The Miami Heat looks to kick off another championship campaign in its season opener tonight against the Detroit Pistons at home.
The front office fell short on its goal of adding another All-Star to the rotation this offseason, and once again finds itself with a depth chart that consists of many unestablished names.
Nonetheless, head coach Erik Spoelstra has confidence the continuity and resilience of the roster will keep the Heat in contention.
“I would take a year like last year anytime,” Spoelstra said on Tuesday, alluding to the team’s trip to the NBA Finals. “You go through so much as a group that it builds up fortitude that you need in the playoffs.”
Heat star Jimmy Butler echoed that sentiment.
“I see guys who want to win, who want to do right and want to win,” Butler said. “That’s a great start.”
It is safe to say that the majority of Heat fans do not doubt the team’s ability to make the most of a roster that lacks the starpower of other \NBA juggernauts.
Instead, the concern from fans comes from the lack of options at some positions, mainly point guard.
Kyle Lowry said in training camp that he “expects to be the starting point guard” on opening night, and reporters such as the Sun Sentinel’s Ira Winderman have indicated the Heat will go in that direction.
The 37-year-old will enter his 18th season as a pro. Lowry played an impactful role for the team during its playoff run. However, many point out that his body and game have been in decline since he joined the Heat in 2021.
With no Gabe Vincent in the rotation to provide steady minutes when Lowry is unavailable, the responsibilities will be given to returning Josh Richardson and former two-way player Dru Smith.
Richardson, who showcased some of the two-way ability he developed as a rookie in Miami during the preseason, suffered a foot injury that will have him sit out on Wednesday and remain questionable for Friday’s game against the Boston Celtics.
According to CBS Sports, the Heat plan to give Jaime Jaquez Jr. and Duncan Robinson his minutes in a game that will likely see the team play point guard by committee when Lowry sits.
Forward Haywood Highsmith is also ruled out for Wednesday, as Caleb Martin seems to still be recovering from a lingering knee injury that kept him on the bench for all but one game in the preseason.
Though it is still very early, signs of fragility from the Heat in a week where they are set to face rivals Boston Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks on the road may spell disaster for the beginning of the season.
There is still a lot to look forward to in Heat Nation though.
Tyler Herro has responded to the whirlwind of trade rumors surrounding his name as professionally as possible with a 22 points in 23 minutes against the Charlotte Hornets and a 30-point outing against the Memphis Grizzlies in preseason.
The boy wonder reaffirmed his belief in himself this year before tipoff against the Hornets by saying:“My value has decreased in people’s eyes, but I’m a better player than I was last year.”
The other half of the Heat’s young tandem, Bam Adebayo, also had a stellar preseason in the minutes he played. The big-man highlighted the ever-growing offensive arsenal that makes him a mismatch for many teams when paired with talents on the other side of the ball\l that have made him a finalist for defensive player of the year in the past few seasons.
Adebayo said on media day that he will also strive to be a vocal leader for the team Udonis Haslem’s first full year away from the team.*“UD showed me so much guidance in the last six years of my career, so [I’ll be] just implementing that into the young guys and rewriting the wheel in my own way.”
He continued with the same notion that the entire team is carrying itself with going into the season – “anything is possible” given what was accomplished last year.