Despite the team’s lower-than-expected placement in the Eastern Conference standings, the good vibes floweth around the Miami Heat as the club enters the stretch run of the 2022-23 season. And that’s largely thanks to Kevin Love’s arrival in South Beach.
Make no mistake, the 34-year-old is long removed from his days as an All-Star and NBA championship winner. However, he still boasts a skill set that could help the Heat get back into the title picture this season.
At least, that was the hope in bringing him in — and the justification for Pat Riley and Co. burning their bi-annual exception and hard-capping themselves to make the signing.
Love isn’t the only vet that the Heat are looking to for winning contributions, though. Despite the fact that the team shopped him at the trade deadline, Kyle Lowry remains very much in the mix. And Heat coach Erik Spoelstra is apparently exploring new avenues toward unlocking his best version.
Heat Guard Kyle Lowry Understands That He Could Be Coming Off the Bench Upon His Return
Thanks to knee soreness, Lowry hasn’t taken the court for the Heat since scoring three points on 1-of-7 shooting during a February 2 loss to the New York Knicks. But the latest intel on his situation indicates that he could be back in the fold sooner rather than later.
Upon his return, though, the six-time All-Star and 2019 champ may be asked to assume a role that’s wholly unfamiliar.
“Lowry is at least aware of the possibility that he could move to a bench role, though that decision is still pending and could hinge in part on how the Heat and point guard Gabe Vincent play during this three-game road trip — which continues Saturday in Charlotte and ends Monday in Philadelphia,” reported the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson.
Vincent has capitalized on the opportunities he has received when Lowry has been out. In the 11 games that he has started so far in ’22-23, the 26-year-old backup has averaged 16 points, three rebounds and three assists per outing with 46-37-93 shooting splits.
Lowry Has Struggled Mightily This Season
The Heat and their fans had big hopes for Lowry when he was acquired in a sign-and-trade move — one that netted him a guaranteed $85 million over three years — in 2021. However, the almost-37-year-old has been looking his age more often than not since making the move from the Toronto Raptors.
Between injuries, load-management and excused absences for personal reasons, Lowry has missed 34 regular-season games (and counting) since joining the Heat, and several more games during the postseason.
And even when he has been on the hardwood for the Heat, he has largely performed at a level far below his usual standard.
In 44 games this season Lowry is averaging just 12.0 points per game — his lowest number since the 2012-13 campaign. Meanwhile, his field-goal percentage (39.6%) and three-point conversion rate (33.3%) are both bottom-four marks in a career that has spanned 17 years.
Consequently, he has ceded crunch-time minutes to Vincent, who ranks third on the team in fourth-quarter minutes per game since January 7 at 9.6.
Herro,not Lowry, should be the first man off the bench.
It worked very well for the team and Herro, by playing that role last year.
Probably would work again.