jumper, which is not the developmental programs current focus.

So, Okpala wins the potential battle.

The interesting part about talking role players on this Heat team is that there is a lot of them. Emphasis on a lot.

When I hear role player, I think about anybody not named Butler or Adebayo, meaning Duncan Robinson, Tyler Herro, and Kendrick Nunn fall under that category. But well, I’m not going the route of any of those guys.

When thinking about playoff situations, I immediately think about who is closing games for this team. While last year Andre Iguodala was that guy many nights, there were many restrictions on what he brought offensively. And well, that leads us into my answer.

Trevor Ariza.

They’ve got their guy at the four spot that they can trust on both sides of the floor. And the price to obtain him? Oh yeah, for nothing. And if I’m going to bank on a role player stepping up in a post-season match-up, it’s going to be one that is playoff tested, like Ariza.

To be honest, I just don’t think there’s one single thing to improve this team’s offense. For one, Oladipo would do wonders to input that secondary attacker that they’ve missed, which is why they went after him in the first place. But when looking at current personnel, it’s just about the half-court offense, and frankly, the Duncan Robinson effect.

They must be a team that gets into transition more, since that is when the offense really starts flowing. They have the defensive tools to do it, but being 17th in the NBA in transition frequency just won’t cut it. And 29th in the NBA in field goal percentage in clutch time basically seals that conversation of half-court trouble.

Now, you may be wondering what the Duncan Robinson effect is, and other than the offensive rating going from 118 when he’s on the floor to 103 when he’s off of it in the month of April, it’s about that guy being inserted for him. Obviously his gravity is tough to mirror in the NBA, let alone this Heat team, but all they need is one bench player to give them something from the outside.

Can it be Herro? Can it be Dragic? I’m not sure, but it has to somebody if they want to see some gradual changes in production.

The Heat have done a pretty good job of maximizing their small guards on the defensive end. The 2-3 zone was basically an introduction early on that they were going to hide their weaker defenders, and even the constant switching means that there are limited possessions that they’re stuck on an island.

Now, maximizing them on offense is a different story. It’s not only about individual skill-sets, but also the Heat broadening those skill-sets, like they did with Robinson on the fly this season. We’re beginning to see that with Nunn as well now, especially in the lineups with Dragic. The reason for that is he’s playing a lot more off the ball, and almost running Robinson-lite type of actions.

We’ve seen how point guard Herro turned out, and he faded into a bench scorer. We’ve seen point guard Nunn who has played the role well, but shows to be a much better scorer. And although Dragic has taken on that duty, as he’s aging off-ball catch and shoot threes will be his best friend. If Miami continues this trend, that’s how they can maximize them this season.

This one is pretty simple: it’s very vulnerable from that aspect, but it has it’s pros and cons. Although many question the switching scheme on night’s when the win column has an L, it should get the same level attention after a win.

Yes, some nights the constant switching against two bigs, like Nikola Vucevic and Daniel Theis, becomes a major headache for Miami, but what about the nights against Brooklyn or Portland or Golden State? Do you find anything similar between those teams? I do.

They all have star point guards, and that is when Adebayo just has a field day out on the perimeter. You can live with a pocket pass to Blake Griffin since you know the rotations will be there on the help side. And most teams that they will see in a playoff series will run their base offense around a perimeter player.

So, it does take a hit in the rebounding section, but there’s a huge boost in defensive efficiency, or as pointed out in a question earlier, third in opposing points per game.

It may have pros and cons, but the pros outweigh the cons with this personnel.

1 reply
  1. Robert Lynch
    Robert Lynch says:

    For the last question, the teams you name that the Heat were successful with are small teams. Big teams eat the Heat up. Howard crashing into Bam and taking him out in the finals is just one of many examples. Dedman has to be in there against big teams with Bam. Eric’s job to make that work. He either can’t or won’t. I have a feeling Dedman has a bit of nasty in him. It’s something this team needs.


Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *