The Miami Heat are already being overlooked as a championship contender, despite their impressive start to the season. This is in part due to LeBron James’s departure in 2010 and the team’s struggles since then.
The Miami Heat are already being overlooked as a championship contender. The team has only won one game in the NBA Finals, and they have not yet played their best basketball.
The acquisition of free-agent point guard Kyle Lowry by the Miami Heat was the most exciting move of the summer. Other moves were made by Miami, but they were either ignored or seen as wasted expenditure. However, the company is now in a position to be a darkhorse championship candidate as a result of these changes.
The squad reached the NBA finals two seasons ago. Miami was eliminated in the first round of the Eastern Conference Playoffs last season by the eventual champion Milwaukee Bucks.
The Heat, on the other hand, had placed themselves back in the discussion as one of the top teams in the NBA over the summer. Simply put, no one seems to have noticed.
In free agency, the Miami Heat signed Kyle Lowry, P.J. Tucker, and Markieff Morris.
Morris is 31 years old. Lowry is 35 years old. Tucker is 36 years old. Lowry’s contract is for three years and $85 million, which is a lengthy and costly contract for an aging point guard. When he is on the floor, though, the former Villanova Wildcat continues to perform well. Lowry only appeared in 46 games for Toronto last season, compared to 58 the year before, which is why his deal was questioned in the first place.
However, during the past two seasons, the 6-foot point guard has averaged close to 20 points per game, more than five rebounds, and more than seven assists per game. Last year, he made 39.6% of his three-point attempts. Most significantly, Lowry has a track record of success. During his seven years in Toronto, the Raptors made the playoffs every year and won the NBA Championship in 2019. In the finals, he averaged 16.2 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 7.2 assists.
Tucker, who won the NBA championship with the Milwaukee Bucks last season, is signed to a two-year contract for little more than $7 million each season. Morris inked a one-year, $2.6 million deal with the Heat. The 6-foot-9 power forward has been in the playoffs for the last five seasons, including the 2019-20 season with the Los Angeles Lakers, when he won the title.
Do you see a pattern here?
Miami also extended Jimmy Butler and re-signed Victor Oladipo and Duncan Robinson.
The Miami Heat’s Jimmy Butler guards the Milwaukee Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo. | Getty Images/Michael Reaves
Butler is the Heat’s all-time leading scorer. He does, however, have limits. In the previous two seasons, he shot 24.4 and 24.5 percent from beyond the arc, respectively. But he’s a great defender, has grown into a capable facilitator, and is ranked first among the NBA’s hardest players. In his 10-year career, he’s also made the playoffs nine times and isn’t afraid of big situations. A three-year, $146 million contract that goes until his 36th season, when he’ll make more than $52 million, is a steep price to pay, but he’s at the heart of everything Miami is attempting to do.
Robinson’s deal, which runs for five years and almost $90 million, also seems to be excessive. However, he has a lifetime three-point shooting percentage of 42.6 percent and will just be 31 years old when his contract ends.
Oladipo is a high-reward, low-risk acquisition. He’s been injured the past few seasons, but he’s been selected to the NBA All-Star squad twice, All-NBA team once, and first-team all-defense in 2017-18. A one-year, $2.4 million contract is a risky bet, but if the guard remains healthy, it might be a huge bargain.
The Heat have assembled a team capable of contending for a championship this season.
It’s clear what Miami is attempting. Lowry, Tucker, and Morris are all gritty, defensive-minded guys who have a lot of postseason experience. Butler is in the same boat. If healthy, Oladipo is a top-tier athlete and defender, as well as an above-average offensive player. Robinson is a good shot who can spread the field. Bam Adebayo, the Heat’s rising big man, is also an agile defender who has improved his offensive game each year he’s been in the league. Tyler Herro had a great first season but struggled in his second year. If he recovers, he provides another source of shooting and playmaking for Miami.
Miami’s offense may struggle with spacing, but the team’s strong levels of defense, tenacity, and athleticism are more than capable of resurrecting the Heat to the top of the Eastern Conference.
Basketball-Reference provided all statistics, while Spotrac provided contract information.
RELATED: The Spurs’ Approach to NBA Free Agency Indicates They’re Finally Blowing It Up
- miami heat record
- miami heat championship roster
- miami heat coach