NBA Heat Check: What is wrong with the Heat?

John Scriffiny

The Miami Heat had a tumultuous offseason, to say the least. Just two years removed from losing LeBron James in his return to Cleveland, Miami has completely lost its entire big three. Heat president Pat Riley low-balled Dwyane Wade and he left for the Chicago Bulls. Chris Bosh has been dealing with a blood clot, so he will not play this season and most likely won’t suit up for the Heat again. To deal with these losses, Riley gave 50 million dollars to guard Tyler Johnson, 2.9 million to guard Dion Waiters and a whopping 98 million to the enigmatic center Hassan Whiteside.


So far, it has been a rough go of it for Miami. They lost to the 76ers, which is never a good sign for a franchise, even if Philly is finally showing the semblance of a real NBA team.

The Heat have one of the most ineffective half-court offenses in the league, and I think most of that blame should fall on coach Erik Spoelstra. Spoelstra had been responsible for some outstanding offenses in the past, sure, but that is due in large part to the fact he had three Hall of Famers on his team, one being the second best player ever in LeBron James. When given “normal” NBA players, Spoelstra’s offenses have looked pretty horrendous.

With a good offensive coach, a lineup of with Goran Dragic, Tyler Johnson, Justise Winslow and Hassan Whiteside could be able to be close to a league average offense. Right now, the Heat are 27th in points per possession. With two above average shooters and a really good center, I don’t think this should happen. With Johnson, Dragic and Josh Richardson, Miami has three above average three point shooters. This should leave enough space to operate for Whiteside and Dragic.

What would really help this team, however, would be Justise Winslow shooting better than an awful 21% from the three. Winslow is physical enough to put in minutes at the four, and were he a good three point shooter, the Heat could put out a lineup that packs a punch on offense. With a defensive minded coach like Spoelstra, Winslow’s 3-point shot development is key. The Duke product is really versatile as a defender and an incredible athlete, but for him to be a real building block for this team, he must shoot the ball better.

So in regard to the initial question, the main things wrong with the Heat are the shooting of Winslow, the lack of an innovative offensive coach, a hole at the power forward position, and youth. Luckily for Miami, most of these can be fixed. Plenty of bad shooters have blossomed later in their career, and Winslow is only 20 years old. Also, Spoelstra seems like a smart guy and will most likely figure a way out to increase the production of his offense. Should he not, they could always find a new coach. In terms of finding a power forward, the Heat will probably have a high draft pick in a loaded draft, and could always swing a deal. The youth aspect will only be solved with time and is honestly a good problem to have. Though the Heat haven’t put it together so far this year, I believe this young team has a bright future.

Collegian Blogger John Scriffiny can be reached online at or on Twitter at @JScriff. Read more of his content here. Leave a comment!