The Miami Heat Have Not Started The Season Hot

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The Miami Heat Have Not Started The Season Hot

The Miami Heat were the Eastern Conference’s 1st seed just a season ago, and a finals contender. However, at the moment, they have started the season with a 1-3 record. It is not the start that Miami envisioned, but what is going on with them so far?

Miami’s Offensive Struggles

While the defense is Miami’s calling card, their offense last season was one of the better units in the league. In 2022, their offensive rating was 113, good for 12th in the league. Combined with the fourth-ranking defensive rating, one can see how they won 53 games a year ago. However, this year it is a different story as the Heat are ranked 27th in that category at 106.9. The Heat also rank 22nd in assist-to-turnover ratio, 23rd in field goal percentage, and 26th in offensive rebound percentage.

Immediately the first player to look at is Kyle Lowry, who has started the season cold. Through the first four games, Lowry is averaging 10.8/3.5/4.5 on 46.7% true shooting. He is having to work off-ball more often now with Tyler Herro being in the starting lineup. So far, 75% of Herro’s two-pointers and 86% of his threes are assisted. It is very reasonable that Lowry will progress to the mean as the season goes along due to his reputation as a great shooter, but it may be an alarming start.

Miami’s three-point shooters are also underperforming out of the gate. Max Strus is only shooting 32% on six threes a game so far. With more ball-handling opportunities, Tyler Herro is shooting 33% on about seven threes a game, with a career-low 55.6% of those attempts being assisted. And while Duncan Robinson is shooting 50% beyond the arc, he is down to three attempts in 11 minutes a game.

Miami On Defense

The good thing for the Miami Heat is that they are still very good on the defensive end. Their defensive rating is not as good as it could be. They currently rank 18th in the league with a 110.7 rating. However, most of the same personnel from last season are still in Miami, and last year’s team ranked 4th in the league. Another positive sign is that they rank in the top 10 in defensive rebound percentage, 11th in points allowed off turnovers, and 13th in opponent fastbreak points.

The biggest positive for Miami’s defense is their rim protection. They have not been a team that will get a lot of blocks in the past. They have ranked dead last in that category two seasons in a row, as well as ranking last so far this year. However, they are third in points allowed in the paint, a specialty in Erik Spoelstra’s defense as they ranked first in that category in the last two seasons.

It should be mentioned that the Heat has had a difficult opening schedule. They played Chicago, Boston, and then Toronto twice, all three teams being playoff teams a year ago. Things are not going to get easier for the Miami Heat as they face Portland and Golden State next.

The Heat will likely be fine as recent history suggests, but the offense will have to find its footing first. It is a bit of a new-look offense with Tyler Herro taking on a bigger role, so adjustments will have to be made.