It was just in October where the world was watching an underdog Heat make the Finals with a gritty and hungry identity led by veteran forward Jimmy Butler. All of us would’ve predicted going this season as the Heat identified as one of the powerhouses in the Eastern Conference. Eventually, as to how they went out, the Heat are in a lot of questions right now with their roster and future in place. Now, how did a team go from a contending finals team to a borderline playoff team within months? Let’s look back and find out.
A Shortened Offseason
The apparent 71-day offseason was a painfully short turnaround for the Miami Heat and Los Angeles Lakers. Both teams had only 20 weeks to prepare both mentally and physically for the resumption of the season. Eventually, both the Heat and Lakers finished their season on a first-round exit, which concerns the impact on a non-existent offseason. In addition, we have the Boston Celtics and the Toronto Raptors, once powerhouses last season, falter this year with underachieving results.
With strict protocols placed, the Miami Heat suffered an inconsistent roster due to the league’s Contract Tracing rules. The Heat never found the right chemistry to mix within the players due to multiple players unable to play in most games and injuries. It didn’t favor Miami in any way, as at one point in the season, the Heat were seven games below .500. During the second half of the season, the Heat started to develop some rhythm. Luckily, the Heat went on a tear during the last stretch of the season to still end up sixth at the conference.
I wouldn’t say that the Heat were the favorites coming into the series with the Bucks. But, it was surprising seeing the way Milwaukee dismantled Miami from the team they beat in last year’s playoffs. The Heat, known for that “Heat Culture”, looked lousy out there. There wasn’t much fight and heart in this team which is ironic considering Jimmy Butler leads them. The lack of effort in both ends led to many blowout losses with the Bucks, losing an average of 21 points per game.
The motto for Pat Riley heading into this season was to “Run it back”. They kept their roster pretty much like the Bubble season, which wasn’t that great of an idea. Compared to the Bucks, the series showed more so on how the Bucks improved from last year than Miami’s downfall this season.
The Miami Heat are in one of the most exciting offseasons seeing their cap breakdown today. With only six players guaranteed to return, we could see a big roster change for the next year. It could be attractive how it would play out seeing the much-needed change the Heat needs to repeat the success of the bubble season.
In this year’s offseason, these are some questions that might be interesting to ask for the Heat:
- How much should they allocate to the resigning of both Duncan Robinson and Kendrick Nunn?
- What is the play with Tyler Herro?
- With Jimmy Butler’s struggles in the recent matchup with the Bucks, what would be the situation regarding his contract extension with the Heat?
- Is it still worth it to bring Victor Oladipo?