Overall Team Performance
The Heat put together a very balanced offensive unit that while didn’t have a crazy high volume, they scored with great efficiency. They were right in the middle of the pack ranking 15th in points per game but ranked 6th in the NBA in offensive rating. When it came to individual team metrics the Heat were impressive in virtually every category.
When it comes to shooting percentages, the Heat were an extremely efficient unit. They ranked in the top-10 in both field goal percentage and 3-point percentage. They actually led the NBA in 3-point percentage shooting a blistering 38.3% from deep.
Two of Miami’s biggest strengths were their ability to get to the line and ball movement. They shot 25 free throws per game and which was the 4th most in the league. While they got to the line at a high rate, they were fairly middle of the road in free throw percentage. The Heat show 78% from the line which was 13th in the NBA. As for sharing the basketball the Heat were a top-5 team in assists per game recording 26 a game.
While the Heat overall had a good offense there were some clear weaknesses. First off, they struggled to crash the offensive glass ranking second to last in offensive rebounds per game. They also ranked in the bottom five of the league in 2nd chance points, fast break points, and points in the paint. While their lack of 2nd chance points is clearly from their lack of offensive boards, the low number of fast break baskets stems from their extremely low pace which was 27th in the league.
Lastly, their lack of points in the paint is largely due to their offensive focus being geared toward creating opportunities from deep as well as their more half court-oriented offense. Miami was dead last in the NBA when it came to field goals attempted per game and 28th in 2-point field goals attempted which explains the lack of points in the painted area.
Key Individual Performance
When it comes to development and individual production there was no lack of impressive performances throughout the roster. The Heat had 6 scores on their roster score double-digit points per game. Butler led the Heat scoring 20 points a game and he took a bigger role as the Heat’s playmaker averaging a career high 6 assists per game. While it was another All-Star season for Butler, he did take a step back in his 3-point efficiency. He shot a very poor 25% from deep which was his lowest mark since the 2013-2014 which was a year before his major breakout.
Alongside Butler the Heat got huge developments from young players and none were bigger than Bam Adebayo. Bam made huge strides in every offensive category. He nearly doubled his PPG from 8.9 to 16.2 and increased his assists per game by more than double going from 2.2 last season to 5.1 this year. 2ND year forward Duncan Robinson also made huge strides in increased minutes this season increasing his PPG by 10 from last year. Robinson was also a huge part of their success from deep shooting a blistering 45% from beyond the arc which was the 4th best mark in the NBA.
The Heat also boasted two impressive rookies in their rotation. 1st round pick Tyler Herro is looking like a great pick at the end of last year’s draft lottery. Herro put up 13 points a game while shooting 39% from three and contributing two assists a game. The other impressive rookie was former G-League player Kendrick Nunn who burst onto the scene. The combo guard put up just under 16 points a game to go along with 3.4 assists and some solid shooting percentages.
Both Herro and Nunn were amongst the top-10 rookie scorers this year and the Heat still had a lot of depth behind these 5 players I’ve highlighted so far. Goran Dragic provided some veteran leadership providing 16 points and 5 assists a game off the bench. Kelly Olynyk gave the Heat a versatile, floor spacing big off the bench and Myers Leonard did the same next to Adebayo in the starting five. Lastly, Derrick Jones further developed his all-around game in his age 22 season.
Overall Team Performance
While the Heat offense was imposing their play on the other end of the floor was sound as well. Miami was able to hold opposing teams to 108.9 points per game with a defensive rating of 109.4. These numbers were good enough for 11th and 12th in the NBA respectively.
They also put up some impressive numbers when it came to opponents performance per game. They put up top ten numbers in both field goal percentages and 3-point percentages holding opponents to 44.7% from the field and 34.6% from deep. While the Heat struggled on their own offensive boards, they made up from it by preventing the offensive boards of the opposition. Opponents only tracked down 9.2 offensive boards per game which was the 4th lowest in the NBA. This also shines through in the fact that the Heat were a top-ten squad when it came to defensive rebounding.
Miami’s dominant defensive rebounding also led to them being a top ten team in limiting opponents second chance points. Their slower offensive pace also helped limit their adversaries opportunities in transition. The Heat held opponents to just 11.5 fast break points per game which was the second-best mark in the NBA. While the Heat offensively struggled scoring in the paint they made up for it by allowing the 5th least points in the paint on the other end of the floor.
Two areas the Heat did struggle in were the traditional offensive statistics. They ranked in the bottom third of the NBA in both steals and blocks. As you could guess from their lack of steals the Heat also struggled to force turnovers. They created under 14 turnovers per game which was good enough for 24th best in the league.
Key Individual Performances
When it comes to the defensive side the Heat have some great individual defenders as well as some clear weak spots. On the positive end the Heat had 3 players post win shares above .100 in Bam Adebayo, Duncan Robinson, and Jimmy Butler. These three were all clearly above average defenders alongside Derrick Jones and Myers Leonard.
Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler are clearly two premier defenders in the NBA. Adebayo was able to put up impressive numbers notching over a block and a steal per game along with 8 defensive rebounds per game. Butler is a 4-time All-Defensive team member and continued to show his presence on that side of the floor. Butler was amongst the top-10 in steals per game recording 1.7 a contest.
Derrick Jones also offers a lot of value on the defensive end of the floor. He is able to guard multiple positions and is a great athlete. Jones showed his value by recording over a steal per game and nearly a block a game as well. The Heat also added Andre Iguodala at the trade deadline. He only played in 14 games this year, but he is still a top-level defender even at 36 years old.
The Heat have one of the most successful coaches of the past 10 years in Erik Spoelstra. Spoelstra’s ability as a coach was questioned at first when the longtime Heat assistant was promoted to Head Coach when Pat Riley moved to the front office. Some saw as a sort of puppet for Pat Riley in his first couple seasons including the first year of the Big Three in Miami, but these critics were wrong as he has developed into one of the best coaches in the NBA. Spoelstra should be in Miami for the foreseeable future and is the perfect coach to deal with the big personality of Jimmy Butler and the development of their young core.
Heat Roster Questions
Do the Heat have what it takes to compete with the Bucks, Raptors, and Celtics at the top of the East?
The Heat ended the year as the 4 seed behind the three teams mentioned above. As it currently stands going into next season do the Heat have what it takes to get past these teams in the playoffs### Personally, I think they have a real shot at beating these teams in a series, but the Bucks still stand as the team to beat. I would favor the Heat in a series with the Raptors, but I would lean a bit more toward the Celtics in a matchup for Miami. As for the Bucks I still think they are bound to come out of the East next season but that’s not to say the Heat couldn’t pull off the upset.
Will Goran Dragic be back in Miami next year?
Dragic has been a staple in Miami five and a half seasons but will be a free agent this upcoming offseason. Dragic moved to a bench role this season and thrived in this role but will be 34 next season. There should be mutual interest between the Heat and Dragic and I expect to see him back in Miami on a relatively cheap deal.
Is it time to start thinking about extensions for the Heat’s young studs?
The Heat have few of their great young players that will be playing in contract years next season. This begs the whether the Heat should try and workout extensions or wait till next offseason. The players in question are Adebayo, Nunn, and Duncan Robinson. I think the Heat should explore extending Adebayo at the very least as he will have a ton of interest when he hits free agency.
Which of these three is more likely to be playing elsewhere next season between Myers Leonard, Kelly Olynyk, or Derrick Jones?
Myers Leonard and Derrick Jones will be free agents and Olynyk has a player option for next year. There is the possibility that all three return with Olynyk almost certainly accepting his $12 million player option, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the Heat opt to let Leonard walk.
Will the Heat add a big name in free agency?
The Heat have the cap space to make some moves this offseason, but it depends on what they do with Olynyk, Dragic, Leonard, and Jones. While they could make a move for some of the bigger free agent targets this offseason all signs and even some rumors point to them waiting for the 2021 offseason to pair a star with Butler.
What does Jimmy Butler provide for the Heat?
For Miami, Jimmy Butler represents a phenomenal two-way player who has the ability to score on offense and guard nearly anyone on the defensive end. With Minnesota to start the year, he was their go-to player and averaged 21.3 points while playing with Andrew Wiggins and Karl Anthony-Towns. However, disputes within the team drove him out of town and into Philadelphia where he had a realistic shot of making a deep playoff run. A shallow bench and the heroics of Kawhi Leonard eventually knocked them out as he continues to search for his first ring.
With the Heat, Butler immediately becomes the top player without a doubt. He’ll be given a large leash to shoot and play heavy minutes under coach Eric Spoelstra. That could pay huge dividends as Butler could average roughly 22 or 23 points on any given night. He’s in the prime of his career and will give Miami a great attraction for other stars to potentially sign on long-term.