Grading the Miami Heat's 2021 NBA offseason moves - Heat Nation

Grading the Miami Heat’s 2021 NBA offseason moves

Kyle Lowry Miami Heat Rhona Wise-USA TODAY Sports

After coming off an NBA Finals appearance during the 2019-20 season, the Miami Heat were hoping to have similar success last season. However, things did not go according to plan as the Heat were swept in the first round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs by the eventual champion Milwaukee Bucks.

Following the disappointing sweep at the hands of the Bucks, a team Miami beat in the 2020 NBA Playoffs, the Heat organization knew that if it was going to give itself a shot at making it back to the NBA Finals, it was going to have to upgrade the roster this offseason, and it has done exactly that.

With the offseason slowing down a little after a hectic start, here is a look at how the Heat have done so far.

A true point guard: Kyle Lowry

Kyle Lowry

Grade: A
Contract: Three years, $85 million

A longtime target of the Heat, it seemed like Lowry and Miami were destined to come to an agreement. The 35-year-old is an ideal player for a system like the Heat’s. For the past two seasons, Miami has lacked something very important in their starting lineup: a true point guard.

Lowry can take some of the playmaking and ball-handling pressure off of stars Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo, giving defenses another reliable offensive player to worry about.

Last season, Lowry averaged 17.2 points and 7.3 assists per game. This type of production from the starting point guard will really help take the Heat’s offense, which struggled mightily at times last season, to a new level. He can score from many places on the court, whether it be from the pick-and-roll or from isolation, and he can also find his teammates for good looks on the floor.

It will be very interesting to see how Miami’s offense evolves and how players like Adebayo, Butler and Duncan Robinson will be able to benefit from Lowry’s playmaking.

Lowry not only helps on offense, but his defense will be a nice addition for the Heat as well. With his large frame, the six-time All-Star can be a solid point-of-attack defender for the Heat and annoy opposing guards. The Heat’s guards over the past couple of years have struggled on defense, so Lowry will hopefully change that and not leave the Heat with so many mismatches.

His three-year, $85 million deal is certainly an expensive one, but sometimes teams have to pay top dollar for the best available players on the market, and Lowry was just that this offseason.

Elite 3-point shooting: Duncan Robinson

Duncan Robinson

Grade: A-
Contract: Five years, $90 million

Arguably the Heat’s most important impending free agent, the organization moved quickly to finalize a deal to re-sign Robinson for five years and $90 million. While at first glance, the contract might look like a lot, it’s pretty good value when looking at comparable deals for other players around the league.

In what was considered an “off” year for the 27-year-old, he averaged 13.1 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game while shooting 43.9 percent from the field and 40.8 percent from beyond the arc. Now, the 3-point percentage is a noticeable decrease from his 2019-20 season percentage (44.6), but shooting 40.8 percent from three is still absurdly good.

Obviously, the best part about Robinson’s game is his elite shooting. His ability to knock 3-pointers down from anywhere on the floor and with virtually anyone in his face is very valuable to the team.

Even when he isn’t making his shots, Robinson still commands so much attention from opposing teams. With teams focusing so much on him, the Heat can run sets off of him and use him as a diversion to get the other players on the court open looks.

The University of Michigan product is not the best defender around, but towards the end of last season, he was showing major signs of improvement on that end of the floor. Should he continue to get better on defense, he will add so much more to a roster that is already shaping up to, once again, be one of the best defensive teams in the league.

Corner threes and defense: P.J. Tucker

P.J. Tucker Miami Heat

Grade: B+
Contract: Two years, $15 million

Tucker is another player that fits perfectly within the Heat organization. He’s likely set to become the team’s starting power forward for next season.

There’s not much that is eye opening about his game, but Tucker is very solid at what he does. His job will be to defend the opposing team’s best players, and then space the floor on offense and knock down 3-pointers.

By adding Tucker, the Heat have gained another fantastic defensive force. Miami can put the 36-year-old on just about anyone in the league, and he will bother them as much as possible. By having Tucker, the Heat can now let Butler and Adebayo conserve part of their energy for the offensive end. Of course, those two will definitely want to continue taking on the challenge of guarding the league’s elite players, but it is definitely good to have someone like Tucker that can also defend at such a high level.

The University of Texas product has a limited offensive game, but he’s fairly good at what will likely be asked of him in Miami. Tucker will likely sit in the corner, and then also hover all around the 3-point line so that he can space the floor for Miami’s more prolific scorers. Tucker is a career 35.9 percent 3-point shooter, and if he can hit the three at that clip next season, the Heat’s offense will really benefit from it.

Tucker’s deal is for two years and $15 million with a player option for the 2022-23 season. That isn’t expensive whatsoever and should surely present good value for the team.

From two-ways to two contracts: Max Strus and Gabe Vincent

Max Strus and Gabe Vincent

Grade: B+
Contracts: Two years, $3.5 million

Strus and Vincent were the Heat’s two-way players last season, and each of them showed lots of promise throughout the season. While they of course went through growing pains, like most young players in the league do, Strus and Vincent proved that with time, they can be solid role players for the team.

Currently, Vincent projects to be the team’s backup point guard. He’ll be able to get lots of reps running the second unit, which will definitely be good for his development. The 25-year-old’s best aspect of his game is his shooting, which he showed off multiple times last season.

However, he only shot in his limited minutes throughout the year 37.8 percent from the field and 30.9 percent from three. Given that he could see backup point guard minutes, Vincent will also need to improve on his distribution as he only averaged 3.7 assists per 36 minutes.

As for Strus, he was a bit more consistent last season, shooting 45.5 percent from the field and 33.8 percent from three. He also averaged 16.8 points per 36 minutes, showing an ability to get hot from beyond the arc pretty quickly. The 25-year-old adds more shooting to the roster, and he could easily get some minutes if he keeps up the solid play that he’s been showing so far during Summer League.

By signing Strus and Vincent to standard contracts, the Heat now have both two-way spots that they can give out to some of the very intriguing prospects on their Summer League roster.

Bringing back the late season addition: Dewayne Dedmon

Dewayne Dedmon

Grade: A
Contract: One year, $2.4 million

Dedmon was a late-season addition to the roster last season, and he showed his value to the team as he averaged 7.1 points and 5.4 rebounds in 13.1 minutes per game while shooting 70.8 percent from the field. Given his limited minutes, it could also be good to take into account his averages per 36 minutes, which were 19.4 points and 14.7 rebounds per game.

He proved to be the reliable backup center that the Heat had been looking for all season. To be able to bring him back on another minimum deal is a fantastic move by the Heat’s front office.

It would also be interesting to see if Dedmon sees any minutes alongside Adebayo in the frontcourt, something we saw a bit during the Heat’s series against the Bucks. Playing the 31-year-old alongside Adebayo will benefit Miami in multiple ways.

It will allow for Adebayo to cover the perimeter on defense more freely while also making sure that the Heat don’t give up many second-chance opportunities to opponents. On offense, Dedmon can take on more of the big man roles in the Heat’s offense, allowing Adebayo more freedom to work on that end as well.

With a full training camp and preseason with the Heat, Dedmon could be able to contribute even more to the team this upcoming season.

Shooting and toughness off the bench: Markieff Morris

Markieff Morris

Grade: B
Contract: One year, $2.6 million

Morris had a down year last season with the Los Angeles Lakers as he averaged 6.7 points and 4.4 rebounds per game while shooting 40.5 percent from the field and 31.1 percent from three.

Although he has not been a star throughout his professional career, Morris can definitely play an important part for the roster by coming off the bench. The possibility of him starting does also exist. He plays solid defense, and he can also bring some toughness to the floor to the team.

Should Morris be the backup power forward, he can be effective in some spot starts as well. Although he didn’t shoot great from three last year, he is a career 34.1 percent shooter from beyond the arc, and he should easily be able to get back to that percentage, if not higher.

To be able to secure a solid veteran contributor like him on a minimum contract is another good move by the Heat’s front office that will hopefully pan out.

Hoping to get healthy: Victor Oladipo

Victor Oladipo

Grade: B
Contract: One year, $2.4 million

This is a solid low-risk, high-reward signing. Of course, the issue with Oladipo is his health.

After being acquired by the Heat at the trade deadline last season, he only appeared in four games with the team before having season-ending surgery. His numbers in the four games with the Heat weren’t the best either, but getting acclimated to a new system in the middle of the season can definitely be difficult.

Oladipo almost assuredly won’t be ready for the start of the season, which of course isn’t ideal. However, he can take his time with his recovery as the Heat will have a good enough roster to compete without him. Not rushing him back will be important so he can be fully healthy for a playoff run.

The 29-year-old adds more fantastic defense to what is one of the best defensive teams in the league. Before being traded to the Heat, Oladipo played half a season with the Houston Rockets, where he showed that he still can score the basketball at a decent rate.

During his time with the Rockets last season, he averaged 21.2 points per game on 40.7 percent shooting from the field, 32.0 percent shooting from three and 78.3 percent shooting from the line. Having another player that can score like this will be very important for the Heat as it forces opponents to have to focus on yet another capable scorer.

Once the Indiana University product is back on the court, it will be very interesting to see what he is able to contribute to the team. It would make sense to have Oladipo as the primary playmaker for the bench unit given that he knows how to create for himself and others as well (4.0 assists per game during his professional career).

Getting Oladipo on a veteran’s minimum deal while securing his Bird Rights for next season is a win for the Heat. Should he pan out, the Heat will obviously reap the benefits on the court and also be able to go over the cap to re-sign him next offseason. In the case that this move does not work out, it isn’t expensive at all, and the Heat could just move on or potentially move him for other assets in a sign-and-trade.

The Summer League standout: Omer Yurtseven

Omer Yurtseven

Grade: A-
Contract: Two years, $3.5 million

Yurtseven was originally signed to a deal towards the end of last season, but the Heat declined his team option earlier this offseason. The team recently came to an agreement with him on a two-year deal.

The 23-year-old has played exceptionally well throughout Summer League, showing an ability to score from multiple different spots on the floor while using his frame to be a physical presence.

It wouldn’t be surprising at all if he were to get some consistent minutes throughout the season as the Heat are definitely very high on the young prospect.

This deal is very similar to the ones Vincent and Strus signed, and if Yurtseven continues to show this type of promise, it will surely be a bargain for the Heat.

With a full training camp and offseason with the Heat organization, expect Yurtseven to really improve his game as he looks to assert himself into Miami’s lineup during the upcoming season.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login