On his podcast, Kevin Garnett and fellow Hall of Famer Paul Pierce dismissed the idea that the Miami Heat are challenging for a title this season, with Pierce claiming that their time has passed.
Pierce spoke about how Bam Adebayo’s lack of consistency has hurt the Heat and how he felt that Tyler Herro is the team’s most consistent player.
“I think with them, they gotta do it collectively, and I just ain’t seeing it right now,” Pierce said. “Like Bam, we thought he was gonna turn into a perennial All-Star, and he’s kind of been up and down. The only consistency they got is probably Tyler Herro.”
Garnett then stated that he believes that the Heat are continuing to struggle with what type of team they are, taking a jab at Jimmy Butler in the process.
“What’s Miami’s identity?” asked Garnett. “That’s the first thing I ask myself. They used to be known as a defensive team that can score the ball. Now, they done turned into a 3-point shooting team with a bunch of ball movement. I’m trying to still figure out who they are though. They don’t really have no identity.
“Like you said, Jimmy Butler, like you say that to say, ‘So what? I’m supposed to wait 82 games to see if Jimmy Butler gonna give me something like some 36s, some 40s, some 45s?’ He don’t even look like he has that type of energy to do some s— like that.”
Pierce then ran down his list of teams that he feels will be in the thick of playoff competition at the end of the regular season
“Obviously [Boston] Celtics, I think Brooklyn [Nets] is better, Philly [76ers],” Pierce said. “Even though Philly getting off to a slow start, I think they better than them, and so, it’s just, it’s over. Their window’s closing.”
After six games of the new season, the Heat have a 2-4 record. Three of those losses came in a four-game homestand to start the season, including a 111-104 defeat to the Celtics on Oct. 21.
Garnett’s contention that the Heat are no longer a defense-oriented team might be challenged when taking a look at individual numbers. Four of the Heat’s starters are presently averaging over one steal per game, with Herro the only one from that unit not to reach that threshold.
From a team perspective, the Heat have only had two games in which they’ve held opponents to under 100 points.
Garnett and Pierce won a championship as members of the Celtics, and Pierce spent much of his career with the team. That strong connection might call into question the level of bias in the two Hall of Famers’ comments, especially Pierce.
Trying to assess a contending team after just six games is questionable. That’s especially true when considering all of the different factors that may come into play down the road. Injuries, trades and other scenarios can drastically change the perception of any team
Allowing for more time before determining whether the Heat’s title chances still exist seems to be the best course of action. Whether Garnett and Pierce turn out to be right is something that only time will determine.