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Why the Miami Heat championship window will close this year

Why the Miami Heat championship window will close this year
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The Miami Heat reached the NBA Finals in 2020. However, they had a disappointing year during the 2020/2021 season, being eliminated in the first round of the NBA Playoffs by the Milwaukee Bucks.

They used the offseason to improve some areas, like trading for Kyle Lowry, PJ Tucker, and resigning Victor Oladipo.

Despite this, they still have to face strong teams in the East. Such as the Milwaukee Bucks, Brooklyn Nets, Atlanta Hawks, and the Boston Celtics.

So, if they want to win the East, they need to do it now because their team will not get better. It’s now or never.

Age factor

May 12, 2019; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Philadelphia 76ers guard Jimmy Butler (23) dribbles the ball against Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry (7) in game seven of the second round of the 2019 NBA Playoffs at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

The “blockbuster” name this offseason was Kyle Lowry. The Heat needed an all-star Point Guard to be their floor general, to facilitate the floor. Last season, the Heat needed that player, and Dragic, who grew older, couldn’t do what he did in 2020.

Kyle was their target, and they managed to trade Dragic, to get him. Consequently, they will pay him $90 million in three years. By the way, Kyle Lowry is 35-years old.

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He wasn’t even an all-star player last season, and he’s getting older. The Heat are paying this man an absurd amount of money to get worse and worse, as they have less money to spend and will regress in terms of talent.

Not to mention the acquisition of PJ Tucker, who’s 36-years old. Evidently that he has a lot of experience in the Playoffs, but he’s performing considerably worse. He shot around 39% from the field, 32% from the 3pt range, averaged 4.3 PPG and 4.8 RPG.

However, If we look at the previous season, PJ shot around 40% from the field, 37% from the 3pt range, averaged 7.9 PPG and 7.2 RPG.

It’s clear what’s going to happen to him, so if there’s ever a time to perform, it’s now.

But they’re not alone. Heat’s superstar Jimmy Butler played considerably worse during the Playoffs. He’ll improve with the addition of Kyle Lowry, but he’s also growing older after signing a $184 million contract, valid through the 2025-2026 season.

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Meaning that Jimmy will stay in Miami until he’s at least 36-years old. This team’s future is paying an aged Jimmy Butler an approximately $50 million contract, which will ruin the rest of the team’s cap space.

The Center position

Aug 7, 2021; Saitama, Japan; France shooting guard Nando de Colo (12) shoots the ball against United States centre Bam Adebayo (13) in the men's basketball gold medal game during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games at Saitama Super Arena. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Bam Adebayo is not a true center, he’s a big and a great rim protector, but he’s more efficient for the Miami Heat as a Power Forward. And the Heat does not have a solid Center to help him, like Brook Lopez, Clint Capela, or Robert Williams.

He has to play as a Center, and now he has to deal with PJ Tucker, who is decent to play small-ball but won’t work like that in Coach Spoelstra’s system.

To make things worst, the backup center is Dewayne Dedmon, which is not very helpful, and leads me to the following argument.

Depth concerns

May 24, 2021; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Miami Heat guard Tyler Herro (14) throws keeps the ball from going out of bounds against the Milwaukee Bucks in the third quarter during game two in the first round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs at Fiserv Forum. Mandatory Credit: Michael McLoone-USA TODAY Sports
Michael McLoone-USA TODAY Sports

The Heat had somewhat of a solid bench in 2020. Either Goran Dragic or Kendrick Nunn would lead and spark that bench. Followed by the rookie Tyler Herro, who had a great first year coming from the bench.

Followed by the key veteran presence of Andre Iguodala, who provided great defense and key plays in the decisive moments.

Plus, Derrick Jones Jr. played good defense and offered some good moments with his athleticism. Not to forget the actual depth at the Center position, with Kelly Olynyk and Meyers Leonard.

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In the meantime, the Miami Heat got rid of this bench. Andre Iguodala is currently back in Golden State. Dragic was a means to an end, to obtain Kyle Lowry.

Kendrick Nunn eventually moved on to the Los Angeles Lakers, playing a key role in the bench unit. Derrick Jones moved to Portland last season. Meyers Leonard is no longer with the team, and Kelly Olynyk was traded to the Houston Rockets.

Their current bench has Victor Oladipo backing up Lowry, which is great for the team If he’s healthy. Oladipo went through some injuries, and now it seems the Heat will get a version of the former all-star.

Dewayne Dedmon is not a bad player, but he’s not that big who’s consistently good. There’s also a question mark on KZ Okpala and his future, as the young player can actually play a key role in the bench unit.

Nevertheless, there’s one thing that gives hope to Miami Heat fans. That thing is called Tyler Herro.

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He had a somewhat disappointing year last season, not improving after a breakout Playoff run in 2020. But, things will change this year with Lowry on the floor, creating more shots and more space for Tyler to develop and shine.

This year, the championship window closes for the Heat, as this is their only chance with this roster. They’ll get older, and If Tyler Herro doesn’t flourish right now, it seems that championship ring won’t arrive in South Beach.


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