Report: Miami Heat believe injuries have held them back, not lack of talent

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Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Heat are convinced that injuries have held the team back in recent years instead of a lack of talent, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald.

“The Heat’s belief is that health and game availability — not a serious talent deficit — is what mostly has held Miami back,” Jackson wrote. “That conclusion did not change during an offseason evaluation, even with an acknowledgment that more is probably needed to win a title.”

The Heat were plagued by injuries throughout the 2023-24 campaign. Only two players on the team — Jaime Jaquez Jr. and Bam Adebayo — played in 70-plus games during the regular season.

Plus, arguably two of the Heat’s best offensive players in Jimmy Butler and Tyler Herro missed significant chunks of Miami’s 82-game slate. Herro — who finished in a tie with Butler for the highest scoring average on the Heat with 20.8 points per game — appeared in just 42 games in his fifth season with the Heat.

As for Butler, he missed 22 of Miami’s regular-season contests.

Miami saw its poor injury luck carry over into the team’s stint in the 2024 NBA Playoffs. The Heat lost to the Boston Celtics in five games in the opening round of the playoffs sans two invaluable contributors for the squad.

First, Butler — who has developed a reputation for raising his quality of play in the playoffs compared to the regular season — was sidelined for the whole series after he suffered a sprained MCL in Miami’s loss to the Philadelphia 76ers in the play-in tournament.

Also, Terry Rozier — whom the Heat acquired in a trade in the middle of the season in exchange for Kyle Lowry and a 2027 first-round draft pick — also missed the entirety of Miami’s series against Boston thanks to a neck injury. It’s worth noting that Rozier was coming into his own from a scoring standpoint before going down with an injury, considering he averaged 18.1 points per game in the month of March and 18.3 across four games in April.

Without Rozier and Butler in the lineup for Miami, the Heat did not score the ball at a high level against Boston’s impressive defense. Miami finished with fewer than 90 points in three of its four losses to the Celtics.

Considering the notion that the injury bug bit the Heat in the regular season as well as the 2024 NBA Playoffs, it’s easy to see why Miami allegedly believes that injuries have held the team back.

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Jesse is a 23-year-old sports journalist with extensive experience covering the NBA.