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Miami Heat’s Bench Presence: A Proven Depth and Rotation

Tyler Herro and Duncan Robinson are key pieces to Miami's bench.

The Miami Heat’s bench presence has the potential to be a driving key element down the stretch as they aim for another deep playoff run.

Miami Heat’s Bench Presence: A Proven Depth and Rotation

Figuring Out Miami’s Front Five

We all know the commonly held opinion that a deep bench can be a catalyst for playoff success. For many teams, the sixth man and the bench are the x-factors to winning playoff games. Miami Heat’s bench doesn’t boast any five-star depth talent. However, their bench does include high-level defense and strong three-point shooting caliber players.

Since the trade deadline, a healthy Heat starting lineup typically sees Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo, Terry Rozier, and Duncan Robinson in four of the five starting positions. That final spot has seen some rotation due to injuries. With Tyler Herro having been out for a significant period, that final spot has seen Jaime Jaquez Jr. or Nikola Jovic slide in.

Tyler Herro Is the Second Unit Leader The Heat Need

Starting Jovic seems to be the more productive option as he has size and strength on the defensive end but can also shoot the three and post up at the other end. Having a fully healthy Herro back is a massive upgrade. Since returning from injury last week against the Houston Rockets, he hasn’t missed a beat, averaging 23 ppg. His sixth-man status and 40% three-point shooting are the perfect depth punch off the bench. Heat head coach Eric Spoelstra can go with Herro or Robinson in the starting rotation. Duncan’s impact as a ball handler and self-shot creator isn’t at the level of Herro’s. Bringing Herro in with the second unit over Duncan gives Spoelstra an immediate scoring threat off the bench.

Miami’s Back End Bench Players Starring In Their Roles

Team rotations usually tend to shrink in the playoffs. Miami Heat’s bench and starting rotation can shrink to a nine or ten-man rotation. Caleb Martin was on fire from long range in Miami’s playoff run last year alongside former Heat wing player Max Strus. Unfortunately, Strus left in free agency to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Martin is a capable spot-up shooter and perimeter defender in a second-unit bench role. His 2023–2024 regular season hasn’t reflected his last year’s playoff success, but Martin can get hot once he gets his rhythm. He could see his court time off the Miami Heat’s bench rise in the coming weeks if his production can mirror last year. The same could be said for a long-time veteran Kevin Love. Even in his sunset years, Love can still defend at a high enough level that coach Spoelstra can trust him with playing time.

Trusting Jaime Jaquez Jr. Is A Good Call

A pleasant surprise for Miami this year has been the emergence and solid play of Jaquez, the first-year rookie. Since the regular season’s opening game, Spoelstra has trusted Jaquez with the ball. Spoelstra ran a designed play for him and Robinson in that game, mimicking a play that Jaquez ran at UCLA. Jaquez’s playing time has been inconsistent throughout the season. He has mostly split his playing time coming off the Miami Heat bench and starting due to injuries. Jaquez has clearly shown the Heat coaching staff that he’s smart with the ball and can produce when called upon.

Coach Spoelstra’s X-Factor Decision

A starting lineup anchored by Butler, Adebayo, and Rozier, surrounded by Jovic and Duncan, is a solid front rotation. Herro should lead the Miami Heat’s bench. Martin’s shooting and defense and Kevin Love’s playoff experience and leadership could be critical. Patty Mills and Haywood Highsmith also bring shooting and additional depth to the table. If Eric Spoelstra decides to condense his rotation, that decision could be an x-factor-type decision for Miami.


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