The Miami Heat’s Roster: Top Heavy Options Turning Into Depth
Film dives aside for a second, the Miami Heat are the number one seed in the East.
Credit can fly in a ton of different directions. Jimmy Butler’s MVP status, Bam Adebayo’s two-way play, Tyler Herro’s continued emergence, or Kyle Lowry’s quarterback control. It just simply isn’t one translating factor to a winning basketball team.
Before the season, the depth of this team was questioned. Could Omer Yurtseven develop quickly? Will KZ Okpala finally break-through? Does Gabe Vincent’s scoring ability come along?
All of those were pretty viable questions to pose, and the frequency of actually presenting those questions has risen quickly.
Butler, Adebayo, Lowry, and Herro seem to be switching off games to take the night off, which is something they haven’t been able to do in the past. A strong core like that pretty much means they can pick up the slack for the others.
The issue is that 3 rotational pieces down in a specific game, means the depth dwindles down real fast. The best front-court option outside of the rotation is Udonis Haslem, and it’s kind of wild that it took so long to realize that.
While we know about that stuff involving the depth at this very moment, let’s fast forward to a fully healthy Heat team and evaluate the “depth,” since the goalposts seem to immediately move.
With a returning Victor Oladipo, even disregarding the exact health levels he comes back at, he will no question be a part of that bench back-court with Herro. To cap off the nine-man rotation, Markieff Morris and Dewayne Dedmon will most likely be the relied on veterans on the back-end.
What does that mean? Well, Max Strus, Caleb Martin, and Gabe Vincent will all be on the outside looking in, which is a pretty great spot to be in when looking at the team on paper.
Obviously we’re coming off a major offensive punch from Vincent on Thursday night, but that isn’t the only reason it’s being brought up. Aside from the shot falling or bricking, he provides something that Miami can use in certain spots of the season.
Lowry goes down, Vincent can be that sidekick to Herro’s scoring. Herro goes down, Vincent can be the strong attacker and eventual shooter in Herro’s role next to Lowry. And yet, his offense doesn’t even touch half the potential of his defensive structure.
Caleb Martin has been a steal of a pick-up on that two-way contract, but as many have noted, he won’t be stuck in that deal for long. With a 50 game limit, it’s clear Miami will need to eventually convert him over, since he can be used way more than 50 games this season.
And although Max Strus continues to impress in his rotational role this season, a 10th man spark will probably be his role by playoff time. If the guards aren’t giving them something on a specific night, I see Coach Spo bringing in Strus to start the second quarter without batting an eye.
The point is that the depth on this team may seem frail at times when they’re down a third of their rotation, but when everything is put together down the stretch of the season, even that will elevate.
The depth topic is a funny one to have on a Heat team, just due to the fact we’ve seen them with a totally opposite team theme in recent years. They had a bunch of really sound players all the way down the roster, but in moments of truth, it was Butler and Adebayo looking around for who that next guy was.
Now, as I said earlier, they have a core four that can pretty much be relied on night in and night out.
Options over depth. It may seem like a pretty obvious thing to say, but something must be added to that: extra options create more depth.
How is that? When you have a 21 year old Herro taking over games while Butler is resting on the sidelines, that forms extra bodies by the end of the season. They don’t have to rush back the top dogs any time they get injured, which once again, is something new.
11-5 and first seed in the Eastern Conference during one of the toughest parts of their schedule is one thing. But giving both Butler and Adebayo 3 games off in that span, while Lowry has gotten 2 games off, puts their standing positioning into even more perspective.
The team’s pace on the floor is one thing. But Erik Spoelstra being able to pace his players off the floor is another thing.
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