The Miami Heat season is over, and now we all have questions.
After getting thrown around like a dog toy by the Bucks for the last three games of the series, and getting swept out of the playoffs like dust bunnies, it might be time for Pat Riley to re-evaluate.
Coming off one of the most improbable Finals appearances last year in The Bubble, and having an extremely shortened offseason, the Heat struggled to get everyone healthy all season and gain a consistent rhythm throughout. Miami was able to put a run together in February and March to get from near the bottom of the standings and into playoff contention. Yet, when they pulled up to the playoffs this season, it was nothing like last year. Jimmy Butler was terrible, he shot 29.7 percent from the field and had almost no impact on any of the last three games. Bam Adebayo averaged 15.5 points on 45 percent from the field. Numbers that are incredibly average from a player that’s supposed to be your second-best player and a future star.
And don’t even get me started on Tyler Herro and his lack of production all season. He only shot 31 percent from the field in this series, averaging just nine points per. Those numbers are considerably less than his 2020 playoff ones when he averaged 16 a night on 43 percent shooting. This could have very well been one of those sophomore slumps that many players have on the professional level, or the Heat could have been sadly mistaken about Herro’s potential.
Now, having Butler, Adebayo, and Herro playing horribly all series seems like more of an anomaly than something that could be consistent. But the fact of the matter is the Heat didn’t get that much better this offseason and the Bucks did. They added key pieces like Jrue Holiday and Bobby Portis that helped put them over the hump against this same Miami team that kicked them out of The Bubble last year in the semis.
It’s hard to tell whether or not The Bubble experience for the Heat was a fluke, but it’s clear that this team cannot compete with the championship teams of the East this season. The Nets, Bucks, and Sixers all got considerably better either in the offseason or during the season. Miami did not.
It’s going to be on Pat Riley to be able to improve this squad because it’s clear that the Heat has fallen behind the eight-ball.
Let’s see what they’ll do after their trips to Cancun.