To put it simply, the Miami Heat were great last season. The most amazing thing about it is that the team had so many injuries. Some of the main players on the team, Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo, Kyle Lowry, and Tyler Herro missed a combined 86 games. Because of all of that the Heat had 11 different players play in 50+ games and 22 different players appeared in a game for them. All of that does not even take into account the playoffs. But despite all of that Miami looked great all season, and finished the regular season with a record of 53-29, good enough to be the best record in the Eastern Conference and tied for the third best record in the league overall. This upcoming season, however, could be a very different story. Here is your Miami Heat 2022-2023 season preview.
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Miami Heat 2022-23 Season Preview
There was a lot of hope among Heat fans heading into the offseason this summer. Trade rumors were swirling. Whether it was Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, or Donovan Mitchell, the team was linked to a lot of big names. But nothing ended up materializing with any of them. The team also failed to replace P.J. Tucker, who left after one year to sign with the 76ers. That was a huge loss and the apparent decision to not replace him will have a big impact on this upcoming season.
Perhaps the biggest problem with the Heat having such a disappointing offseason is the fact that every other team at the top of the Eastern Conference got better. The Bucks, Celtics, 76ers, and Cavaliers all got better. Hopefully the Heat can stay healthy.
The Rise Of Ömer Yurtseven
Ömer Yurtseven was thrust into the starting lineup at one point last season due to injuries. He did not disappoint. He had an incredible stretch that was one of the best rookie rebounding stretches in NBA history. To give you an idea of how good he was for a while last year, he was rivaling Shaquille O’Neal‘s rebounding numbers during his rookie year. It was truly great. Eventually though as Bam Adebayo and Dewayne Dedmon came back from injuries Yurtseven got shuffled back down the rotation and was completely out of it in the playoffs. But that wasn’t before he played in 56 games. I expect Yurtseven to have a bigger, more consistent role this season and could even be a regular starter.
Can Duncan Robinson Rebound?
Duncan Robinson had a very down year last year. It got down enough that was bumped from the starting lineup onto the bench and was not even in the rotation during the playoffs. Robinson has been seen for a while as a defensive liability. But his elite shooting ability is what gives him value. However, his shooting numbers dropped significantly last season. Even with all of the injuries that Miami had he could not be relied upon. Some people have begun to view him as expendable and his name was frequently brought up during trade talks throughout the offseason. He very much needs to bounce back this season.
Sparse Roster Changes
As I talked about earlier, there were very few changes made to the Heat’s roster during the offseason. P.J. Tucker left and was not really replaced. That is unless you count drafting Nikola Jović with the 27th overall pick in the NBA Draft over the summer as replacing Tucker. I don’t count it as that because they are extremely different players. Tucker is tough and physical and brought a ton of experience. Jović is a good, young prospect, but he is raw.
The 19-year-old Serbian could take some time to develop, but he has tons of promise. He averaged 29.3 points, 10.3 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 1.8 blocks per game while playing 28 minutes per game and shooting 66% from the field and 17% from three while playing in the 2020-21 Euroleague Basketball Next Generation Tournament in the Serbian capital of Belgrade. He won that tournament’s MVP award. Jović shined while playing professionally in Europe over the past year. He was widely viewed as one of the best professional basketball players who wasn’t in the NBA and was named the ABA League Top Prospect.
That is the only change to this roster that was made over the offseason. We will just have to wait and see if it will pay off or if it will come back to bite them.
Who Is The Fifth Starter?
Coming into this season there is a hole in the Heat’s starting lineup. Bam will, of course, be starting at center or power forward. Personally I think that he is better suited as a PF. No matter which one those two positions that he ends up starting at though, the player that fills the other spot is uncertain. Dewayne Dedmon is not a starting-caliber player at this point. Jović is too raw and not ready to immediately play a significant role, much less start. I think that Yurtseven has a serious chance to start. Really the only other option is to start Jimmy Butler at the four and then have another guy out on the wing. But that just does not seem like a good setup. Plus, I wouldn’t think head coach Erik Spoelstra would want to do that anyways.
There is also a question of who starts out on the wing. But at least that one has some clear options. Max Strus, Victor Oladipo, and Duncan Robinson are all possibilities. Oladipo was great in the playoffs last season. There have been calls for Tyler Herro to be moved into the starting lineup, but I still think that the 2021-22 NBA Sixth Man Of The Year is better suited as just that, a sixth man. However, after signing a big 4-year, $130 million extension on Sunday, he is probably now in line to start at shooting guard.
The Heat are widely known for how good they are at developing young players. I have already talked about Ömer Yurtseven and the promising young rookie in Nikola Jović. There are other players that will continue to develop too. Gabe Vincent and Max Strus seemingly get better all of the time, going from barely on the roster to rotation staples and potential/occasional starters. Caleb Martin continues to develop as well. Haywood Highsmith seemed to impress in his limited action last season.
If this team can actually stay healthy this season than they can finish at the top of the East again. Their ceiling is a championship. Their floor is a fifth place finish in the East. I think that they end up finishing third in the conference and making yet another deep playoff run.
Projected Starting Lineup
C – Ömer Yurtseven (5.3 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 0.9 APG, 0.3 SPG, 0.4 BPG)
PF – Bam Adebayo (19.1 PPG, 10.1 RPG, 3.4 APG, 1.4 SPG, 0.8 BPG)
SF – Jimmy Butler (21.4 PPG, 5.9 RPG, 5.5 APG, 1.6 SPG, 0.5 BPG)
SG – Tyler Herro (20.7 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 4.0 APG, 0.7 SPG, 0.1 BPG)
PG – Kyle Lowry (13.4 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 7.5 APG, 1.1 SPG, 0.3 BPG)