The Miami Heat have a good problem on their hands...multiple options at power forward. And that’s where we turn our attention as we continue our position by position look at the roster as training camp nears.
We’ve already tackled the back court and small forward, you can click on the links below to see what we said about those positions. But for now, with the absence of Chris Bosh no longer a question mark, the Heat do have some contention for the power forward position.
So let’s take a look at what’s going to happen...in my opinion.
The Starter: Kelly Olynyk
Yes, that’s right...questionable and very much so. We already tackled the topic of, “Should James Johnson or Kelly Olynyk start at Power Forward for the Heat?” and 70% of our readers said Olynyk should get the nod. So we aren’t going to go over all of that again. There are pros and cons each way, let’s focus on the goods they bring.
Olynyk brings more skilled size to the Heat’s lineup. A capable rebounder, passer, decent shooter, and excellent ball screener. He’s really everything they had hoped Josh McRoberts would be for the team. Olynyk does not demand the ball. He will shoot off of penetration from another and do the dirty work. He will fit in great with the Heat culture.
His weakness will be his lateral speed. But, everything that Olynyk does is better than what Luke Babbitt did for this team except for 3 point shooting. He’s going to be an improvement in every area except his proficiency there. Babbitt shot 41% last season to Olynyk’s 35%.
He has a good chance of starting. He also has a great chance of playing a number of minutes as the backup center alongside James Johnson at power forward. This is a versatile lineup.
The Reserve: James Johnson
Johnson got his money and returns to the Heat after his most productive year in the NBA. He was really good for the Heat and hopefully continues that. There is an argument for him to start at PF or SF for this team. But his success came in the second unit.
Johnson brings great ball handling to the team and is a playmaker. He was consistent from outside and got others involved. He really brings a lot to the table. The combination of him and Tyler Johnson off the Heat’s bench gives Miami a real scoring punch and energy that is good for them.
The Help: Udonis Haslem and Jordan Mickey
Haslem and Mickey won’t play much. The reason for that is Bam Adebayo will likely see third string minutes as a power forward before them. We are going to list him as a center, but aren’t sure how it will play out. And like I said earlier, you will also see Okaro White play here at PF before these two.
Haslem will continue to mentor and be the voice of this team. His value is not on the court, it is in the locker room. Mickey, just signed, is young and has talent. We just have to see how it all plays out and what opportunities he will have. Expect him to see time in Sioux Falls as well.
Strengths of the position
I think the best strength of the position is going to be how each of these guys provide different qualities to the game. Olynyk is going to give the Heat a physical player, a rugged get under the skin of the opponent type guy. Johnson is going to provide finesse and a well-timed offensive game. It’s going to be good to watch them change the pace, and also play together.
Another strength will have to be depth to some degree. And I say that because Haslem is always going to be there. He is reliable to give 10-12 minutes in any given night. He won’t put up a great box score but he can bring intangibles that lead to winning. Mickey may turn out to be something, Okaro White can play here and the Heat will even play Justise Winslow some at power forward at times in small lineups.
Weaknesses of the position
We are just nitpicking at this point, because the Heat are pretty set, but I would suggest 3-point consistency. Here’s why I say that: both of these guys are capable of hitting from downtown, but neither of them do it efficiently.
James Johnson shot 34% and took 3.4 threes per game last year. Olynyk shot 35% and took 2.6 per game. Neither of them are doing it great, but both feel compelled to pull the trigger. If anything that can be a weakness because there are much better options from deep for the Heat.
What grade would you give the power forward position for the Miami Heat compared to the rest of the NBA?
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