Monday’s loss to the Denver Nuggets notwithstanding, the Miami Heat have held up relatively well in games where starting point guard Kyle Lowry was shelved. To date, the team has won 10 times in 14 tries without the six-time All-Star.
Really, though, that should come as no surprise given the pattern he has established in South Beach. During last year’s playoff run, Lowry was almost always MIA — either because he wasn’t playing or because he wasn’t playing well. And that has been especially true of his Heat existence recently.
The 36-year-old — who’s currently dealing with knee soreness — has missed four straight games and eight of his last 16. Moreover, he was a shell of himself in the games he did play, averaging just 7.1 points, 3.8 rebounds and 3.8 assists while shooting 37.7% from the floor and 31.4% from deep.
Still, the Heat probably need him healthy and playing to his fullest potential if they’re to have another deep playoff run. Unfortunately, it could be a hot minute before he’s even back in uniform again.
Chiang: Kyle Lowry Expected to Remain Sidelined for the Rest of the Month & Beyond
Over the weekend, Erik Spoelstra served up an update on the team’s overcrowded injured list that would probably be best described as deflating. Save for Victor Oladipo potentially getting it together, the Heat coach indicated that we’ll be waiting for multiple games for players to file back in.
“They’re doing all the work they need to do, they’re taking all the necessary steps and only their bodies will tell them [when they’re ready to play],” Spoelstra said on Saturday. “I would say Vic is probably the only realistic one before the break.”
Fast-forward to now, and the Miami Herald’s Anthony Chiang has come forward with a concerning addendum on Lowry. Wrote the Heat insider: “Lowry, who was made available in trade talks ahead of the deadline, is expected to miss the remaining games in February and likely some time beyond that.”
Thankfully, Gabe Vincent continues to play well in Lowry’s absence. On Monday, he scored 15 points, hit four three-point shots and added four assists, two boards and a steal. The Heat were also plus-five when he was on the court (in a game they lost by four points).
Do the Heat Have Any Choice But to Target a Buyout PG?
As if his up and down performance throughout the season wasn’t enough the cloud Miami’s point guard picture, Lowry and the franchise may not be in a great place after the veteran was shopped at the deadline.
Lowry was noticably not in attendance for the home game against the Nuggets, per the South Florida Sun Sentinel’s Ira Winderman. That could mean nothing, or it could mean that the Heat (and/or Lowry) are ready to turn the page and are exploring their options on the buyout market. To that end, Patrick Beverley makes some sense as a vet with Heat DNA on the defensive end.
Or, the club could tap a former superstar like Russell Westbrook or John Wall. The thing the Heat want to avoid if they’re targeting one of the veterans, though, is repeating the Lowry situation, i.e. getting a great player a year or two too late (even if we’re just talking about a rest-of-season rental).