The Miami Heat’s official Twitter account released a video of Kyle Lowry meeting Pat Riley and Erik Spoelstra and touring the newly renamed FTX Arena. The 2019 NBA champion said he wants to “take this organization back to” the level of winning championships.
Miami will count on the 35-year-old, after agreeing to terms with him on a three-year, $85 million contract. Can he deliver, form a triumvirate with Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo and lift the Heat back into title contention? (It was Goran Dragic who admirably filled the third option role during the 2020 playoffs, whom the Heat traded for Lowry.)
Although Lowry slots in as the third option on this team, this Big Three is far different from other Big Threes, such as the LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh one. Butler and Adebayo can both dominate games without scoring 20 points. In the Heat’s first-round sweep over the Indiana Pacers in 2020, Dragic led Miami in scoring. Lowry will have to lead the Heat in scoring sometimes for the Heat to win.
A couple weeks ago, Zach Lowe called Lowry “a more accurate and prolific 3-point shooter than Dragic, and a much stronger defender.” Those two areas signal the most significant upgrades from Dragic to Lowry, especially with Butler and Adebayo operating as non-shooters and uneven defenders Tyler Herro and Duncan Robinson in the rotation.
But Lowe added that Lowry’s age makes this championship window tight. “Even minor slippage from Lowry torpedoes that plan,” he said.
As I’ve said before, the Heat passed on the opportunity to trade for a 34-year-old Chris Paul in 2019 — a big mistake. Of course, Paul is a better basketball player than Lowry — one has made 11 All-Star appearances, the other six. But Lowry doesn’t need to be Paul, he just needs to be himself. That would be enough to compete with the Milwaukee Bucks and Brooklyn Nets.