Editor’s Note: Until October 15, we’ll be unveiling team previews of The Athletic’s John Hollinger, who will analyze each team on a variety of factors heading into this season.
2020-21 season: 40-32 (sixth in the East), 18th in attack, seventh in defense
Where we left off
In the wake of their inspiring and unexpected run to the 2020 NBA Finals, Miami entered the season with high hopes and never quite made it happen. The Heat got off to a 7-14 start and were hampered by injuries to Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo, which doomed Miami to an average playoff standings. Even at that, the Heat were completely outclassed in a four-game sweep at the hands of Milwaukee.
One of the most crucial developments has been how Miami’s precision offense has become erased. The Heat were the league’s seventh best offense in 2019-20 and had several good playoff kills, including those same kills. This attack was not exposed at any time in 2020-2021.
Part of that was because Goran Dragic and Tyler Herro couldn’t hold onto their playoff bubble magic, but it was also because the Heat were bad at generating shots in the first place. Ranking 23rd for turnover rate and 29th for offensive rebound rate, Miami generated fewer true shooting attempts than all but two of the teams.