The NBA is scheduled to return on July 30th (if all goes according to plan) and the Miami Heat are coming in as underdogs. Flying under the radar might not be the worst thing for a team that returns full strength after suffering numerous injuries in 2020. That coupled with the fabled Heat culture should make Miami a real threat in the Disney Bubble. But what can we expect from the returning Heat roster? Diego and I went through player by player to take a look.
Kendrick Nunn: Although he’s a rookie, the Heat will count on Nunn during the final eight games of the regular season and playoffs. He’ll need to continue the scoring versatility that surprised many of us. He scored 1.1 points per possession on off-the-dribble shots, good for 85 percentile via Synergy. Hopefully, he’ll continue to make strides in passing and defense at Disney. — Diego Quezada
Duncan Robinson: Duncan Robinson was on a tear before the season pause, over his last 10 games played he averaged 5 threes a game and was on pace to set multiple franchise records. As long as his shooting stroke has been unaffected he should pick up where he left off prior to the season pause. His ability to produce instant offense will be a huge threat heading into the playoffs, and in the postseason. - Brandon Di Perno
Jimmy Butler: Butler is arguably the Heat player with the most to prove. Even if you dismiss the idea of him re-signing with the Philadelphia 76ers after it proved to be a bad fit, Butler also turned down a chance to team up with Kawhi Leonard. He signed a max contract and joined a team as its only established star. He’ll need to carry this young team in playoff situations. We can only hope that in addition to operating as the point-forward and offering his defensive prowess, Butler also finds his jumper for a few key playoff games. — Diego Quezada
Meyers Leonard: Before going down with a nasty ankle injury that sidelined him for months, Meyers Leonard was performing very well as a role player. His ability to shoot the three also makes him a big threat for the Heat in terms of spacing. Leonard is a great cutter, and strong finisher. Pairing him back in the starting lineup with Bam will be huge for the Heat. Leonard’s presence in the paint was missed a lot while he was rehabbing his injury and as good as Derrick Jones Jr. has been, I think we can expect Leonard to be back in the starting lineup when the season resumes. - Brandon Di Perno
Bam Adebayo: Bam was having one of the best seasons we’ve ever seen from a Heat big man before the season abruptly stopped. In fact he was having one of the best seasons in the NBA and looked like a shoe in for the NBA’s Most Improved Player. Bam averaged 16.2 pts, 10.5 rebs, and 5 assists this season and notched triple doubles on multiple occasions. According to Cleaning the Glass Bam ranked in the 98th percentile in assist percentage, the 91st percentile in all mid range shots and the 82nd percentile in steal percentage. He is one of the most well rounded players in the NBA.
Bam will no doubt be a focal point for the Heat when the season returns. Miami will rely on him as both a defensive stopper and offensive weapon. We haven’t seen much of Bam in the postseason, but if he’s anything like he was in the regular season other teams should be very afraid. - Brandon Di Perno
Stay tuned for part 2 where Diego and I break down the rest of the Heat reserves.