Miami Heat NBA Roster Projections
Earlier, Post to Post Links II error: No link found for term slug "feud-sports" gave you a preview of the projected final roster for the Orlando Magic. We’ll take a trip to South Beach this time around and Join Jimmy
Buckets Butler in Miami as Dwayne Wade hangs them up. Who is going to have to get along with Butler this season, you ask? Look no further.
The Miami Heat did not finish the 2018-19 season the way they wanted to. Sure, a tie for second-place in the division is nice. But sitting at 39-43 and having your playoff chances ruined by a division rival certainly leaves a bitter taste in your mouth. With Dwayne Wade retiring and both Hassan Whiteside and Josh Richardson out of the picture, changes needed to be made. Let’s take a look at the roster going into the 2019-20 season.
Goran Dragić, Tyler Herro, Kendrick Nunn
Whew. Talk about a lack of depth. The Heat bring back trade candidate Goran Dragić, who is one of two players on this team with 10+ years of experience. Beyond that, you have a list of young guns looking to jostle for the backup position. Tyler Herro was the 16th overall pick in June’s NBA Draft. Herro, out of Kentucky, is known for his shooting ability. He is slightly undersized so look out for drive-and-kick opportunities being created and aggressive defense. Kendrick Nunn was signed by the Heat on the last day of the regular season this past year, so he has yet to don the red, white, and black. A Summer-League eye-opener, look for Nunn to crack the rotation if given the opportunity.
Jimmy Butler, Dion Waiters
If you told me that Jimmy Butler was going to sign with the Heat after the 76er’s I would not have believed you. Jimmy Buckets played mostly small forward last season for Philadelphia – which he played sparingly for Chicago – but will find himself more predominantly in the shooting guard roll this season. A fine replacement for Dwayne Wade! Dion Waiters, returning with a thinner physique, looks to keep his solid three-point shooting going. Look for Kendrick Nunn or Tyler Herro to play shooting guard as well.
James Johnson, Derrick Jones Jr., Chikezie Okpala, Kelly Olynyk, Duncan Robinson, Justise Winslow
Your starters at the forward look to be Justise Winslow and Kelly Olynyk. Winslow, Miami’s 1st round pick in 2015, seems to be settling into his role as a small forward, putting up career bests in points-per-game and assists-per-game last year. Olynyk, who can also play the 5, will be in his third season with the team. 22-year-old Derrick Jones Jr. will back up Winslow. “Airplane Mode”, as he is affectionately known as, needs to show improvement in his jump-shot to show more development in his already-expanding game. James Johnson, the second oldest player on the active roster behind Dragić, needs to be a locker room leader. With Wade gone and presumably Haslem gone, Johnson’s veteran presence should aid the development of young players such as Chikezie “KZ” Okpala. Okpala, rookie out of Stanford, will more than likely see time in the G League. Duncan Robinson will as well, but with his dominance at that level last season, do not be surprised to see him jump up to the regular roster.
Bam Adebayo, Meyers Leonard, Yante Maten
With Hassan Whiteside out of the picture, the starting center position is Bam Adebayo’s to keep. An improved jump shot alongside his already proven athleticism, look for Bam to bully other centers for rebounds and put-back dunks. Meyers Leonard, acquired in the Whiteside trade, is known more for his three-point shooting than blocking shots. A part of his game that most don’t see coming until it’s too late is his passing ability. Don’t look for too many athletic plays from him though, as he has bricks for feet. Yante Maten is a name you are probably not familiar with unless you are a die-hard Heat fan. A G-League star just like his roommate Duncan Robinson, they both share the same goal going into this season: make the roster.
This is a quite a different look compared to last season. Changes needed to be made to be competitive and they did just that. Their young core matches several other teams in the division. If Miami is going to reclaim their division dominance, the time is now. Charlotte is taking a step back, Washington is still a mess, Atlanta is on the rise, and defending division champions Orlando did not make a lot of moves. Jimmy Butler needs to come in and lead this team back to the glory that was once there.