3 Surprising silver linings from the Miami Heat’s 2023-2024 season

The Miami Heat fell well short of another deep postseason run, but there are still a few silver linings, no matter the bleak outcome of this injury-riddled season.
Miami Heat v Boston Celtics - Game One
Miami Heat v Boston Celtics - Game One / Winslow Townson/GettyImages
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This Miami Heat season featured many ups and downs, especially in the win column and health-wise. Going into the season fresh off another NBA Finals run, it was fair for expectations to be high. Despite Miami not making any notable additions during last offseason, this Heat roster still had coach Erik Spoelstra on the sidelines, Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo and a whole lot of depth.

Unfortunately, their on-paper depth never was able to be fully displayed on the court due to injuries. The Heat were top-five in the league in total injuries and starting lineup changes. It seemed like every time they would get a key rotation guy back, another guy would go down. 

Their injury-plagued regular season carried over into the postseason as well. Butler and Terry Rozier, the team’s top two scorers, were both unavailable at the most important time of the year. It may have been a season that some could say just wasn’t Miami’s year, as the undermanned Heat got bounced out of the first round in five games by the rival Boston Celtics.

In a season full of disappointments, there was still a few notable silver linings.

1. Jaime Jaquez Jr. bursts onto the scene

Entering the 2023-2024 season, there weren’t many expectations for the Heat’s young guns in sophomore Nikola Jovic and rookie Jaime Jaquez Jr. After all, Jovic didn’t receive much playing time a season ago. Jaquez was coming off playing four full years in college, and not many knew if he was capable of getting regular rotation minutes early on.

However, Jaquez’s talents were on full display right out of the gate. There were some early comparisons of Jaquez to Butler, especially on the offensive end. His patience with the basketball in his hands and his footwork were impressive. He had a polished game, even as a first-year player. This was shown in several standout performances during the first few months of the season, including a 31-point explosion in a Christmas Day win against the Philadelphia 76ers on national television.

The 23-year-old rookie Jaquez put up season averages of 11.9 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.6 assists on 48.9% shooting.

Jaquez provided a spark on the offensive end and he never looked back. He even showed promise as a strong one-on-one defender. Once he got an opportunity early on, he continued to cement himself as a regular rotation player.