What the Miami Heat need to leave behind in 2023

From trade rumors to Duncan Robinson's slump, here's what we aren't bringing with us in the New Year.
Miami Heat v Golden State Warriors
Miami Heat v Golden State Warriors / Ezra Shaw/GettyImages
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Duncan Robinson being out of the rotation

Duncan Robinson, Trayce Jackson-Davis
Miami Heat v Golden State Warriors / Ezra Shaw/GettyImages

The revelation of Duncan Robinson in the 2019-2020 season (13.7 PPG, 44.6% from 3, set a franchise record for 3 PM in a season) gave way to steadily decreasing points, percentages, and minutes in subsequent years, culminating in a difficult 2022-2023 season where Duncan shot 32.8% from 3 (well below league average) and averaged a career-worst 5.6 fouls per 100 possessions. Between a midseason finger surgery and Max Strus’s presence on the roster, Duncan played in just 42 regular season games.

As soon as the postseason began, Miami was beset with multiple injuries to their perimeter rotation, and Duncan had to play against a fearsome 1-seeded Milwaukee Bucks team out of necessity. Defying his regular season, he would shoot a blistering 44% from beyond the arc through the postseason as Miami made their run to the Finals. The question remained, however, what sort of Duncan Robinson would Miami get in 2023-2024? With the departure of Max Strus and the added perimeter variables of a returning Tyler Herro and a rookie Jaime Jaquez, it was unclear if there would be enough minutes for Robinson to carve out a role. 

It turns out, that playing so well that you become a legitimate Most Improved Player and 6th Man of the Year candidate is a good way to staple yourself into the rotation. Duncan is again essential, shooting 45% from 3 as of this writing and averaging a career-best 15.1 PPG. It’s not just his outside shots falling but a newfound pump-and-go game that has invigorated Miami’s lacking downhill attack game. Robinson is taking 3.6 two-point shots per game, far-and-away a career-high for him, and making 57% of those shots. Just as importantly, his fouls per 100 possessions are down to 3.8 (a career-low if ignoring his very abbreviated rookie season), he’s at a career-high in assists, and he’s getting to the line more as well. For a team that has often struggled to close out games, Robinson’s sound decision-making has been a boon for this roster, and there’s little doubt he should be a significant part of the team moving forward thanks to his hand-in-glove skillset complementing the core of this roster. – Azam Masood