Miami Heat: Who should step up as a playmaker in 2018-19?

DENVER, CO - NOVEMBER 3: Dion Waiters
DENVER, CO - NOVEMBER 3: Dion Waiters /

Do the Miami Heat need to incorporate more playmaking?

The Miami Heat are known for a lot of things.

A Godfather in president Pat Riley. The Chris BoshLeBron JamesDwyane Wade Big Three era. Vice jerseys.

And Miami Heat Basketball in specific is famous for the likes of top-tier defensive and lights-out 3-point shooting.

But with the game slowly developing and ultimately heading in new directions, maybe it’s time for the team to take on a new challenge: playmaking.

Now this isn’t a new concept for head coach Erik Spoelstra and company by any means. The Heat pride themselves in signing guys who are well-rounded players with versatile skill-sets, which means that while Kelly Olynyk stands tall at 7-foot, he can also sink shots in from downtown with ease.

But the question is, who on the current roster can adopt a “pass-first” mentality when needed?

The Veteran

The most obvious answer seems to be Wade, who has cultivated quite a feel for the game over 15 years. He knows the in’s and out’s of the league, and more importantly, how things work in Miami, making him the perfect anchor for the team in all regards.

And because at 36, he’s had to start taking more of a backseat role, it makes even more sense for the guard to focus on improving getting his teammates open looks.

Last season, Wade actually averaged just 3.1 assists a game once he returned to South Florida, the least since he entered the NBA in 2003. While that’s in part dependent on the fact that he saw time in a career-low 22.2 minutes per contest for the Heat in 2017-18,  it’s still a part of his arsenal that he could stand to grow.

Of course, this is all contingent on the star returning to Miami for another run. A free agent, Wade has yet to re-sign to the Heat this offseason, reportedly considering either playing overseas alongside Udonis Haslem or retiring all together.

However, there’s recent speculation that news of Wade re-commiting will break soon…

Point Winslow

Justise Winslow has worn many different hats for Miami so far, especially after returning from missing 64 games in 2016-17. And none were seemingly more popular than him running the point.

Even the forward himself found it rewarding.

"“I really enjoyed playing point guard. I think that’s something as the offseason goes on, I’ll sit down and talk to [coach Erik Spoelstra] more about… I think I’m vocal enough to take on that responsibility at the point guard position… As far as the offseason, continue to work on my ball-handling for those point-guard responsibilities.”"

Responsibilities which include running plays for his teammates.

While the 22-year-old is still working on developing his shot, his interest in the one spot indicates that he’s ready to carrier a heavier load for the coaching staff. Defensively, Winslow has it down, locking up any opponent that comes his way. Now, his presence on offense just needs to grow.

Which can start with transitioning into more of a leader.

Waiters Island

Right now, Goran Dragic and Dion Waiters are best known for their collaborative efforts; nicknamed 7-11, the duo was once one of the most successful backcourts in the league.

But recently, some are wondering if Waiters shouldn’t instead back up Dragic.

On the one hand, it could work. After all, Tyler Johnson hasn’t seemed too comfortable in the role, and someone needs to do it. However it’s hard to imagine the 26-year-old agreeing to come off the bench, especially after having to sit out the majority of last year after having ankle surgery.

Nevertheless, he shows promise as a playmaker either way.

While Dragic averaged 4.8 assists a matchup this past season, Waiters wasn’t far behind the year prior, having averaged 4.3 assists.

Sure, he may always look to shoot his shot first, confident in his scoring ability from just about anywhere on the floor and on every given night. But he could become that much greater of an offensive threat if he started moving the ball a little more.

Next. Miami Heat: Is center Hassan Whiteside Cleveland bound?. dark

With so many unique pieces to play around with, the sky’s the limit for the Miami Heat.