2. Lowry rejoins the starting lineup
G: Kyle Lowry
G: Josh Richardson
F: Jimmy Butler
F: Kevin Love
C: Bam Adebayo
If the defensive concerns are too much to overcome, the Heat could revert to starting Lowry and bringing Herro off the bench as a sixth man. This lineup has just one weak spot on defense (Love), but the difference between one weak link and two is dramatic. It’s much easier to cover up for one minus defender. If Love gets drawn into an isolation, he has four teammates who can kick him out of the assignment and take over.
Can the Heat still limit Lowry’s minutes if he’s starting? Yes, but it becomes more difficult. He wouldn’t be able to play an entire quarter and could be limited to four six-minute stints. The result is that the Heat would still end up with lineups where Herro is running the point, but perhaps Spoelstra could align Herro’s minutes with Caleb Martin’s or — as we’ll get to later — another plus defender that could sub in at power forward for Love.
The Heat could start Lowry and Herro, but that leaves them with the same defensive issues, less bench creation and an outsized sixth-man role for Richardson.