As the Miami Heat's offensive rating slid and Kyle Lowry's production dipped this season, it became apparent an upgrade was needed. Terry Rozier's play for the struggling Charlotte Hornets may have gone unnoticed this season, but he caught the attention of the Heat organization. Last week, they pulled off a deal to acquire Rozier for Lowry and future first-round pick.
Even though the Heat have yet to win a game since the trade, there is hope that Rozier will help address Miami's most significant offensive problems and solidify their position as a formidable playoff team.
A look at the Miami Heat's offensive struggles this season
Bam Adebayo continuously improves and evolves each season, resulting in a significant transformation in his overall profile over the years. Tyler Herro has honed his skills in handling the ball, becoming a reliable playmaker who can exploit any team's defensive strategy. Jimmy Butler remains a highly efficient player. Duncan Robinson has been a defensive nightmare for opponents for quite some time, and his game remains well-rounded.
Erik Spoelstra has effectively utilized all the role players around the team's core, adapting to changes in personnel. On certain nights, when their 3-point shots are falling, Miami's offense can look like one of the best in the league.
However, despite occasional standout performances, the Heat's overall offensive efficiency has not consistently ranked among the top 10 since the 2019-20 NBA season. That was the first year of the Butler era, when new additions like Robinson, Herro, and Kendrick Nunn forced opposing teams to adjust their defensive strategies. While Spoelstra's system emphasizes dynamic movement and precise spacing, Miami has lacked players who consistently put pressure on defenses, either by drawing double teams or attacking the rim.
Since Goran Dragic's departure, Miami has struggled to generate rim pressure, and their ability to create scoring opportunities with two players on the ball or through pull-up shooting has been inconsistent. This season, even with the team getting healthier, there hasn't been a positive trend in offensive performance. Miami's offense has ranked in the bottom 10 since December, with their 3-point shooting cooling off after a strong start.
Butler and Adebayo on court
Butler, Adebayo, and Herro on court
The NBA average is 115.1 points per 100 possessions.
Why Rozier is a good fit in Miami
Rozier's versatile range of skills is an ideal fit for Miami's offensive strategy. In Charlotte, he demonstrated his ability to adapt to different roles, whether it be on or off the ball. Rozier is adept at shooting 3-pointers on the move and effectively exploiting rotating defenses when catching the ball. Although he may not excel at finishing at the rim, Rozier compensates with his quick and elusive ball-handling skills, putting pressure on opposing defenses.
Rozier will not maintain a usage rate of 27% as he did with the Hornets. Consequently, his scoring output, currently at a career-high of 23.2 points per game, is expected to decrease. Additionally, his career-high of 6.6 assists per game will likely decline as well, as his Heat teammates will have the ball in their hands more frequently.
Rozier is arguably the most dynamic primary ball-handler that Miami has seen since Dragic's prime. This is not to diminish Herro, who also possesses a similar skill set to Miami's new addition, but Rozier leans more towards the traditional point guard role with his impressive 30% assist rate. Rozier has the potential to unlock new dimensions to Miami's offense.
There's work to do. The Heat have lost six straight games and the Rozier addition has yet to pay dividends as he builds chemistry with his new teammates. After his Heta debut, Rozier said his goal is to complement his teammates.
"I’m not here to step on nobody’s toes," Rozier said. "I want to be me. I want to help this team get over that hump. That’s what I want to do.”
Here are five Heat players who will benefit the most from Rozier's addition.