The Miami Heat have been average in every possible way this season. Seriously, when you look at their record in the standings they are currently 24-24 and 15-15 against eastern conference opponents. The Heat are also 12-12 at home and 12-12 on the road, they aren’t exceptionally good at anything or anywhere this season just average. This team is the fifth seed in the eastern conference but nothing like the one that made a surprising run to the NBA finals from last season in the same seed.
It’s clear that they are not destined to make a repeat appearance to the Finals as they are a clear step below the other elite teams in the east. Even After acquiring Victor Oladipo, the Heat just arent constructed to be able to hang with the Bucks, 76ers, and Nets, all teams that made moves to improve their rosters as well. Victor Oladipo may be a good player but he has been woefully inefficient on offense this season shooting 41% from the field and 32% from three while having the highest usage rate of his career at 29%.
Oladipo is an intriguing add because of the defensive value he brings but the heat already are the 6th best-ranked team on that side of the ball. However, they do need help on the offensive side where they rank 24th, this stark contrast is why the Heat are mediocre at best team. The reality for the Heat is that if they had expectations of a deep postseason run. They will be falling short of those expectations. So it’s time to reevaluate what will make this season a success. The Miami Heat need new expectations to make this season a successful one.
Improvement from their Young Players
The Heat needs new expectations set for them if the players and fans want to take away some positives from this season that has been heavily impacted by Covid and injury. The key to success for this team is internal growth from their young players most notably Bam Adebayo, Precious Achiuwa, and Tyer Herro. Adebayo has proven he is one of the best Bigmen in the league but Herro in particular has been pretty disappointing this season when you factor in his breakout postseason run from 2020. That included a record-breaking 37 point performance making him the youngest player to score over 30 in the conference finals.
A big leap needs to happen from Herro this season to cement him as a future star in Miami. That leap hasn’t come yet as he is shooting a worse percentage from the field and from three than his rookie year with only a 2 point increase in scoring (13.5 to 15.5 ppg). The Heat front office still very much believes in Tyler Herro as a future star in this league as they were unwilling to trade him in both talks for current MVP candidate James Harden and in a deadline deal for Kyle Lowry. If Herro is able to rekindle some of the success he had from their past finals run and become more of a consistent player that will be a huge success for the Heat this season.
Retaining their Trade Deadline Acquisitions
The Heat always makes trades at the midway point of the NBA season and they often are huge successes. Whether it be trading for Goran Dragic, who became one of the greatest players in Miami Heat history. Or trading for Andre Iguoldola & Jae Crowder two players who played valuable minutes during their 2020 Finals run. Even their buyout market of Joe Johnson had a positive effect on the team in 2016. Pat Riley always makes the right choices to improve the team leading up to the trade deadline.
Now in 2021, Riley has made moves to acquire forward Nemanja Bjelica and guard Victor Oladipo. Rumors were always floating that Oladipo and the Heat have had a mutual interest in a partnership stemming from videos of Oladipo being overly friendly with opposing Heat players during the Pacers vs Heat playoff series in the past and speculation that he planned to sign with them in the offseason. None of that matters now that he is a member of the Miami Heat. What is important now is that the Heat do whatever is needed to keep Oladipo around as part of their core for the future. It would also be wise of them to retain Bjelica beyond this season for a reasonable price. As he is one of the better choices they have at PF as Iguodala and Ariza continue to age.
If the plan for the Heat were to be able to compete with the trio of the Nets, Bucks, and 76ers they are in over their heads. If the team is able to promote improvement and see results from the young players on the roster and retain the services from the players acquired at the deadline. This Miami Heat season can change from a disappointing one to a successful one building towards a bright future.