The Miami Heat came so close to returning to the NBA Finals in 2022, but they ultimately lost to the Boston Celtics in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals when Jimmy Butler’s potential game-winning 3-point missed. After that heartbreaking defeat, the Heat’s offseason has been both noisy and quiet at the same time.
Noisy in the sense that Miami has reportedly been in on star players across the league, including Kevin Durant and Donovan Mitchell. It has also been quiet in the sense that very few moves have actually materialized, with the KD chase supposedly not even being all that real.
Re-sign P.J. Tucker/another power forward
The Heat were one of the NBA’s best defensive teams last season. They finished fourth in the league in scoring defense, allowing just 105.6 points per game. They also allowed the fewest field goals per game at just 37.5.
Star center Bam Adebayo gets a lot of the credit for Miami’s defensive prowess, and rightfully so. The Kentucky product was outstanding in his fifth season, notching 10.1 rebounds and 1.4 steals per game and earning a spot on the All-Defensive Second Team. Adebayo deserves all the credit he gets as a defensive player, but another player played a key role in the Heat’s defense last season.
Miami signed P.J. Tucker in the 2021 offseason after he won a ring with Milwaukee that June. The Heat signed Tucker for his defensive versatility as a rotational player, and he brought just that to Miami as a key starter. His rugged defense helped the Heat make their deep playoff run.
Despite his strong performance, Miami allowed Tucker to hit free agency this offseason. That decision proved to be Philadelphia’s gain, as the Sixers and Tucker agreed on a three-year deal worth $33.2 million when free agency opened, a deal that’s being investigated for tampering.
What is inexcusable is that Miami has virtually no depth at power forward. The only experienced power forward on the Heat’s roster is Udonis Haslem. The 20-year-veteran is a franchise icon, being the longest-tenured player in Heat history, but he has very little left in the tank and is nowhere near a viable starter.
Miami did draft forward Nikola Jovic in the first round, but relying on a rookie drafted late in the first round would be a risky proposition. If the Heat want any shot at returning to the NBA Finals, they need to address this gaping hole on the roster. Markieff Morris, who put up 7.6 points per game with Miami last season while making under $3 million, is still available as a familiar option. Other cheap, quality options are also still available, such as Montrezl Harrell and Blake Griffin.
Simply put, there is no excuse for the Heat to not have a serviceable power forward on their roster. Losing Tucker hurts, but the move is understandable given Miami’s cap situation. However, not finding someone who could even attempt to fill the hole is baffling and may be what holds the Heat back this upcoming season.
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