Following a huge week of free agency moves, Miami Heat‘s roster will look decidedly different during the 2021-22 NBA season, and league experts are already predicting the team’s revamped starting lineup.
While predictions made in August are simply educated guesses, barring any injuries or illnesses, it’s hard to imagine the Heat’s starting lineup being anything else than what’s already being projected.
The latest Heat news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Heat newsletter here!
Both Bleacher Report and South Florida Sun Sentinel‘s Ira Winderman have predicted the following mix of veteran stars and new player additions will make up the Heat’s starting five: Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo, Kyle Lowry, Duncan Robinson, and P.J. Tucker.
If those are the starting five, which is quite an impressive lineup, Winderman surmised that the next three players to come off the bench will be Tyler Herro, Markieff Morris and Dewayne Dedmon. Beyond that, its most untested (Max Strus, Gabe Vincent, Omer Yurtseven, KZ Okpala).”
Bleacher Report‘s Zach Buckley has great expectations for the Heat’s new lineup. “No team raised its ceiling more than Miami this offseason, and no signing meant more to that rise than Lowry,” Buckley wrote.
ESPN‘s Zach Lowe agrees with Buckley that adding the six-time All-Star was the perfect move for the Heat. “A healthy Lowry is almost a perfect fit next to Butler and [Bam] Adebayo,” Lowe wrote. “He is a more accurate and prolific 3-point shooter than [Goran] Dragic, and a much stronger defender.”
The Return of Victor Oladipo Could Shake Up the Starting 5
It’s easy to forget about Victor Oladipo, considering the 29-year-old guard only appeared in four games before suffering a season-ending injury last season, but his return to full health could absolutely shake up the projected starting lineup.
The Heat took a gamble resigning Oladipo, who requires ample time to rehab his second quadriceps injury before he’s back on the court. Despite not being expected to play until 2022, Miami signed the guard to a one-year, veteran’s minimum contract, per Sports Illustrated.
On August 20, however, Dr. Jonathon Glashow, who performed Oladipo’s season-ending surgery, revealed Miami’s gamble on the two-time All-Star was not in vain and that Oladipo is expected to be back in action before the new year.
“I repaired the quad tendon and did it a little differently than [he had] it done before,” Dr. Glashow told ESPN. “The quad wasn’t really hooked up. It was torn, and I reattached it. I was amazed he was playing with what he had. I’m very optimistic that I could clear him in six months, by November. I think he’s going to play really well again… [The surgery] went extremely well, and it’s healing beautifully. I’m confident he’ll play next year.”
Oladipo first joined the Heat on March 25. In order to obtain him from the Houston Rockets, the Heat sent over in exchange Avery Bradley, Kelly Olynyk, and a 2022 draft pick.
Miami Heat’s 2021-22 NBA Roster So Far
The Heat said goodbye to Kendrick Nunn, Andre Iguodala, Trevor Ariza, and Nemanja Bjelica this summer, and lost Goran Dragic and Precious Achiuwa in the deal that brought Lowry to Miami.
While the Heat could add a 15th player before the season starts, it seems unlikely. Per NBA rules, the Heat are also not required to add a 15th player.
The following 14 players are locked in for the Heat’s 2021-22 NBA season:
Kyle Lowry, Jimmy Butler, Udonis Haslem, Bam Adebayo, Tyler Herro, Duncan Robinson, P.J. Tucker, Gabe Vincent, Max Strus, KZ Okapala, Dewayne Dedmon, Markieff Morris, Victor Oladipo, and Omer Yurtseven.