The Miami Heat starting lineup was due for a change. Especially with Hassan Whiteside out, their lack of size was becoming an issue as Justise Winslow continued to start at power forward.
James Johnson and Kelly Olynyk replaced Winslow and Bam Adebayo in starting lineup. Obviously once Whiteside returns, he will also return to the starting lineup. But I think it’s time the Heat revisit who starts next to him.
And that person should be James Johnson. Johnson appears in the top four 5-man lineups that they Heat are winning the +/-. That means when he is on the court, the Heat more often than not are out playing their opponent. That isn’t all relative to him, but for whatever reason when he is out there, the Heat are playing better.
And seemingly, their best +/- lineup is one of Whiteside, Johnson, Richardson, Waiters and Dragic (table provided by basketball-reference.com). That could potentially be your starting lineup but they have only logged 33 minutes together this season...how is that possible?
The Heat have a few more games to play around with all of this before Whiteside returns. The lineup tha tthe Heat started against the Spurs played pretty well. And it seemed that Tyler Johnson was able to hold his own without James on the court with him. So maybe the brothers Johnson can do their own thing?
All this to say, nothing is set in stone with this team. Nothing should be. They are 11-13 on the season and they need to figure out the right combo to make them successful. Only Dragic and Whiteside should be guaranteed starting spots. Dragic because he is the only point guard on the team, and Whiteside because let’s be honest...he’s going to start.
They Heat should look at James Johnson as a consistent starter because the stats show the Heat are a better team with him on the floor. But if that doesn’t work, keep looking!
Give us your opinion on potential lineup or rotation changes the Heat need to make.