After their loss in game seven of the Eastern Conference Finals, the Miami Heat went star chasing.  Ultimately, they went 0 for the field, as they were unable to make deals for Kevin Durant or Donovan Mitchell.  Their efforts to sign T.J. Warren to blunt the impact of P.J. Tucker’s absence also came up empty.  As a result, this year’s Heat will look very similar to last season’s.  Preview over. Just kidding.  There are still questions hanging over the existing roster, including what the Heat will do at the four, and whether or not Tyler Herro suits up as a starter.  On a more intriguing front, there’s the ever-present possibility of a trade occurring at some point to shore up their frontcourt weakness.  If we don’t see Herro sign a contract extension in the next few weeks, there’s potential for him to be used in a deal before the deadline.

 

  • Depth Chart
Center PF SF SG PG
Bam Adebayo Caleb Martin Jimmy Butler Tyler Herro Kyle Lowry
Dewayne Dedmon Hayward Highsmith Victor Oladipo Max Strus Gabe Vincent
Omer Yurtseven Nikola Jovic Duncan Robinson Marcus Garrett
  • 2021-22 Record: 53-29
  • Key Additions: Nikola Jovic
  • Low-Volume Game Days (days with five or fewer total games across the NBA): 13
  • Back to Back Sets: 12
  • 2021-22 Pace Ranking: 28th

 

Key Players

  • Jimmy Butler: To quote the great entertainer/broadcaster Stacey King: “Jimmy G. Buckets – the G stands for Gets.”  You know what he brings: points, rebounds, assists, steals, excellent percentages, and low turnovers.  He’s a per-game beast.  On the downside, he’s a nightly injury and load management risk.  Though he’ll likely have to shuffle around the lineup to cover power forward at times, I don’t foresee his output changing in any significant way this season.  He’ll reward his fantasy managers with big performances and torment them with unexpected absences (“general soreness” anyone?).
  • Bam Adebayo: Was last year an aberration or the new normal in terms of Bam’s assist rate? The painful truth is that it’s likely the latter, and he won’t recapture the 5.6 assists per game he posted in 2020-21.  The acquisition of Kyle Lowry and Tyler Herro’s usage leap (+6.2 from 2020-21 to 2021-22) are the most glaring causes.  Even when Lowry missed nine consecutive games in January, Bam was still well off his career high mark at 4.3 assists per game over that span.  If you haven’t done so already, it’s time to recalibrate your expectations.  He’s still a double-double machine who garners 3-4 assists, brings the D, and posts solid percentages (55/75 in 2021-22).
  • Kyle Lowry: Three concerns: 1) The personal issues from last season are reportedly still a factor 2) He’ll cede some ball-handling responsibilities if Herro enters the starting lineup and their minutes overlap increases 3) He turns 37 in March.  I don’t think he’ll improve from last season, but I also don’t buy the predictions that his production will go into a free fall.  He is relied upon much less as a scorer than he was in Toronto, which frees him up to dish and knock down threes.  If you’re hurting for an assist man after the run on point guards in your draft, Lowry can still get the job done.
  • Tyler Herro: Miami’s biggest roster shakeup may come from in house.  Herro made it clear that he expects to start on the heels of his Six Man of the Year award, which puts pressure on the Heat to honor his wish.  In 10 starts last season, he averaged 20.5 points, 5.4 rebounds, 4.4 assists, 2.4 threes, and 0.8 steals.  Aside from a slight uptick in rebounds and assists, those numbers are right in line with what he put up off the bench.  It’s also worth pointing out that six of those starts were in place of an injured Jimmy Butler, who’s been known to hoover up some usage.  There’s no doubt Herro will get his looks as a starter or sixth man, but I’m not seeing anything that suggests he’ll be significantly more productive as the former.
  • Caleb Martin: A regular on my Midweek Guidance post during the 2021-22 campaign, Martin could be a valuable category and roto fantasy asset this season.  In 12 starts during 2021-22, he played 32.5 MPG and delivered 13.7 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1.7 threes, 0.7 steals, and 0.8 blocks per game.  Jimmy Butler missed seven of those games, but Martin isn’t a high-usage player and should be effective regardless of who’s out there.  He has real potential to flirt with the 1/1/1 mark as a guy who averaged a steal in 23 MPG last season.  If we get the announcement that starting he’s in at power forward, I’ll be happy to spend a late pick on him in 12-team league drafts.
  • Victor Oladipo: Just pining away for 2017-2018 ‘Dipo over here.  He splashed this game winner shortly before suffering the first of many injuries that caused many of us to forget about him.  Well, don’t call the meat wagon for him just yet, as he may be the first option on offense from the Miami bench.  Assuming he can stay on the court, he’ll be able to produce treys, assists, and steals in limited minutes off the pine.

  • Max Strus / Duncan Robinson: Strus had some nice stretches as a starter last season when he mostly provided points and threes.  He’s a worthy streamer in 12-team leagues when Butler and/or Herro are out.  For those of you who were still taking Duncan Robinson in 12-team category drafts last year, you can stop now.  His three-point production can be found in sources that provide more than one stat.
  • Gabe Vincent: If you need a Kyle Lowry insurance policy, look no further.  In 20 starts over the course of December and January last season, Vincent averaged 12.8 points, 2.7 threes, 4.5 assists, and 1.3 steals.  Most leagues aren’t deep enough for him to permanently be on a roster, but be ready to add him when the next Lowry announcement comes out.
  • Nikola Jovic: Top Serbian exports: insulated wire, corn, rubber tires (not making any of these up)… Basketball players named Nikola.  Having just turned 19 in June, Jovic is unlikely to get much run this year.  However, with Miami’s lack of depth at the four, he’s only one or two injuries away from getting into the rotation.  In his EuroLeague performances, he demonstrated the statistical versatility we’ve come to know and love from other Serbian players named Nikola, but we may be years away from seeing it come to fruition for fantasy.

Hit me up in the comments with any questions or feedback!