The Heat’s season has gotten off to a poor start, with the team’s record sitting at 11-14 after about a quarter of the season. At this point, it is clear that the Heat need to make significant changes to the roster. The Heat are certainly not one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference with their current roster. With that said, let’s get into part 3 of our Heat Season Companion.
Heat Season Companion Part 3: What Has Gone Wrong for the Heat So Far?
Before discussing what the Heat should do next, we should talk about how they got to this point first. There are a number of factors that play a part in the Heat’s poor start to the season. One of them is injuries to key players.
Tyler Herro missed two weeks in the middle of November due to an ankle injury. Herro is one of the Heat’s best players and is integral to helping the Heat close out games, along with Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler. Herro has continued to show improvement this season, demonstrating better play-making skills and even making strides on the defensive end. As a result, it is no wonder that Herro missing time will have a major negative impact on the Heat.
However, Jimmy Butler is the key Heat player who has missed the most games so far due to injuries. So far, Butler has played only 15 out of 25 games for the Heat this season. Butler remains the best player on the team, so his absence naturally decreases the team’s ability to win games.
Additionally, the Heat lost Omer Yurtseven since Yurtseven underwent surgery in mid-November to address an impingement, bone spur, and stress reaction in his left ankle. Yurtseven is out indefinitely as a result of this surgery. This is a heavy blow to a Heat team that does not have the greatest depth at center.
Heat Season Companion Part 3: The Heat’s Bench Has Played Incredibly Poorly
Many of the Heat’s starters have played quite well to begin this season, particularly Butler, Bam, Lowry, and Herro. Unfortunately, the Heat’s bench players have not contributed very much at all so far. The Heat’s bench unit was the highest-scoring bench unit in the NBA last season. This season, the Heat rank 29th in the NBA in bench points.
That is one of the biggest reasons why the Heat are three games below .500 at this point in the season. Duncan Robinson is one player who has performed well below expectations this season, averaging only 6.1 points on 35.6% from the field and 31.6% from beyond the arc. Robinson signed a 5-year, $90 million contract with the Heat in the 2021 NBA off-season but has not justified that contract since signing that deal.
Dewayne Dedmon has also not played as well as he did last season. He is 33 years old, so it is natural to expect him to decline a little bit. Still, with Yurtseven out indefinitely and Jovic still adapting to the NBA, this decreased level of play from Dedmon has certainly hurt the team. The Heat’s roster is also not constructed ideally, either.
The Heat Have Too Many Small Forwards and Not Enough Big Men
The Heat decided to run it back this season and made very few changes to the roster, only bringing in Nikola Jovic with the 27th pick in the 2022 NBA draft. However, this decision has not paid off and it is clear that the team’s roster is not constructed ideally. With Yurtseven out indefinitely and Dedmon declining a bit, the Heat have generally not played well when Bam Adebayo is not on the court. That has contributed quite a bit to the Heat’s 14 losses so far this season.
The Heat seem to have an excessive amount of small forwards, with Robinson, Strus, Martin, and Haywood Highsmith all able to play at small forward behind Jimmy Butler. Strus and Martin have played well overall so far this season and Highsmith is a high-impact player on the defensive end of the floor. Still, the Heat clearly miss Yurtseven quite a bit and could use his contributions off the bench backing up Bam Adebayo.
What Do the Heat Do Now?
I think it’s clear that the Heat need to make big changes. Personally, I think every player on the Heat’s roster aside from Butler, Adebayo, Herro, and maybe Lowry should be available for trade. The most obvious trade piece is Duncan Robinson, although his contract and underwhelming performances this season lower his potential value. Regardless, it seems clear to me that the Heat should make a trade (or trades) for a better starting power forward and a better backup center. This Heat team doesn’t seem to be going anywhere as currently constructed.
The Heat Face the Clippers Today
The Heat play the Los Angeles Clippers later today in Miami. The Heat are in desperate need of a win and the Clippers will be playing without several key players due to injuries. This gives the Heat an opportunity to bounce back from a terrible loss to the Pistons and get back in the win column. I would bet on Herro scoring at least 20 points in this game, regardless of the outcome. Still, it is time for big changes for the Heat no matter what.
Check back next week for more Miami Heat content.