The Miami Heat have a lot of room for improvement. After a 5-game exit in the first round to the upstart Philadelphia 76ers, the Heat were shown weaknesses and deficiencies as a team they need to work on.
But here, we are going to take a look at the 10 players who are under contract to return next season and talk about what each one has to do to take their game to the next level the Heat needs.
There are so many things to chose from here, especially with the way the season ended. But if you are asking for one thing for him to work on and improve it would be post moves. Whiteside has a decent little jumper that we don’t want him to use. It’s really hard to work on lateral quickness for his size, which is what toasted him against Philly.
What he needs is 2-3 dominant post moves that he is comfortable with using. Post moves that aren’t him trying to bully people — but ones that are smooth, slick and un-guardable. Adding this to his arsenal would be make the Heat a little better.
I don’t even know what to put here. We know what he is and what he isn’t. But if there was one thing to add to his game it would be better isolation play. Before the Heat had D-Wade, they had no one (other than Waiters) who could really create their own shot when needed.
Dragic has a step back, but it’s not always that great of separation. He could help the team by adding some better isolation play to get the Heat out of holes they find themselves in.
The most glaring weakness in his game is his lack of confidence in his pull up mid range game. Johnson is a reliable three point shooter, although he only shot 30% this year. He can keep the defense honest. Where they are not honest is in his mid range.
Teams sagged off of JJ from the three to the free throw line knowing he didn’t want to shoot that. And that may not be the Heat’s primary offense, but he has to be able to keep the defense honest to him when getting places. Let’s work on the mid range game JJ.
TJ is a pretty solid NBA player, I like what he brings to the team. I don’t like it for $19 million a season, which is what is about to happen. Tyler’s next step is to learn how to earn a trip to the free throw line. He’s getting to the FT line 1.8 times per game right now. He needs to help the team by drawing contact.
Whether it be develop and implement a pump fake game or learning to initiate contact, that’s his next step. He shoots the ball well and can typically be assertive when playing, but he’s got to make his money worth it by providing some additional benefits for the team.
Josh has been getting better and better. But if I noticed one thing this season, which was glaringly on display in the post season was that J-Rich tends to be handsy and foul often, even when unnecessary. So that’s what I would say, play defense without fouling.
Besides Olynyk, Richardson averaged the most fouls per game at 2.5 for the Heat. In and of itself that’s not a big deal, but recognizing the time, and score when playing physical and gambling are things to learn from as a young player. It’s time for him to play great defense without going over the top. Oh and stop arguing every call.
Defense, Kelly. Just play a bunch of defense on big guys. That’s the one weak link I can see right now is when he’s playing physical players, He has to learn to defend without fouling unless it’s smart. This could be as simple as spending some time with Shane Battier who did this really well.
But Kelly has to often play stronger players when he moves to center and there could be some improvement here.
I’m just going to say shooting in general here. Winslow made a decent stride this year in his production and also his confident in his shot. 38% from three is a great move forward for him. But 42% from the field isn’t good enough, especially with how much he attacks.
Winslow played less minutes this season and was more productive. But he needs to make another jump forward with his shot, whether that is from deep, in general or even the FT line (63%), there needs to be improvement.
There was a game earlier in the year at Indiana that Adebayo played particularly well. And it begin with him hitting catch and shoot jumpers. If Bam can learn to hit 8-14 foot shots, the Heat could find themselves again battling a minutes tug between him and Whiteside.
Adebayo showed great promise on defense, lobs and rebounding. But on the offensive side, if he could catch a baseline shot and make it consistently (cough Udonis Haslem prime years), then that would be beautiful.
Rodney had a short season and so I’m sure he has plenty to work on. He is a solid defender and smart player. But right now he’s limited to just being a spot up three point shooter in offense.
His goal shot be to learn to score on some Rip Hamilton type curls in the mid range. That would be a lethal weapon for the Heat in tandem with Wayne Ellington, if he returns.
Well, first and foremost: get healthy. But after that, let’s talk about efficiency, finishing and shot selection. Waiters took the second most FGA per game during his 30 games last season, second to Dragic. But he shot 39% from the field and 30% from three. That cannot be acceptable from a premier talent. I mean, Winslow had significantly better shooting numbers than that.
All that to say, Waiters needs to be more efficient in his scoring, something maybe Dwyane Wade can teach him if he is still around.