The Miami Heat ended last year as the runners-up in the Eastern Conference finals, yet this season, they’ve struggled to build upon that success and will now need the play-in tournament to make it into the playoffs.
According to Bleacher Report’s Zach Buckley, Miami’s inability to improve its roster over the last year will be what the front office regrets most once the curtain comes down on a disappointing campaign.
“While the rest of their conference competitors loaded up with talent over the last year, the Heat let their roster get weaker and more imbalanced,” Buckley wrote. “It’s one thing to let P.J. Tucker walk last summer instead of matching a three-year contract that will pay him into his 40s. It’s quite another to bypass all external replacements and effectively let his vacated starting spot go unfilled.”
Fortunately for the Heat, their defense has been a rare bright spot, with the team ranking 9th in the NBA. However, their offense has been a different story, as Miami finds itself languishing 25th in the league, primarily due to their inability to convert their perimeter shots consistently.
Kevin Love Sounds Off on Jimmy Butler
Kevin Love might be a recent addition to the Heat’s roster, but the veteran forward has already been impressed by the intense play of Jimmy Butler. Of course, Love knew what Butler brought to the table long before joining the Heat, yet, that didn’t stop him from praising the star forward’s ability to raise his game in the clutch.
“One of the best closers in the game,” Love declared after the win. “I’ll take Jimmy Butler over pretty much anybody in the league when it comes down to winning the game. When it comes down to six minutes, four minutes, two minutes — making the last play — that’s why he is who he is.
Insider Rips Kyle Lowry’s Performances
Kyle Lowry has epitomized the Heat’s struggles this season, as age has certainly caught up to him and limited the amount of impact he can have on the court. Once seen as one of the best two-way guards in the NBA, Lowry is now a shell of his former self and has struggled to help Miami in any tangible way.
Sure, Lowry can still create scoring opportunities for his teammates, but the on-ball defense and relentless scoring have all but evaporated from his game over the past 12-18 months. Recently, Barry Jackson of the Maimi Herald took to Twitter to share his frustration with Lowry’s level of play.
“They didn’t expect this from Lowry. They thought they were getting an All-Star PG,” Jackson Tweeted before following up with, “There were several All-Star PG’s at 37, including Nash. The drop off from 35 to 37 was much steeper than anyone expected here.”
Lowry still has one more year remaining on his contract, with the veteran guard set to earn $29 million in 2023-24, so it will be interesting to see how the Heat looks to navigate his clear limitations moving forward.
Miami will be back in action on Friday, April 7, when they face off against the Washington Wizards.