Time to Panic in Miami?
After a brutal fourth quarter against the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday night, the Miami Heat are sitting in last place of the entire Eastern Conference. It has left many fans wondering if they’re mild off-season has set them up for failure. While it is has been a rough start, don’t hit the panic button yet. They may be 1-4, but they found themselves in an eerily similar spot last season. Look how that turned out. Miami’s 2-5 record to open their previous campaign led to a Finals berth. Though, they had to do it the hard way.
Early struggles forced them to make a grueling and improbable postseason run. A run that included 2 play-in games and series wins over 3 of the top 4 seeds in the conference. The path to the Finals for the Heat could be daunting again if they don’t get back on track soon. That starts with the health and chemistry of the team.
Miami Heat’s Rough Start
Their stars Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler have each missed a game. Veteran power forward Kevin Love has missed two contests. The defensive-minded Haywood Highsmith just returned from a four-game absence. Playoff standout Caleb Martin hasn’t played since opening night, and new addition Josh Richardson has been ruled out for a few games as well.
All of this to say: this team has a clear injury bug that they’ve been dealing with since the first tip-off. Sure, they may not of made significant moves in the off-season to drastically improve the roster, but rest assured this group isn’t destined for a lottery pick. They just need to stay healthy and settle into their roles..
Miami desperately needs consistent bench scoring. That should arrive once some of the aforementioned players return to form. Martin, Highsmith, and Richardson will be great three-and-D options once they officially settle into the rotation. Until then, losing Gabe Vincent and Max Strus in free agency will continue to linger over the team’s head.
They played key roles off the bench and could light up the scoreboard in spot starts. Missing them in the rotation has been tough, but head coach Erik Spoelstra has the talent at his disposal to make up for the lost production. It’ll simply take some time to solidify rotations and roles.
Expect for his young forwards Jaime Jaquez Jr. and Nikola Jovic to become more involved soon. They are capable of filling some voids. Both players have the intangibles to be elite scorers off the bench. On a team full of veterans, they are two young talents that can help turn the season around.
Speaking of young talent, 23-year-old Tyler Herro has been a huge bright spot for Miami during this 1-4 start. He looks destined to earn his first All-Star nod. He’s been the Heat’s best scoring option, and will likely continue to be throughout the season.
Herro is averaging a whopping 26.2 PPG. That would easily be a career-high for the fifth-year guard. If Butler and Adebayo play up to their standards, Miami will have three players averaging over 20 PPG — much like last season. With that kind of production, Miami should easily make their way into contention. As long as the supporting cast makes some minor improvements, the team will go as far as their big three can take them.
At the end of the day, Heat fans should trust that Coach Spoelstra will get more out of this team as the season goes on. So, while the 1-4 start isn’t ideal, Miami’s fans have more than enough reasons to keep the faith.
Unless they lose on Friday night to the Washington Wizards in their inaugural in-season tournament game. Then it may be time to sound the alarms. No? Still too soon to panic?