After the breaking news this morning of the Miami Heat acquiring both Kevin Love and Cody Zeller, additional news on starting PG Kyle Lowry was reported. Lowry, who has missed the last few games from knee soreness, has seen improvement and plans to be back in the Miami line up by the end of February. The Heat only have 3 games left for this month of February so expect him to be available in at least 1 of those games.
More Heat news: per source, Kyle Lowry has hope of returning to the Miami lineup by the end of the month (which would indicate his knee soreness is improving). The picture with Lowry will become much clearer in the coming days, but there are encouraging signs.— Tim Reynolds (@ByTimReynolds) February 19, 2023
Also, this likely means Orlando Robinson's two-way contract won't be converted and that the Heat expects Kyle Lowry to return soon. https://t.co/0Bo43053md— Anthony Chiang (@Anthony_Chiang) February 19, 2023
Lowry has gotten a lot of hate from Heat Twitter over the past weeks after some rocky performances in games. However, his downplay could have definitely been impacted by that knee soreness. It seemed as if something was clearly off with Lowry, as he was almost a non factor in multiple games leading up to the All-Star Break. Finally, he was shut down due to knee soreness.
It has to be obvious that he was trying to play through that soreness, but his effect on the court wasn’t worth playing through the pain. It made sense to just keep Lowry sidelined completely until he made progress on that lingering injury. With extended time off due to the break plus missing some games even prior to the break could have given Lowry some much needed rest to somewhat get back to his old form. By old form I don’t even mean Raptors Kyle Lowry, I mean how Lowry looked last season and at some points in between.
Even this season, although he has been inconsistent, he has had some vintage performances. Who actually knows just how long Lowry was playing through a knee injury? As the whole Heat roster has been injury-riddled pretty much the entire season, Lowry figured as a leader on the team he needed to be available. As a fan you have to appreciate the effort from the veteran PG to play through it, but it got to a point where this nagging knee soreness was making Lowry unplayable.
The former all-star is averaging 12.0 PPG, 5.3 APG and 1.1 STLS on only 40% shooting and 33% from 3 point range.
Now, with him having plenty time off to progress from that soreness, he should at least be able to contribute something to this Heat team. It’s not like he was that far off from once being a consistent positive impact for Miami. Just a season ago he helped lead this same Heat team to the number 1 seed in the East. He even had some strong performances in the playoffs playing through a banged up hamstring.
With Lowry being fully healthy and engaged, it could bring success back to Miami in terms of climbing up the standings. Miami, currently the 7th seed in the East, is only .5 games behind the 6th seeded New York Knicks and 2.5 games behind the 5th seeded Brooklyn Nets. Landing either seed could avoid the play-in game for the Heat, and if they can get to the 5th seed especially, they can make some noise in a 4/5 matchup with Cleveland.
Being able to avoid playing all three of the Boston Celtics, Milwaukee Bucks, and Philadelphia 76ers in the first round could be big. If they indeed do end up snagging a 5th seed, they made the NBA Finals the last time they were in that exact spot in the standings in 2020. Having a fully healthy Lowry can help make that possible. With the additions of Kevin Love and Cody Zeller, the Heat when healthy, are looking at a possible depth chart of:
PG: Kyle Lowry
SG: Tyler Herro
SF: Jimmy Butler
PF: Kevin Love
C: Bam Adebayo
PG: Gabe Vincent
SG: Victor Oladipo
SF: Caleb Martin
PF: Max Strus/ Haywood Highsmith
C: Cody Zeller/ Omer Yurtseven
A perfect combination of vets and youth to go along with shooting, playmaking and defense in the starting unit. With Victor Oladipo leading the bench as the team’s sixth man. Bringing in Love can also allow Caleb Martin to excel as a back up SF, his more natural position, similar to how he did last season. Martin can still play PF off the bench, but being the same height at 6’5 as Strus makes it more possible that Martin plays as a wing again, where he excels the most.
Report: Kyle Lowry prepared to do ‘whatever role is asked of him’ with Miami Heat https://t.co/VJr2qYUIpR— Heat Nation (@HeatNationCom) February 19, 2023
Lowry’s performance as a starter off of his injury could determine whether he remains a starter for the long haul. Coach Erik Spoelstra could always choose to plug Vincent back in there with Lowry backing him up as a veteran presence off the bench.