The Miami Heat came one possession away from advancing to their sixth NBA Finals since 2011 last season, but Jimmy Butler’s missed three-point shot sent them home from the playoffs early. After coming so close to winning another title last year, Many people thought this could be the season that the Heat took the next step.
But it has been a slow start for Miami, who has a record of 8-11 on the year, sitting in 12th place in the Eastern Conference standings. Much of their slow start can be attributed to their roster being wracked by injuries. Duncan Robinson, Tyler Herro, Gabe Vincent, Jimmy Butler, and Bam Adebayo have all missed time this season due to injury.
Amid their early struggles, Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra is imploring some of his injured players to come back and contribute. Even if they are less than 100%
“At some point, hopefully, we’ll be getting some guys back, even if they’re not fully 100 percent, as long as they’re close enough. Maybe they can give us a little bit of reinforcement, even if it’s just short minutes. That’s where we are right now,” Spoelstra said to the Miami Herald.
“Just give us whatever you have, whatever you have, just give us. If you’re used to playing 30 minutes, give us 15. If you’re used to playing 20 minutes, give us eight. So, we can kind of manage things right now.”
Kyle Lowry Not in Panic Mode Yet
Injuries are often viewed by fans as just another excuse for why a team loses. And while it may be an excuse, it is a valid one. This particularly applies to the Heat. They have been unable to find consistency in their lineups due to so many guys being in and out of their rotations.
But Heat point guard Kyle Lowry isn’t ready to hit the panic button this season just yet because he knows they are just one of several teams who are also trying to figure things out.
“Milwaukee and Boston are really good and everybody else is still good but they’re trying to figure it out. But that’s our league in general. … That’s the great parity of our league and how it’s set up now,” Lowry said to Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
“A lot of guys, a lot of teams are all kind of equal. And like I said, it’s also  games in. When you get to 50 games you start to say ‘OK, this is what it is.’”
Jovic Receives High Praise From Spoelstra
The Heat beat the Washington Wizards in their last game. But before that, they were on a losing streak going 0-4 on their recent road trip. While Spoelstra isn’t happy with the results of Miami’s road trip, he is also learning to make lemonade with the lemons he has received this season. And after averaging 10.5 points and 4.5 rebounds during the four-game stretch, Spoelstra says big man Nikola Jovic was a positive for the team during their losing streak.
“There were some positives and Niko was one of them. I thought his minutes were solid. They weren’t perfect but you can’t expect them to be. What I saw is he’s gotten a lot better since training camp. It’s been pretty diligent work to get to this point,” Spoelstra said of Jovic via Sports Illustrated.
“He tends to make other guys better. Once you can realize who can pass, who’s a willing passer who can get you easy buckets, you don’t even need to coach because then all of a sudden become great cutters because they’re motivated to get a score.”
With injuries continuing to pile up for the Heat, Jovic could be playing a bigger role sooner than later.