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 9: Kelly Olynyk
MIAMI, FL – OCTOBER 9: Kelly Olynyk /

Goran Dragic-Josh Richardson-Tyler Johnson-Kelly Olynyk-Hassan Whiteside

Spoelstra has made it clear that he is intrigued by the frontcourt pairing of Olynyk and Whiteside, and if the decision is made to bring James Johnson off the bench, the two could very well find themselves in the starting lineup.

Already this preseason, we’ve seen Spoelstra unafraid to call Olynyk’s number early and often, using him as the focal point of an offensive set and showcasing his skills both inside and outside. To start the game against the Charlotte Hornets, Olynyk opened the game with a 3, one of the Heat’s most seamless possessions of the preseason.

Teaming Olynyk and Whiteside together late in the game will provide a number of challenges to the opponent, mainly having to deal with the tough interior defense of Whiteside, next to a capable rebounder in Olynyk. Offensively, Olynyk can provide a little bit of everything to complement the shooting of Tyler Johnson and Richardson.

One of the other beneficial things about this lineup, is the options it presents Dragic as the ball-handler. With Richardson and Tyler Johnson on the floor, he can play more off the ball if necessary, allowing the other two guards to create with the big men. This lineup is unique in that it doesn’t do just one thing very well, but has the ability to throw several obstacles at the opponents, which can create points down the stretch.

Variation: Taking the top three, there is a small ball variation that accomplishes many of the same goals with Winslow and Olynyk teaming up in the frontcourt. While the Heat sacrifice some rim protection without Whiteside, they put five ball-handlers on the floor and still maintain a high defensive level.