A look at what has to happen as the Miami Heat begin second half of the season
At 29-12, the Miami Heat have reached the midpoint of the season.
The storylines have ranged from the impact of Jimmy Butler, the rise of Kendrick Nunn and Tyler Herro, the development of Bam Adebayo and the revival of Goran Dragic. With 41 games remaining, here’s a look at three things that have to happen the rest of the season for the Heat to continue playing at this level.
No drama from Jimmy Butler
When he was signed, there was all the talk about how Butler would disrupt chemistry. He had various diva episodes during stops with the Chicago Bulls, Minnesota Timberwolves and Philadelphia 76ers. So far, Butler has been a model citizen within the Heat organization. If it continues, the Heat will cruise toward one of the top seeds in the Eastern Conference. If not, things could get rocky.
Rookies keep playing like veterans
No one expected Herro and Nunn to have this much of an impact so quickly. Remember, Herro was booed by some Heat fans at an arena-watch party when he was drafted. He has since become a key contributor and a strong candidate to make the All-Rookie Team. Nunn has arguably been the league’s biggest surprise, going from undrafted to the Heat’s second-leading scorer behind Butler. The second half of the season is when rookies usually hit their “wall.” Herro and Nunn have to maintain to keep the success going.
Find another inside scoring presence
The emergence of Adebayo has been fun to watch. He has taken a noticeable jump in his third season and could earn his first All-Star berth. Still, the Heat will need more inside scoring the second half of the season, especially in the playoffs. They have been linked in trade talks for San Antonio Spurs forward LaMarcus Aldridge. If they are able to complete a deal involving some combination of Justise Winslow, Kelly Olynyk or Dion Waiters, it could be the piece needed to make the Heat a legitimate contender.