Now that the season has ended for the Miami Heat via elimination from the NBA playoffs, it is time to write the obituary for the 2020-2021 seasons that were. Looking back on this team will give a chance to look at what went right and what went wrong. It will also allow us to look ahead to what’s to come during the offseason to come.
The Miami Heat were the first team to be dismissed from the playoffs. In what was a messy season, plenty remains unanswered.
After making it all the way to Game 6 of the NBA Finals a season ago, this season never seemed to get on track for the Heat. The turnaround from the end of last season was swift and the indecision surrounding the trade market did not help matters.
What happened to the Miami Heat
From the beginning of the season, the Miami Heat felt like they were trying to get back on the same page. Tyler Herro was never the same player this season as he was in the bubble and missed 18 games over the course of the year. Goran Dragic missed 22 games as well and looks like injuries have finally caught up with him.
Jimmy Butler led the league in steals (2.1 per game) and made a strong case for an All-NBA team posting an accompanying line of 21.5 points, 7.1 assists and 6.9 rebounds per game. The Heat as a team finished 18th in offensive rating and 10th in defensive rating. After shooting at an elite level in the postseason, the Heat ranking 19th in 3-point percentage.
Bam Adebayo was the only other player to show true progression during the season beyond Jimmy Butler but ultimately their playoff foe was more prepared to gameplan against him. Getting a rematch against the Milwaukee Bucks gave some fans a false sense of security heading into the first round. The Bucks swiftly sent their rival packing in four games.
What comes next for the Miami Heat
The Miami Heat enter the offseason as one of the bigger potential players in free agency. Victor Oladipo, Trevor Ariza, Nemanja Bjelica, Udonis Haslem, Duncan Robinson, Kendrick Nunn, Dewayne Dedmon, Max Stus and Gabe Vincent will all be free agents. The team also holds team options on the contracts of Goran Dragic and Andre Iguodala, meaning they could end up with $34 million in cap space.
Miami will always be hunting for the top free agents on the market and this summer should be no different. With Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo locked in the time to push for a championship is now. Whether it be either of the former members of the Toronto Raptors championship squad in free agency or finally making Tyler Herro available in a trade, the Heat need to be ready to take the next step.
Duncan Robinson will be a restricted free agent, which could make the cap space game that much more complicated for the Miami Heat. As one of the potential top targets in the market for teams looking to add a final piece to a contender, Robinson will be due for a major payday. The third-year wing had a “down season” and shot 40.8 percent on 8.5 3-point attempts per game. With no picks in the upcoming draft, letting a young talent walk would be a tough look without a solid fallback plan in place.