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 3, 2023; Miami, Florida, USA; Miami Heat center Thomas Bryant (31) looks on from the floor
Nov 3, 2023; Miami, Florida, USA; Miami Heat center Thomas Bryant (31) looks on from the floor / Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

6. The backup center job is still up for grabs

Last season, the Heat struggled when Adebayo sat, so much so that the team could hardly afford to sit him down the stretch of playoff games. This summer, the Heat signed Thomas Bryant hoping that he could be a long-term answer to back up Adebayo.

While Bryant has had good showings, he struggles with consistency. There are times when he’s unplayable on defense and doesn’t make up for it enough with productivity on the other end. Spoelstra has opted to go with Kevin Love as the first center off the bench over the last two games and will likely continue to go that way unless something changes. Orlando Robinson is the other option, and he’s played well in spurts. Spoelstra can always give him a chance at some point.

The backup center minutes are still a problem. The Heat are outscored by 7.3 points every 100 possessions Adebayo is on the bench, and have a defensive rating of 114.7 – which would rank 24th in the league – during those minutes. 

7. Duncan Robinson is back and better than ever

The two-year shooting slump is over. After shooting 37.2% and 32.8% from 3-point range the last two seasons, Robinson has made 50% or more of his 3-pointers in four of Miami’s first 10 games. (A couple of bad outings have sunk his overall percentage to 35.7%, but that will climb with a greater sample size.) He’s back to being a fearsome weapon from beyond the arc, one defenders have to race to close out on.

Robinson has countered by developing an impressive off-the-dribble game. He’s taking 34.6% of his shots from 2-point range. His previous high since joining the rotation was 19%. His shot chart versus last season looks like two different players.

Robinson’s multi-level scoring is even more important with Herro out.