The offseason has arrived for the Miami Heat, who were swept out of the first round in the NBA playoffs by the Milwaukee Bucks — losing their four games by a combined 82 points.
Before we deep dive into everything regarding the future months for this team, let’s discuss the seasons for Heat players who played and finished on the 2020-21 Heat roster.
For our 13th player review — conducted in alphabetical order — we will look a guard Victor Oladipo. Here’s the previous 12 Heat players we’ve reviewed:
- Precious Achiuwa
- Bam Adebayo
- Trevor Ariza
- Nemanja Bjelica
- Jimmy Butler
- Dewayne Dedmon
- Goran Dragic
- Udonis Haslem
- Tyler Herro
- Andre Iguodala
- Kendrick Nunn
- KZ Okpala
Let’s dive into it!
2020-21 Heat stats (4 games):
- 12.0 PPG
- 3.5 RPG
- 3.5 APG
- 37.2 field goal percentage
- 47.1 true shooting percentage
- 8.1 player efficiency rating
Dating back to last offseason, Oladipo’s name was consistently linked to the Heat. After nine games, the Indiana Pacers dealt Oladipo to the Houston Rockets in the three-team deal blockbuster trade that sent James Harden from Houston to the Brooklyn Nets. After that deal, The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor reported that Oladipo still wanted to end up with Miami. It eventually came together: Miami acquired Oladipo for Kelly Olynyk, Avery Bradley and a 2022 lottery-protected first-round pick swap at the trade deadline. He was limited to just four games with the Heat after suffering his second torn right quadriceps of his NBA career. It resulted in season-ending offseason knee surgery, missing the team’s final 20 regular season games.
Numbers to note:
14 - Part of what made Oladipo an enticing fit next to Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo was his stout two-way reputation. Before the quadriceps injuries wrecked his last three seasons, Oladipo led the league in steals in the 2017-18 with 2.4 per game; he was fourth in the league in total deflections (283) and deflections per game (3.8). In just four contests with Miami, Oladipo recorded 14 total deflections — equating to 3.5 per game.
Even with the recent injury history, Oladipo’s quick-twitch instincts and active hands still make him an above-average defender across the Association. It’ll be a while before he shakes that reputation.
63.6 - Oladipo had sub-optimal shooting efficiency in the limited sample — as evident with his 37.2 field-goal percentage and 47.1 true-shooting percentage in South Beach. But what he did display was his ability to knife through defenses and getting downhill. The 6-foot-4 guard averaged nine drives per game, fourth-most on the team per NBA.com. In such opportunities, he shot the ball at a 63.6 percent clip.
April 8 vs Los Angeles Lakers
Prior to his injury, Oladipo’s abrupt stint with the Heat was a perfect representation of someone climbing a steep hill, or someone perfecting a new task: The more time that elapsed, the better and more acclimated Oladipo looked.
His best game with Miami came in his final one, tallying 18 points on 5-of-8 shooting, including 2-of-3 from beyond the arc. He added four rebounds, two assists, three steals and one block.
Oladipo, an unrestricted free agent, had offseason knee surgery to repair his torn right quadriceps. The unfortunate timing of the injury means he could be cleared for full contact in November, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Training camps will open in Sept. while the planned date to open the 2021-22 regular season will be on Oct. 19.
Wojnarowski notes Jonathan Glashow, who performed the surgery, and Heat trainers will work in concert with Oladipo during rehab. Take that information as you will, but it’s very possible that he could still return — likely on a one- to two-year team-friendly deal. Adding another downhill bucket-getter — who also defends at a high level — next to Adebayo and Butler was sorely missed for much of the season. Oladipo would’ve provided just that. If he’s returns, it’ll be interesting to see if he reinvigorates life into the squad similar to how he did before his injury.