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Miami Heat Position Preview: Power Forward

Let’s take a look at the Heat’s power forward position as we get closer to the season.

Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Here’s the next installment of our look at the Miami Heat roster in our position-by-position preview. We will take a look at each position and see what we can expect as the season gets closer.

Here, we are looking at the most glaring position on the roster, power forward. The biggest difference between this year’s Miami Heat and last is going to be the absence of their starting power forward: PJ Tucker. He spurned the East runner-ups to join the Philadelphia 76ers on a 3-year deal.

Now, the glaring hole in the Heat’s rotation is the starting power forward. Some are suggesting that maybe Bam Adebayo is going to move down to that spot, but until we get great evidence that is the case, we aren’t ready to talk about that.

The Starter: Caleb Martin
Status: Likely

That leaves Martin the most likely to jump into that spot for the Heat. He re-signed with Miami and spent the offseason looking to get bigger and stronger for this new role. But he’s still just 6’5” and will be at a disadvantage on many levels — but he doesn’t think about it as much as we do.

“People act as if I wasn’t guarding fours last year,” Martin said. “The thing is the way we guard them is, ‘OK, cool. This guy is going to be bigger than me. He’s going to post-up. I’m going to make sure he doesn’t catch the ball. I’m going to front the post and I know I have somebody behind me.’ “Nobody is just throwing me around and I’ll be able to still compete on the glass with those guys. I’m going to do my job to the best of my ability. The way we play defense, it’s not one-on-one.”

Martin rose his three-point percentage to over 41% last year, which is great considering how good he is on defense. If the Heat are able to make up for his lack of size — which lets be honest, PJ Tucker was only 6’5” as well, just a lot stronger than Caleb — then they could find themselves in another position where they truly are playing positionless basketball.

With the flexbility of Jimmy Butler, he may find himself playing the four when Caleb goes to the bench and the Heat bring in one of Strus or Robinson to play the wing.

The Reserves: Haywood Highsmith
Highsmith is a stretch 4 and had some nice moments, he will benefit from a full training camp and continuous work with the Heat staff. But he’s not ready to be a full-time contributor for this team, especially in the postseason. Not yet.

The Help: Nikola Jovic and Udonis Haslem
The help has a little bit of both. Don’t expect to see Haslem much at all. We know why he’s there. But Jovic — he should get some run at some point to see what he’s got in the tank. Again, he’s not going to be on the Heat’s level of defensive IQ to be a contributor yet. He’s too young and raw. But, they’ll give him some chances and see where they take him.

Strengths of The Position

Versatility. Each of these guys brings something different. Caleb brings athleticism and defense. Highsmith brings a smooth shot. And Jovis brings some length and ball handling skills. We should see all of it at different times.

Weaknesses of the position

Depth. There is not one single true power forward on this team with the exception of Udonis Haslem and he ain’t playing. Martin, Highsmith and Jovic are all interesting pieces, but there are teams that will bully-ball Miami and probably force them to play Bam at the four.

Depth is a concern, but it doesn’t have to be the end of the story here.



What grade would you give the Heat’s power forward position compared to the rest of the NBA?

This poll is closed

  • 3%
    (13 votes)
  • 14%
    (57 votes)
  • 53%
    (215 votes)
  • 28%
    (115 votes)
400 votes total Vote Now

The concerns are valid, but the Heat are also in a position to see how this works, and they have trade pieces to acquire someone later on if they deem it necessary.

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