1 Question for every Miami Heat player as countdown to NBA playoffs begins

With 10 games left in the season, we ask the biggest question facing every player on the Miami Heat's roster over this final stretch.
Dec 31, 2022; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; Miami Heat forward Duncan Robinson (55), center/forward Bam
Dec 31, 2022; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; Miami Heat forward Duncan Robinson (55), center/forward Bam / Christopher Creveling-USA TODAY Sports
4 of 5

How much will Erik Spoelstra use Haywood Highsmith?

Whether Highsmith deserves more minutes is an ongoing debate among Heat fans. He’s arguably Miami’s best wing defender, but he also might be the most non-threatening offensive player on the roster. He did make all three of his 3-pointers in the first half of Tuesday’s loss to the Warriors, but he didn’t make one at all in the second half. Either way, defenses often help off Highsmith, which crowds things for Butler and Adebayo in the paint. Highsmith has been forced to play because of the injuries but, practically, he is a defensive specialist at this point that Erik Spoelstra can turn to when in need of a stop or in specific matchups.

Has Nikola Jovic really turned himself into a good defender?

Nikola Jovic claims that he has developed into a good one-on-one defender. There’s evidence to back it up. Before the All-Star break, players defended by Jovic were shooting 1.5 percentage points better than their season average. Since then? One percentage point less. That 2.5 percentage-point swing may not sound like much, but it is. As the apparent starter at power forward, Jovic needs to be able to hold his own when opponents try to drag him into a mismatch.

When will Kevin Love return?

You’d be hard-pressed to find a worse trio to be injured at the same time than Herro, Robinson and Love. Those three are Miami’s best floor-spacers. They make every lineup around Butler and Adebayo work. Without them, teams can double or overload the strong side when Butler and Adebayo are in the post without fear of getting burned by the kick-out pass. Fortunately, Love was upgraded to questionable with a heel bruise before Tuesday’s game. He didn’t play, but he’s getting closer.