The Heat are coming off a season where things could not have gone any better. Butler’s first season in Miami was worthy of an All-Star selection and Bam Adebayo made the jump into stardom. The contributions of rookie Tyler Herro and sharpshooter Duncan Robinson helped elevate the team to their first Finals appearance since losing in 2014 to the Spurs. High expectations abound as the team looks to back up their great year with another solid campaign.
Miami didn’t end up making too many moves this off-season due to the stalemate they find themselves in. The team has been rumored to be one of the top destinations for two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo if he decides to leave Milwaukee, so cap flexibility is extremely important. The contractual obligations the team has currently won’t handicap them into not being able to sign the Greek Freak. They’re smart to do so.
The first order of business for the team was the draft. Miami ended up with the 20th pick and made an intriguing selection. I thought they might go with Tyrese Maxey given the organization’s success in drafting Kentucky guys. Instead, the Heat selected Memphis big man Precious Achiuwa. Precious is a super athlete and has plenty of room to grow his game similar to Adebayo. The pairing of the two may not be seamless, but I don’t think Pat Riley cares about that. Most people believe Miami did well in getting someone with such a tantalizing skill set for a roster as talented as theirs; I agree. He may not play much this season, but Achiuwa presents himself as a great asset going forward.
Like I said before, the team is waiting to see what Giannis does before they make any major moves. They did end up resigning Bam, locking him up for the next five years. The money owed to Adebayo means there will be some maneuvering involved if Antetokounmpo does end up in a Heat uniform next year. Other than that, the team looked to replace a few pieces and resign some rotational players. Meyers Leonard and Goran Dragic both received extensions from the team for one year with a team option for the 2021-22 season. Miami adding the extensions to the contracts act as a backup in case Giannis isn’t on the market. The two other signings the team made were veterans Maurice Harkless and Avery Bradley. Neither of those moves are all that exciting, but they will have roles on this team and should pay them quite well.
The Heat may have outplayed themselves last season by getting to the Finals. I’m not saying last season was a fluke by any means, but I don’t expect them to have that same level of success. The roster is well constructed around Jimmy with young players who could get even better this season. And, of course, we can’t forget about the Heat culture. This team should be situated comfortably in the playoff mix while competing for homecourt advantage.