In the Miami Heat’s Christmas Day win over the New Orleans Pelicans, we finally got some clarity about this Heat team.
Although lineups and rotations will change constantly, this game showed who the 9 man rotation will ultimately include. The fifth player in the starting lineup is interchangeable, but the first four off the bench will most likely remain the same.
And rightfully so, since that second unit kept them going in yesterday’s game, since they have the perfect balance of scoring and defense.
Goran Dragic has a lot to do with the success of that second unit, since he just calms everybody down when he steps on the floor, and can control the pace of the game. He also is a scoring threat from all three levels, and he has proved this far that he’s one of Miami’s most consistent go to scorers.
Precious Achiuwa is another reserve that was surprising, since not many expected that he would be getting this many minutes to start the season. Not only does he have zero experience at this level, but he’s been playing like he has the most experience. He is under more control than most guys on the roster, since he knows how to play his individual role at a high level.
The connection between Goran and Precious has been obvious as well, since Goran seems to have made it a priority to get Precious touches and set him up in his spots. Bam mentioned that in his post-game press conference, that Goran wants to get Precious involved as much as possible.
Now, although Goran and Precious are the most intriguing names to discuss off the bench, Andre Iguodala and Avery Bradley were the two guys that truly stood out in my opinion.
For starters, individually Andre did what he does best offensively by being the unselfish distributor, but also knocked down the occasional corner three which increases his value even more. Avery was huge on offense as well, hitting the three ball when needed, but more importantly taking that one step inside the three point line since that is his strength.
Both players had great Christmas Day performances individually, but they stood out even more as a duo. They were causing defensive havoc on the perimeter in yesterday’s game, since both of them are so active with their hands on the ball. JJ Redick couldn’t get an ounce of open space all game with Avery’s off ball defense, while Iguodala’s ability to switch made it that much better.
The reason this group of guys work so well together is because they have a great deal of chemistry, which is odd since it includes a free agent signing and a rookie. If the continuity is this high right now, just give them a few weeks.
The second unit worked best when the fifth guy was either Tyler Herro or Duncan Robinson, since adding an extra offensive threat on the perimeter maximizes their play.
The reason I call them the reliable four is because even when the starters seem to struggle, they all go out there and play their own game consistently. Miami has something special with this bench unit, and it’s why many have been raving about their depth.
Once the starting lineup gets in a flow, since they haven’t yet, this Heat team will be even more intriguing than last years team.