Miami Heat can still take big leap this season with internal improvement from 6 players

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The Miami Heat swung pretty big this offseason, as they were reportedly in the mix for stars Kevin Durant and Donovan Mitchell.

Of course, Durant eventually wound up rescinding his request to be traded from the Brooklyn Nets while Mitchell was dealt to the Cleveland Cavaliers, who are now one of the most talented teams in the Eastern Conference.

Many other teams in the East got better while Miami didn’t make any real groundbreaking moves. The Boston Celtics, who beat the Heat in seven games in the Eastern Conference Finals last season, went out and acquired Malcolm Brogdon.

It’s important to note, however, that Boston is now marred in controversy after suspending head coach Ime Udoka for the entire 2022-23 season.

The Atlanta Hawks acquired All-Star guard Dejounte Murray from the San Antonio Spurs. Brooklyn maintained its core and added players like Royce O’Neale and T.J. Warren. The Philadelphia 76ers were able to steal P.J. Tucker away from the Heat, who will certainly feel the loss of the talented veteran.

It’s clear that the Heat are banking on internal improvement from multiple players as a way to get over the hump in the upcoming season.

Bam Adebayo

Fans have been waiting for a superstar leap from Adebayo for some time now, and this season might be the best one to have it. His performances over the summer at the Miami Pro League have fans hoping that this is the season he turns into an offensive monster.

If Adebayo were to do the same things on the court for the Heat this season, the rest of the league would be in lots of trouble. The 25-year-old is arguably one of the top five defenders in the NBA right now, and there isn’t much room for improvement for him on that end.

It’s not as if the big man isn’t capable of being an offensive juggernaut. He’s taken over and done just about everything on offense for Miami many times, including during an important Game 3 against the Celtics last postseason.

Adebayo becoming a consistent offensive threat would definitely make the Heat the team to beat in the East. While the Heat did finish with the best record in the East last season, many people no longer see them as the best squad in the conference due to what has transpired this offseason.

Having the former first-round pick transform into the offensive weapon so many know he’s capable of being would remind doubters that Miami is still a team that needs to be feared.

It seems like he knows that he has to step things up on offense, and he said that he’s going to try to attempt 18 shots per game this season. Whenever Adebayo does take at least 18 shots in a game, good things seem to happen.

Tyler Herro

Herro won the league’s Sixth Man of the Year award last season after averaging 20.7 points, 5.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game while knocking down 44.7 percent of his shots from the field and 39.9 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc.

The University of Kentucky product constantly showed off his all-around ability, and he’s seemingly ready to take the next step in his development.

He’s up for an extension and constantly expressed a desire to start for the Heat during the upcoming season.

“Trying to be a starter in this league and then be an All-Star one day,” Herro said this offseason when asked what his goals are going forward. “So that’s the next step.”

Herro could very well end up starting for the Heat this season at shooting guard, but something to note is that the 22-year-old hasn’t performed well at all in the past two playoffs. He’s really going to need to step it up in the postseason if the Heat are going to make some more noise.

Victor Oladipo

If Herro moves into the starting lineup, Oladipo could easily become the team's new sixth man. All offseason long, the former No. 2 overall pick from the 2013 NBA Draft has been sending warnings to the rest of the league.

Those around the two-time All-Star are pretty confident in him as well.

“Victor Oladipo’s trainer texted me and said, ‘Vic looks better than ever. He looks better than he did even last year,'” said Wes Goldberg during an episode of the “Locked on Heat” podcast.

Having Oladipo return to anything close to the All-Star level he was at a few years ago would be huge for the Heat. The 30-year-old returned to the team's lineup toward the end of last season after recovering from surgery and took some time to readapt to the speed of the league.

He eventually found his footing in the playoffs and had many good performances. He showed that he can still be a lockdown defender and solid option on offense.

An improved Oladipo could easily take this team to new heights and would offer another dangerous dynamic to the roster.

Caleb Martin

Given that the Heat lost Tucker and haven't added someone to start at power forward, Martin could see himself inserted into the Heat's starting lineup this season.

Some seem to think that he should still come off the bench, but he's more than earned a shot at getting into the starting five. He seemingly came out of nowhere last season and carved out a nice role in the team's rotation by averaging 9.2 points and 3.8 rebounds per game on 41.3 percent shooting from deep.

The University of Nevada, Reno product consistently brought energy and toughness to the court each game and showed that he has what it takes to be a solid player in the league. He had many great performances, including one against the Milwaukee Bucks in early December where he recorded 28 points, eight rebounds, three assists and two blocks.

Max Strus and Gabe Vincent

Strus and Vincent had very solid seasons during the 2021-22 campaign and showed that they deserve spots in the Heat's rotation moving forward.

The DePaul University product became the team's starting shooting guard by season's end while Vincent filled in well for Kyle Lowry as the starting point guard whenever called upon. Vincent seems to have the backup point guard spot locked down, but it looks as though Strus might have to fight for his spot in the starting lineup.

The two have been putting in work all offseason long and are surely ready to take things a step further in the upcoming campaign.

Strus and Vincent are each 26 years old and ready to continue developing into solid pieces for the Heat.

If Strus were to remain as the starter at the 2, seeing some improvements in his game would be huge. He showed off some nice versatility in a pro-am game this summer, and the Heat would benefit greatly if here were to show some more of that.

Seeing more drives to the basket or nice passes from him would be fantastic and open up the team's offense a lot more.

Of course, no one can argue against the fact that it was a very quiet and somewhat disappointing offseason for the Heat. However, it offers a chance to grow mightily from within.

That could end up being just what the Heat needs in order to get over the hump and win their fourth title in franchise history.

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David is a Miami native and University of Maryland graduate with experience in writing, editing and video production. He is a proud contributor of Heat Nation.