The Miami Heat are 21 games into the season, just about a quarter of the way into the full 82 game regular season. So it’s time for us to take a look at how things are going.
RECORD, STANDINGS and STATS
10th in the Eastern Conference
PPG: 100.0 (26th in NBA)
RPG: 48.2 (18th in NBA)
APG: 20.8 (23rd in NBA)
OPP PPG: 102.9 (8th in NBA)
Points: Goran Dragic (18 PPG)
Rebounds: Hassan Whiteside (12.7 RPG)
Assists: Goran Dragic (4.5 APG)
Steals: Josh Richardson (1.3 SPG)
Blocks: Hassan Whiteside (1.6 BPG)
Significant Injuries: Rodney McGruder — has not played this season due to surgery on a stress fracture.
The Highs and Lows
The Heat have been an infuriating team to watch because they have shown to be capable of playing with anyone and also not worthy to be trusted with the easiest of opponents. Miami ended the Boston Celtics 16 game win streak and played with great energy. Just a few nights before, they lost by 25 points at home to the Indiana Pacers.
They can hold Karl-Anthony Towns to a minimum and beat the Timberwovles and then have to go toe-to-toe with the Chicago Bulls. They have been up and down and their play has been very inconsistent. You know this, I am just pointing it out.
The Uncertain Lineup
The Heat have started the same 4 players everytime they are healthy with Josh Richardson and Dion Waiters joining Goran Dragic and Hassan Whiteside. But in the power forward spot, which we spent a lot of debating in the off season has not been won by any of the preferred candidates. Justise Winslow has started 13 games there, more than anyone else.
James Johnson has started 5 and Kelly Olynyk has started 1. Okaro White even started 4 games there. The Heat are paying two guys $50 million to come off the bench in that role. And Winslow is very undersized for the position although he has had some success. The move to small ball has then left rookie Bam Adebayo out of any regular rotation because Olynyk slides to backup center.
The Heat have settled on Winslow in the starting lineup but it does not feel like this is the set lineup and there is room for experimentation.
AAA not a productive home court
The Heat have a loosing record at home at 4-5. They got to start the season with a 6 game home stand and did not take advantage of it. They have played better on the road in many aspects and this is not a recipe for success.
Shaquille O’Neal always said the key to a good regular season record is t dominate and take of business at home and be .500 on the road. If the Heat could get their act together when in Miami, they could be sitting in the middle of the playoff standings right now.
Progress Report: The Heat are unstable right now.
The ship is not lost, the Heat have time to fix many of their issues. They are only 2 games out of 5th place in the East. Even amid their issues, they are not far behind. But the expectations for the Heat were not to be a .500 team. The 30-11 finish to the season created promise and higher expectations. Realistically the Heat should be more like 13-8 right now on the season and we would all be much more content.