Group Chat: What’s the main reason for the Miami Heat’s slow start?

Oct 30, 2023; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Miami Heat center Jimmy Butler (22) stands between Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) and center Khris Middleton (22) after a foul in the fourth quarter at Fiserv Forum. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 30, 2023; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Miami Heat center Jimmy Butler (22) stands between Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) and center Khris Middleton (22) after a foul in the fourth quarter at Fiserv Forum. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports /
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It’s been a rough start to the season for the Miami Heat, who are 1-4 through their first five games. There have been injuries to account for, but there have also been other concerns. Will the in-season tournament, which begins Friday against the Wizards, be a chance for the Heat to reset? The All U Can Heat staff got together to discuss their levels of concern and what comes next.

What’s the main reason for the Miami Heat’s 1-4 start to the season?

Azam Masood: There are a few things to point to, but simply put, Miami sports the worst guard rotation in the NBA. Tyler Herro is having a decent start to his year as a scorer, but he continues to be extremely jump-shot-reliant and is struggling to finish at the rim (the whole team has, to be fair). Behind him though, it’s been an outright catastrophe. Kyle Lowry is the only “point guard” on the roster and it shows. While he’s declined to such a degree that he’s now merely a catch-and-shoot 3-point specialist on offense, he’s the only player who can ably bring the ball up the court and get Miami organized. Any time he sits, Miami has tried giving point guard reps to Herro and Josh Richardson, but their offense has been truly appalling in those stretches and a major factor in these blown leads. Dru Smith is no answer either; teams do not defend him in any way and his DNPs as the team regained health are illuminating. Lowry is 37 and will surely miss games at some point, so Miami’s twigs-and-glue approach to the point guard position this offseason is something that will baffle me for years to come. Coupled with Jimmy Butler’s languid start to the year, Miami’s perimeter creation and rim pressure have been fundamentally nonexistent.

Stephanie Meadows: Where to begin? For starters, we have no true and consistent point guard. Kyle Lowry has very good awareness on the floor and can somewhat keep Miami’s offense organized, but that isn’t going to cut it all season. Lowry’s minutes must be limited at times for him to be most effective on the court. The turnovers are something that is hindering them. Seventeen turnovers against the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday night is completely unacceptable! While Tyler Herro has been scoring well, he needs to be a little bit more cognisant on the court and finish better at the rim. He can be getting to the foul line a lot more! Lastly, Jimmy Butler doesn’t seem himself, his lack of energy and laissez-faire attitude right off the bat is very concerning. I hope this changes moving forward. As Herro and Bam Adebayo said, they just need to figure this out now before it’s too late and not make any excuses. A 1-4 start to the season is not going to cut it, and hope we turn something around.

Noah Decker: Miami has had a tough schedule to start. Boston and Milwaukee are two of the toughest opponents Miami will face all season. Butler already missed a game. Bam already missed a game. A few games were winnable in the fourth quarter but didn’t go Miami’s way for a number of reasons. Putting those things together, their record makes a little sense. There are still several issues that need to be worked on, particularly on the offensive end, but I’m not ready to overreact yet.

Leo Rutherford: As Spoelstra said: not sustaining it. There are periods in games where we don’t look like a basketball team. After an encouraging first half Wednesday night, we took our foot off the gas and gave Brooklyn the easiest looks they could ask for. The Heat are at their best when they play with a fast tempo, which is something that is borderline impossible to achieve with a 37-year-old point guard, and 35 and 34-year-olds elsewhere in the starting five. The point-guard situation has been problematic to say the very least, and yet there appears to be zero hope from within the Heat circle that a meaningful move will be made in this department. It’s negligence at best from those at the top, give Spo some help! One Cade Cunningham made shot away from being 0-5 is the reality of the situation, and the column paints an accurate picture of how the Heat have started.

António Dias: There are too many things that got them to this point, making it difficult to point out one, but their point guard play, player roles, and some injuries may take the biggest blame. The Heat’s point guards haven’t been able to create anything offensively, with that responsibility falling on Tyler Herro’s hands too much. He’s not been bad, but it’s clearly way out of his comfort zone. The on-ball defense has been pretty bad as well and their current starting lineup isn’t taking care of things. With constant lineup changes, no one has a set role on the team — hell, some of these players don’t even know if they’ll play and what role they’ll be thrown into. You can’t put Jaquez in the starting lineup and expect him to be Kevin Love, with Highsmith on the bench with so much more ability to complement the starting lineup’s strengths, among other examples. And yes, having Caleb at full strength against the Celtics, him and Jimmy against Minnesota, or Bam to guard Giannis in Milwaukee may have given you one or two wins that change the landscape of this season’s start. But the other problems would still be there and if you want to continue to go with an aging roster, you’ll have to deal with the injuries that come with.