Miami Heat: 4 crunch time lineups for the 2017-18 season

MIAMI, FL - OCTOBER 11: Bam Adebayo
MIAMI, FL - OCTOBER 11: Bam Adebayo /
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MIAMI, FL – OCTOBER 11: Bam Adebayo
MIAMI, FL – OCTOBER 11: Bam Adebayo /

Much of the talk around the Miami Heat has centered around the starting lineup, but here are some crunch time options for when the game is on the line.

Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra has a problem. A great, terrifying problem that could be the difference between a win and a loss.

On one hand, the team’s depth will help them with the grind of an 82-game season. On most nights, they’ll be able to overwhelm their opponent with waves of scoring, defense and mismatches that will ultimately wear down the opposition.

But the problem with depth in basketball is that someone will inevitably be the odd man out when the game is tight, late in the fourth quarter. Leading to plenty of second-guessing when things don’t go their way.

Coming down the stretch of a tight game, the Heat have plenty of options. They can prioritize scoring, defense, rebounding, speed or a solid balance of all, that’ll lend themselves well to competing against the league’s elite.

Already in the preseason, we’ve seen Spoelstra go to a wide variety of lineups, with the most interesting of the pack showcasing the newcomer Kelly Olynyk, who could very well end up in the starting lineup alongside Hassan Whiteside. Then, there is the dilemma of the team’s best duo—Tyler Johnson and James Johnson—who have proven steady contributors off the bench. Spoelstra also has youthful options like Justise Winslow, Josh Richardson, Wayne Ellington and rookie Bam Adebayo to consider.

All will find themselves in a crunch time role at one point in the season, but Spoelstra’s task will be to make sure all skills are maximized with the specific five-man combination. Let’s take a look at a few that accomplish just that.