3 Heat players who need to step up to lift Miami out of the play-in race

If these three players step up over the next nine games, the Miami Heat should secure a guaranteed playoff spot.

Miami Heat v Cleveland Cavaliers
Miami Heat v Cleveland Cavaliers / Jason Miller/GettyImages
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2. Haywood Highsmith

The next player who needs to sustain his play is Haywood Highsmith. It's been a tricky season for Haywood as he's either been starting, coming off the bench, or getting DNPs. However, he definitely followed Udonis Haslem's advice, "Be ready so you don't have to get ready." Boy, has he been great over these past five games?

Haywood is averaging 9 points, 4 rebounds and 2 assists per game. Looking at these numbers they seem similar to Jaquez, but the game is coming naturally to Haywood and doesn't feel as forced. He's shooting 64 percent from the floor and an impressive 66 percent from three on three attempts per game. The shooting has been great to see as for the season he's a 39 percent three-point shooter.

The three-point shooting could be real, or it could be fake, you never really know with the Miami Heat, but even if it is fake, they just need it to be fake for a couple more games until they clear the play-in tournament. Being a defensive nuisance is huge for the Heat considering their lack of perimeter defenders. That was never the issue, but the spacing was and if teams have to respect his shot, that opens the lane for not only Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo, but Jaquez as well. See how everything connects?

Highsmith being a legitimate threat from three with his elite defense will earn him minutes. Just as the Miami Heat do, he controls his destiny as well. If he feels he should be playing, prove it. He'll have more opportunities to continue his much-needed play in key games later on against the Pacers, Knicks, and 76ers.