Bam Adebayo is the bus driver: 10 Miami Heat observations through the first 10 games

Bam Adebayo and Tyler Herro have taken a leap, Jimmy Butler is off to a slow start, and some intriguing numbers that bode well for the Miami Heat's offense going forward.
Miami Heat v Atlanta Hawks
Miami Heat v Atlanta Hawks / Alex Slitz/GettyImages
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Nov 8, 2023; Memphis, Tennessee, USA; Memphis Grizzlies guard Desmond Bane (22) drives to the basket
Nov 8, 2023; Memphis, Tennessee, USA; Memphis Grizzlies guard Desmond Bane (22) drives to the basket / Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

3. The Heat are 5-0 with Haywood Highsmith in the starting lineup

After missing the first four games with a knee injury, Highsmith has since started the last five games for the Heat, coinciding with their current win streak.

Highsmith is averaging 7.6 points, 2.6 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 1.0 blocks and 0.8 steals in 26.2 minutes as a starter. 

Those numbers don’t jump off the page, but he is holding opponents he defends to 4.4% less than their normal shooting average and doing the little things to help grease the gears on offense. Highsmith regularly watches film of P.J. Tucker and has never looked more like his role model.

This is right out of the Tucker playbook. He sets two screens and executes two handoffs in one possession, punctuating it with a handoff that flowed into a butt-first screen to tee up a Kyle Lowry 3-pointer.

The Heat are averaging 4.5 more points every 100 possessions and holding opponents to 2.4 points fewer points every 100 possessions with Highsmith on the court.

4. Tyler Herro’s career season

Before his early exit against the Grizzlies, Herro was averaging career-highs in points (25.3), 3-point percentage (41%), rebounds (5.6), assists (5.0) and steals (1.4). 

The Heat are scoring 5.8 points more every 100 possessions with Herro on the court – the highest mark among Miami’s regular starters. His 3-point volume is more important than ever with Max Strus and Gabe Vincent gone, and his two-man game with Adebayo could be a key part of Miami’s offense going forward.

Sometimes, Herro and Adebayo will do a spot-on impression of Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic. 

There are some troubling indicators when it comes to the Heat’s offense, but Adebayo and Herro making individual leaps and building more on-court chemistry is reason to be optimistic about the offense potentially making a leap. 

5. Jimmy Butler’s slow start

On the flip side of Herro and Adebayo is Butler, who is averaging 18.5 points on 42.2% shooting, 3.5 assists and 1.4 steals per game – all lows since he joined the Heat in 2019. His usage rate of 23.2% is also a Miami-time low. 

Butler did not play in the preseason and looked rusty to start the regular season. He made just 13 of his first 40 shots. Since then, he has scored 20, 20, 28, 15 and 19 points in five games. He’s averaging 20.5 points on 49.1% shooting during this win streak.