NBA: Miami In The Middle

Ever since LeBron took his talents away from South Beach back in the summer of 2015, the Miami Heat have been, to put it nicely, irrelevant.

They’ve made the playoffs twice since then, but have managed to do absolutely nothing with their playoff chances. Chris Bosh went down with blood clots and Dwyane Wade’s prime has come and gone.

On top of all of this, Miami has not been able to land any game-changing free agents or any blockbuster trades. Nowadays, the question is: Should Miami start a rebuild or try to construct something around the core they have now?

Contracts

Bad contracts are what have killed Miami the past few years. After a breakout year in 2015, Hassan Whiteside inked a four-year deal worth $98,000,000 that he hasn’t lived up to in any shape, form, or fashion.

They’re paying Tyler Johnson, who hasn’t averaged over 14 ppg in any season, $50,000,000 over four years. Goran Dragic signed a five-year deal worth $85,002,250. Dragic is a good guard, but $17,000,000 per year is too much for a guy his age. He isn’t even top ten at his position.

Kelly Olynyk was signed to a four-year deal worth $50,000,000 along with Johnson. He is a solid role player, but 50 million for a less than 10 points per game scorer is foolish.

Where’s The Stars?

Miami went from a landing spot for stars to a non-spot overnight after LeBron’s departure. Stars these days just want to win championships no matter what, hence what happened with Kevin Durant and DeMarcus Cousins.

Miami hasn’t been a spot for stars for over four years because they can’t build a team to support them. There’s a reason they missed out on Durant, Gordon Hayward, and the Jimmy Butler sweepstakes. They don’t have enough money to pay two stars because of their frugal spending habits. This being said, a star isn’t going to move to a team where there isn’t another star. They are certainly not going to go to a location that can’t pay for another one either. 

Another reason they aren’t getting star players is because of their performance in the regular season. Every year since LeBron left, they’ve been just good enough to get in or just out of the playoffs, but not bad enough to get a good draft pick. Picking just outside the lottery every year or at the end of it isn’t going to get you anywhere.

Offensive Struggles

Miami’s offense over the past four years has been consistently under-average and underwhelming. They have prided their selves over the years with hard nosed, defensive and gritty play. Sadly, that just isn’t the recipe to win your team games in this day and age of the NBA.

The league now is all offense or nothing. They haven’t had a guy over the years to be able to change a game with his offense, or go get them a bucket guaranteed when they need it the most. It also doesn’t help that Erik Spolestra is a defensive minded coach strictly. Does Spolestra needs to go? It doesn’t yet seem necccesary. However, he also needs to have pieces and players to work with on offense to see if he is actually cut out for the job or not. He won two championships when he actually had a team that could get it done on the offensive side of the floor every night, so Erik is fine where he is.

Bright Spots

In the midst of all this chaos and a terribly ran franchise, Miami actually has a few silver linings that they have to look forward to, and maybe they won’t mess these up. First up, and the brightest spot of them all, Josh Richardson. This kid has proven he is the real deal. He was drafted with the 40th pick of the 2015 draft, out of Tennessee. The Heat expected him to be a key role player. However, he has been tearing it up this year and is putting together a good resume for the Most Improved Player Award. For his career, he averaged 11.3 ppg, but is averaging 19.2 ppg this year and is only getting better with time.

The second bright spot is, Bam Adebayo. Hailing from Kentucky, the Heat drafted him 14th in 2017.  He’s a freaky athletic center, who if he can improve on his post game on the offensive side of the court, will be the next great big man in the league. After having a strong rookie campaign, he is only getting better and better into his sophomore year. Of course, he is limited because of Whiteside, but this kid will be a starter soon enough, whether it be for Miami or another franchise.

Last. but certainly not least is Justice Winslow. He was drafted out of Duke with the 10th pick in 2015. After a convincing rookie year, he battled injuries in his second year and couldn’t put it together when he actually was on the floor.

Here in his third year, Winslow is starting to move forward with his progress and development as a player. He has always been an extremely gifted defender, but is very inconsistent with his offense. However, it seems that he is starting to put the puzzle pieces together and is coming out of his shell. This is good news for Miami.

Should Miami Start A Rebuild?

Yes, it’s time for Miami to go into full rebuild mode. The core of players they have now have consistently proven that they are middle of the pack at best. Finishing in the middle isn’t helping their future in any way whatsoever. This led to them missing on big free agents and great draft picks instead of decent picks. Richardson, Bam, and Winslow are the only untouchables. Everyone else has to go for this team to have a bright future.

 

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