2021 Miami Heat Depth Chart
|Point Guard||Tyler Herro||14||Goran Dragic||7||Kendrick Nunn||25|
|Shooting Guard||Victor Oladipo||4||Duncan Robinson||55|
|Small Forward||Jimmy Butler||23||Andre Iguodala||9|
|Power Forward||Nemanja Bjelica||70|
|Center||Bam Adebayo||13||Precious Achiuwa||5|
A season full of injuries couldn’t stop Miami from making the playoffs as they finished sixth place in the Eastern Conference with a 44-38 record. They fell short in the first round against the Sixers, dropping the series in five games, but have plenty to look forward to with health on their side. Dion Waiters is poised for a comeback season after appearing in just 30 games last year and Hassan Whiteside should return to his playmaking form after playing just 54 games. Continuity is the theme for this team, as they are returning their entire starting lineup and reserves unit from last season, and they have one of the best coaches in the NBA on their sideline. They will look to build on their strong defense after posting a defensive rating of 106.3 last season, ranking seventh in the NBA, but will need to improve offensively if they want to be successful come playoff time this season. Miami averaged just 103.4 points per game last season, the eighth-worst mark in the league, and were about league average in efficiency across the board.
All-Star Goran Dragic returns for another season and will look to bounceback from a season where he averaged just 17.3 points per game on 45 percent shooting. It was his worst shooting season since 2012-13 and he will most certainly be happy to put that behind him. Behind Dragic, the Heat have a logjam of guards that can all play multiple positions, creating a little bit of a nightmare when trying to project rotations. Tyler Johnson played about 42 percent of his minutes at point guard last season and is the obvious option behind Dragic to get minutes, but the Heat could experiment with Josh Richardson, Justise Winslow, or Rodney McGruder at point guard as well. Using one of those three, along with three-point shooters around them, feeds into Miami’s offensive scheme a little bit more than using Tyler Johnson at the point. Dion Waiters is set to return from last season and brings another potential ball-handler to the starting lineup at the shooting guard position that the offense can run through if Dragic gets hurt or is ineffective this season. Waiters confidence and swagger can be his downfall, at times, but he is a perfect fit for a Spoelstra led offense. Spoelstra has plenty of options to use behind Waiters this season but Wayne Ellington will likely get first dibs at minutes. Ellington is an excellent shooter that provides the team with scoring off the bench and the way he plays off screens fits the bench offense perfectly. The Heat also have Josh Richardson, who should start at small forward, that they can rotate in at the position to add more shooting to the lineup.
Looking at the forward positions, the Heat have plenty of different ways they can go this season. Starting Josh Richardson is the logical move, as his shooting and defensive ability will play well in the starting lineup, but Justise Winslow is also an option that deserves consideration after a strong finish to the season. Winslow showed off the prospect Miami thought he would be when facing the Sixers in the playoffs last season when he averaged 9.8 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 2.6 assists per game, and adds a unique element to the Heat offense. He has the size to matchup with any defender teams place on his and is capable of attacking the basket against undersized players. At the power forward position, Miami has the luxury, once again, of having plenty of options to choose from. Kelly Olynyk will most likely start and gives them a stretch big that can hit from three-point range while James Johnson is a defensive specialist that can also operate as the primary ball-handler for the second unit. Olynyk averaged about 24 minutes per game last season, while Johnson averaged about 27, so there is a pretty even split amongst minutes for the two.
Going into last season, there was talk that Hassan Whiteside and Bam Adebayo would spend time together on the court but that rarely came to fruition last season. For now, Whiteside is going to be the starting center for the Heat but based on his performance, and subsequent minutes reduction, in the playoffs last season, Erik Spoelstra could certainly decide to play Bam Adebayo over him. Regardless of what happens with that battle, both big men provide the Heat with stalwart defenders in the paint and their depth at center is another one of their strengths this season.