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The Heat excelled in preseason. Will it matter?

Jimmy Butler played in just two exhibition games.

Boston Celtics v Miami Heat Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

The Miami Heat finished the preseason with a 5-1 record. Tyler Herro took on the sixth man role with aplomb, scoring more than 20 points in four games. Kyle Lowry already catalyzed a quicker pace for Miami, a welcome sign. Max Strus played like a serviceable backup wing.

But it is the preseason. Does any of it matter?

Of course, NBA teams don’t necessarily play to win preseason games. The main goals are to avoid injuries, build good habits and form cohesion with new players.

For young players fighting for roster spots, the preseason takes on added significance. Now, the Heat came into the preseason with their two-way roster spots already filled — Marcus Garrett and Caleb Martin. As Matt Pineda mentioned, though, the Heat could convert Martin’s contract into a standard deal and add Micah Potter or another G-League player for the second two-way spot.

On most levels, Miami’s preseason comes away as a success. (Also of note — the Heat went 4-1 in the 2019-20 preseason, with the one loss coming in the preseason finale that saw Kendrick Nunn score 40 points.) Miami’s one loss came when the team rested almost all of their rotation players and even held out young players like Omer Yurtseven and Garrett.

My one (minor) concern coming out of training camp is that Butler played in just two exhibition games. I understand why Miami did it — Butler is 32 years old, has a history of missing games here and there with injuries and just signed a huge extension. Avoiding a preseason injury was paramount.

But at the same time, both preseason games with Butler — on the road against the Houston Rockets and at home against the Boston Celtics — included multiple first-quarter turnovers. Hopefully that’ll get cleaned up when the games start to count and as the rotation spends more time playing together.

Miami’s preseason made me more excited for the start of the season. Let the games begin.