No Miami Heat fan who paid attention this season thought this team could compete for a title. But fresh off signing Kevin Love and Cody Zeller, an optimistic Heat fan could’ve thought Miami would make a push and grab the fifth seed. The Heat could’ve then defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers in the first round.
It was always going to be a regression after last season’s 53-win, No. 1 seed finish and trip to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals. But a second-round exit is at least respectable.
We’ve now seen two embarrassing losses post-All-Star break — Friday to a Milwaukee Bucks team that saw Giannis Antetokounmpo leave in the first quarter and last night to the Charlotte Hornets, a team that had just 18 wins coming into the night. The same issues that plagued Miami all season continued over the weekend.
The Heat’s shooting continues to disappoint. The supporting cast around Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo and Tyler Herro remains too anemic to buttress them. Miami has averaged just 103 points over their last six games. The defense, which was a strength this season, even suffered for portions of these last two losses.
This is why the Heat's main issue is shooting. So many poss they do EXACTLY what you'd want from anyone - beat someone off the dribble, collapse the def, make a skip pass from a PnR, get a paint touch for a drive kick— John Jablonka (@JohnJablonka_) February 26, 2023
They get so many open C&S from the corner, just can't make it pic.twitter.com/ieykreo0v7
Still in the seventh seed, the play-in tournament has become a plausible reality. We knew enough going into the trade deadline that this team needed an overhaul. These last two games have only confirmed it.
Given the opportunity with Kyle Lowry’s recent absence, Gabe Vincent has shown that he’s not the answer at point guard. After last season, many thought Max Strus could fill in for the role Duncan Robinson played in 2019-20 and 2020-21. Robinson shot better than 40 percent from 3 on high volume both seasons. But Strus has had a down year. And Robinson hasn’t come close to his play from a few seasons ago.
Last 15 games for the Heat pic.twitter.com/mIgEhucOZS— Christian Hernandez《TYR/TYP/SSE》 (@ICanBeYourHerro) February 25, 2023
The one wild card coming into the season, Victor Oladipo, remains a far cry from his All-NBA season in 2018. He’s shot a combined 1-for-12 in the Heat’s last two games. He doesn't even seem like someone capable of playing the sixth man role. He plays well defensively, but Miami could use a two-way player.
Many Heat fans want to fast-forward to the off-season. It’s hard to blame them.