A case against the Miami Heat pursuing Giannis Antetokounmpo

Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks congratulates Jimmy Butler #22 of the Miami Heat after their win in Game Five. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks congratulates Jimmy Butler #22 of the Miami Heat after their win in Game Five. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /

Should Giannis Antetokounmpo’s limitations be a red flag for the Miami Heat during their future free agency pursuit of the two-time MVP?

Some say too much of a good thing can breed stagnation. Others like the Miami Heat organization, simply consider a surplus of greatness big whale watching.

Now, cue the calls for Giannis Antetokounmpo.

The first week of the NBA offseason saw everyone from ESPN‘s Jalen Rose to the Athletic‘s Shams Charania hammer home the thought of Antetokounmpo and the Heat engaging in a pursuit of future partnership to kick off the 2021-22 season.

Most eyes light up at the possibility of Pat Riley pulling off such a power move. However unpopular opinion says that Antetokounmpo would leave Miami right where they were a week ago–a bridesmaid finishing the Finals without a ring.

The obvious initial thought revolves around what pieces would be left with an Antetokounmpo addition. At the moment Jimmy Butler and KZ Okpala are the only members of the team locked in two seasons from now.

Add to that, Tyler Herro‘s team option will be picked up and Bam Adebayo will either be extended by the end of this offseason or next. Possibly Duncan Robinson as well.

The rest of the roster can be built with pieces and rare finds that the organization is accustomed to.

The dilemma comes because the frontcourt of Butler, Antetokounmpo, and Adebayo are not necessarily space makers when it comes to their jump shots. Of course, they have the skills to run through the regular season, but what happens when the playoff teams begin to box them in?

The obvious answer is that Herro and Robinson would make opponents pay off of the drive and kick, right? But what if the lack of shooting in the frontcourt dries up the space to drive?

Then the shooters cannot feast.

The frontcourt of Butler, Adebayo, and Antetokounmpo sounds stellar, but is it just a case of déjà vu?

An issue like that would definitely look all too familiar. No, not Milwaukee Bucks familiar, but a lesser version of the 2010 Big Three, where coach Erik Spoelstra planted Chris Bosh on the block and had an average shooting LeBron James and Dwyane Wade running directly at him in the paint, a strategy that worked until the Finals.

The theory could seem farfetched, but a look at the numbers will help explain.

During six Finals games in 2011, Wade, James and Bosh shot 47.8, 38.1 and 38.5 percent from the midrange and 30.4, 32.1 and zero percent from the three, respectively.

A jump to the bubble will show, Butler, Antetokounmpo and Adebayo shooting 41.7, 30.0 and 22.3 percent from midrange and 34.9, 32.5 and 14.3 from three, during the playoffs.

Sporting those numbers means that the potential front court would have to show that their skillset is good enough to adjust the way Spoelstra would need them to. Similar to the philosophy shift he was able to bring in the second year of the Big Three.

The Heat will be looking to put the full court press on Antetokounmpo, the same way they did when swinging for Gordon Hayward and Kevin Durant. However, they should probably focus elsewhere in the meantime. Maybe a complimentary star, disgruntled all-star or just someone who can create a shot, while being able to handle pressure enough to equal two more wins.

Next. Miami Heat: 5 Improvements Bam Adebayo this offseason. dark

Ideas on who would put Miami over the top will continue to vary, but Antetokounmpo will likely hold rank over Bradley Beal, Jrue Holiday and Victor Oladipo, regardless of his roster fit.