Something I have mentioned quite a few times is that bench units will be crucial in the NBA next season. This will be a season that we have yet to see, since positive Covid tests could pop up at any time.
And for the Miami Heat, they had a much shorter off-season than others, which unfortunately could mean they will be more inclined to injury.
Either way, Miami’s bench will be a huge strength next season.
Going through the roster, they are filled with both veterans and youth, which will be interesting for Coach Erik Spoelstra since he will have quite a few avenues to choose.
Depth is something that isn’t so common among the rest of the East as of right now, especially if a team like Brooklyn trades away all of their assets for James Harden.
Anyways, here’s an advanced look into what the Miami Heat’s bench could look like next season, assuming the starting lineup is Herro/Bradley, Robinson, Butler, Adebayo, and Leonard. (And by the way, this is just speculation)
Miami is very lucky to have a guy of Goran Dragic’s caliber coming off the bench, since it’s clear he’s a very quality starter. He showed that in the bubble for Miami, since they upgraded his role to starting point guard after he was Miami’s go to scorer in the playoffs. He told media about his role for next season, “If he needs me to come off the bench, I’ll come off the bench. If he wants me to start, I’ll start.” And I wouldn’t be surprised if they do the same thing as they did this past season, by starting him once the post-season begins.
Tyler Herro/ Avery Bradley:
As mentioned, there’s still uncertainty of what the starting lineup will look like, but I believe the final guard spot will be between Tyler Herro and Avery Bradley. That said, I think Tyler Herro starts by the beginning of the season, but Avery Bradley could be plugged in for him in certain match-ups. Either way, one of them will be on the bench, and will make huge contributions. Tyler Herro for offensive spark and Avery Bradley for a defensive spark, which once again will be situational. Putting either one of these guys next to Goran on a bench unit will be effective, which they will look to expose opposing team’s benches.
Andre Iguodala is one of those players on Miami’s roster that hasn’t been discussed much during the off-season, but he will be a huge part of this team next season, especially after losing Jae Crowder. For starters, Andre will make a major impact just due to his veteran leadership for the young guys once again. Having guys like KZ Okpala and Precious Achiuwa trying to work their way in, Andre can really help with their development. But on the floor, it’s obvious he can still bring his strengths of defensive versatilities or offensive IQ. He is still a very quality basketball player who will continue to be a great reliever for Jimmy Butler when he exits the floor.
Miami was very lucky to land a quality wing, in Moe Harkless, to replace Derrick Jones Jr. DJJ was much more of an upside guy, while Harkless is the definition of a solid role player. He gives Miami the perimeter defense that they were looking for, as well as an intriguing jumper. He’s a career 36% three point shooter, which was about what Jae Crowder was when he joined Miami. As Moe Harkless said in his media session, “It’s a perfect fit.” And I believe it is, since he will play whatever role that he is given, as well as representing that Miami Heat grit on the floor.
Kelly Olynyk is another one of those players that hasn’t been discussed much throughout the off-season, only hearing his name when a potential trade seems to come up. Of course he’s the type of guy that can possibly get packaged in a deal before the deadline, but as of right now, he’s a quality back-up big for the Miami Heat. I believe he will be even more impactful if Tyler Herro ends up starting, since a bench lineup would lack a bit of shooting. Kelly is a bit streaky at times, but when he’s hitting from deep, it’s a huge plus for Miami. We will see how his role look this season, but I believe it will be pretty identical to the one from this past season.
Kendrick Nunn is an interesting name to look at when going through the rotation. He was the starter for Miami this past year as a rookie, and absolutely thrived. He had such a great season that he ended up finishing second in rookie of the year voting. He did seem to struggle in the bubble, but there were a couple different reasons why that happened. And now when looking at Miami possibly playing Goran and Avery off the bench, he seems to be the odd man out as far as guards. He’s another player that could possibly get dealt by the deadline, but he also has a chance at coming back at the same level at which he played in his rookie year. And that would mean Erik Spoelstra has some decisions to make.
KZ Okpala/ Precious Achiuwa:
Finally, the two intriguing young prospects, KZ Okpala and Precious Achiuwa. The departure of Jae Crowder gives them yet another shimmer of chance to try and get some playing time. KZ Okpala, as I’ve mentioned, went through a similar Miami Heat process that we’ve seen before. Duncan Robinson went through the same process in his rookie season, two-way contract while bouncing back and forth from the G-League, and look how that turned out. Obviously there’s less openings as of right now, but Miami clearly sees something in him after not wanting to include him in any deals. Precious Achiuwa is another interesting name when looking at the rotation, since frankly we haven’t seen him play at this level. Not having the Summer League to adjust into the Pro level definitely hurts him as well, but if you’re going to trust any team with player development, it’s the Miami Heat. We will see how they elect to utilize their two emerging 21 year olds, since they each are full of potential.