Miami Heat Position Previews is our look at the Heat roster by position examining the strengths and weaknesses. In our pilot article here, we are beginning with the point guard position.
So let’s take a look at how it all is going to unfold.
The Starter: Goran Dragic
Goran Dragic is the clear starter for the Miami Heat at point guard. Making $17 million this season for the team, it only makes sense he is leading the ship from his preferred position.
At 31 years old, Dragic averaged 20.3 PPG and 5.8 APG last year for the Heat, playing 73 games. He shot 40% from deep at 47.5% from the field together. Dragic is a natural point guard looking to work his teammates in and pass the ball around, except for in transition.
In transition he is a full throttle take it to the hole, draw the foul and finish type of player. He is extremely good at creating contact when he drives to the basket and finishes at a high rate with both hands at the rim.
The Reserve: Tyler Johnson
Tyler Johnson is more naturally a shooting guard but required to play point guard some when Dragic is on the bench. You will see a combination of Johnson and Waiters bring up the ball without Dragic and even some of James Johnson as well. But if you have to pick a backup point guard you are going to say it is Tyler Johnson.
Johnson, unlike Dragic is not a natural point guard, is a scorer and not necessarily a gifted ball mover, although he isn’t a ball hog. He more often creates for himself than others. The second unit for the Heat lacks a true point guard but that is not the concern. Johnson is a great scoring punch off the bench and a fierce defender.
The Help: Derrick Walton Jr.
This is up in the air, as Walton will have to compete to make the roster. The Heat could be left without a third point guard, although you could slide Josh Richardson here. In his rookie campaign he played some point guard, but last year played much more on the wing. Walton is an unknown prospect in regards to what he can contribute to the team. If he is on the roster, expect him to be in a suite most nights.
Strengths of the position
Dragic is sturdy. The guy doesn’t miss a lot of time. He will miss a few games for a sprained ankle or two, but he stays healthy and that is huge. The need as much consistency as they can get.
Secondly, Dragic is just a really good player. Now, in today’s NBA there are a lot of good point guards out there. He is close to cracking the list of the top 10 PGs (Curry, Westbrook, Paul, Lowry, Thomas, Irving, Lillard, Wall, Conley, Walker...notably). So there is a comfortable feel when your point guard is in the top half of players for his position. He can score, pass and even motivate your team.
And Tyler Johnson is ascending on people’s charts as well. You might even classify him as a top 20 point guard...that’s a little more questionable, but go ahead and list ten more you think are more efficient and valuable on both ends of the floor. You might be surprised where he falls (my next ten: Bledsoe, Teague, G. Hill, L. Williams, Rubio, Johnson, Rose, Schroder, Mills, Payton)
Weaknesses of the position
You begin to see the weakness when Dragic is not on the floor. And at 31, you shouldn’t expect Dragic to play more than 33 minutes per night on average. That leaves 15 minutes that could go fine, but also could not because the only person capable of calming things down when they go really wrong is Dion Waiters, and he calms things down but iso.
So the big weakness is a lack of true point guard behind Dragic. Beyond that, your next obvious weakness is going to be defending really quick guards: Isaiah Thomas, Steph Curry, Kemba Walker, etc.) Dragic can do his best on regular size guards, but those smaller and quicker, crafty ones even like Kyle Lowry become a big problem.
All together, the point guard position is ready to go for the Miami Heat. There isn’t any surprise who will start and who will finish and who’s going to fill in the gap. The only question that will arise is in case of an injury the depth is not great.
Stay tuned for the report on Shooting Guard.
But in the meantime, let us know what you think of the Heat’s point guard position!
What Grade would you give the Heat Point Guard position compared to the rest of the NBA?
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