Josh McRoberts is playing himself into Miami Heat trade bait

The Josh McRoberts mini revival could give Miami Heat roster flexibility.

Three years ago, Pat Riley tried to convince LeBron James that retooling with Josh McRoberts, as a cog, would help further his championship chances. Two injury-plagued–17 and 42 game–seasons ensued. Now three years later, coach Erik Spoelstra is trying to sell observers on the importance of the 6-foot-10 power forward:

“J-Mac is vital for this group. And I wish that the average fan could see all the intangibles that he brings to the table. He’s super-high IQ. And he’s our best communicator on defense. So he’s a very good team defender. And he knows how to make the game easier his teammates. That’s why everybody wants to play with him now.”

Read More: James Johnson making a case for Sixth Man of the Year

Such a statement would cause pundits to wonder why the Miami Heat could not even be given away a player with so much worth for the past few years.

The fact that a combination of a bad foot and knee kept McRoberts’ potential on the shelf to start the last three seasons certainly scared teams away. His reluctance to look at the rim definitely damaged his stock as well.

Instead of taking advantage of open shots, McRoberts would look to pass the ball on almost every play. So much so that his average field goal attempts dropped from a career high of 7.3 to 3.1. Needless to say, he was willingly stripping himself of the threat of being an aggressive offensive player.

However this December has seen a change as the lefty reverted to some of the characteristics of his most productive days.

Dec 16, 2016; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat forward Josh McRoberts (4) shoots over Los Angeles Clippers guard Chris Paul (3) during the first half at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Dec 16, 2016; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat forward Josh McRoberts (4) shoots over Los Angeles Clippers guard Chris Paul (3) during the first half at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

McRoberts’ field goal attempts are up to 7.3 per game, resulting in a eight point average on 43 percent shooting from the two and 50 percent shooting the from three–to go with four rebounds and three assists.

And although a 3-7 record, for the month, does not show the positives from his play, it allows the Heat to showcase him for cap space.

The big man is unlikely to opt out of the final year of his contract, because if teams were unwilling to trade for him–in the past–with $6 million left on his deal, they probably would not push to give him a raise in the offseason. However if the Heat can keep him productive, another franchise may be willing to revisit making a trade for a trial run. Which would leave Miami with more options to toy around with during their rebuild. Yet, it all rests in McRoberts’ productivity creating value.

Load Comments