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Miami Heat fantasy basketball season recap

Previous team recaps: DETWASPORCHASASTORMEMUTABKNATLCHIHOU, SAC, GSW

At a glance:

Record: 46-36 (8th, East) 

Offensive Rating: 113.3 (21st)

Defensive Rating: 111.5 (5th) 

Net Rating: 1.8 (17th) 

Pace: 96.88 (29th) 

2024 Draft Picks: 15, 43

Miami may have had a better record in the regular season than they did last year, but they weren’t able to replicate their success. For the second straight year, they found themselves as the 8th seed after losing the first Play-In game and winning the second. However, instead of pulling off the shocking upset, they were knocked out in five games by the Celtics. Injuries to Jimmy Butler, Terry Rozier and even Jaime Jaquez Jr. severely limited their chances of beating Boston, though their season was still fairly disappointing before the injuries, considering they made the NBA Finals the year before.

Will a first round exit result in changes in South Beach? Pay Riley has already publicly criticized Tyler Herro’s lack of availability and Jimmy Butler’s comments from the sidelines on their first round series against Boston. Herro has been in trade rumors for the last few years, and Butler’s name has popped up in recent weeks, with the 76ers named as a team that would be interested in giving Butler a massive contract. The Heat have been able to overachieve in recent years despite plenty of injuries and a lack of star power. They’ll continue to be a competitive team regardless of what moves they make this offseason, though it wouldn’t be surprising if they rolled out a very different lineup to start next season.

Fantasy Standout: Bam Adebayo

There wasn’t much fantasy success out of Miami this season, but Bam was a consistently solid option all year. He was one of two Heat players that suited up for more than 70 games, and he ranked just outside the top-50 in per-game 9cat value. He averaged 19.3 points, 10.4 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 1.1 steals and 0.9 blocks per game, which ended up being his career-high for boards and marking his highest assist output since the 2020-21 season, when they acquired Kyle Lowry.

Adebayo is one of the best defensive players in the league, though that hasn’t translated into statistical production on that side of the ball. However, he has been able to contribute well-rounded numbers, and he started to expand his range outside the 3-point line as the season came to a close. Over their final 17 games of the regular season, Bam knocked down 14 triples. Prior to this season, he had hit a total of eight 3-pointers in his career. Adebayo was a top-30 player during that stretch, and if he is able to continue to knock down threes at that rate next season, he should be even better.

Fantasy Revelation: Jaime Jaquez Jr.

Jaquez was selected with the 18th pick in the draft last summer, and it became clear that he was a flawless fit with a win-now team. This was only the third time since 2016 that Miami made a top-20 pick, with the other two being Bam Adebayo and Tyler Herro. The Heat have drafted well in recent years despite not making many picks, and Jaquez appears to be another successful addition.

He’s already 23 years old, so he isn’t the young, intriguing prospect that many teams covet. However, those types of “upside” players don’t always pan out. Jaquez has already shown that he is a productive NBA player. He averaged 11.9 points, 3.8 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.0 steals in 28.2 minutes per game as a rookie. Jaquez should be a starter in this league for a long time, and he will make improvements on his numbers from this season. He may not develop into a superstar, but he has the tools to make an impact both in the box score and in other ways that may go unnoticed.

Fantasy Disappointment: Tyler Herro

Herro’s numbers didn’t change much this season, but he did rank outside the top-100 in 9-cat per-game value after two straight years inside the top-100. On top of that, he only played in 42 games, which was the lowest mark of his career. Herro has been dangled around as trade bait for the last few years, and after the team made a run to the NBA Finals without him, his value took another hit this year, as he largely struggled during their first round matchup with the Celtics.

He’s still only 24 years old and just averaged 20 points per game for the third straight season. He posted career-highs of 20.8 points, 4.5 assists and 3.1 triples per game, along with 5.3 rebounds and 0.7 steals. He may not be the winning player that Miami has needed him to be, but he does still have plenty of upside in fantasy. If he were moved to a team that needs him to be their primary scoring option (which could be the Heat if they move on from Butler and retain Herro), he should be much better in fantasy than he was this season.

Fantasy Recaps/Look-Aheads 

Jimmy Butler:

Butler is usually an elite fantasy player when he is on the court, but availability has been an issue for him for a while. However, after nine straight seasons as a top-20 player in 9-cat leagues, Butler was outside the top-25 this year. Combined with him only playing 60 games, Butler’s season was disappointing. Since the season ended, there have been rumors of multiple teams that would be interested in acquiring Butler, so there is certainly a chance that he is suiting up for a different team next year. Regardless of what team he is playing for, Butler will continue to provide strong fantasy value when he is on the floor, though he isn’t a player that cares about individual awards, so the 65-game threshold will not change that.

Terry Rozier:

Rozier was dealt to the Heat in the middle of January, but his numbers took a big drop after the deal. In his 31 games with Miami, he averaged 16.4 points, 4.2 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 2.1 triples per game. Prior to the move, he was averaging 23.2 points, 6.6 assists and 2.8 triples, along with a much better shooting percentage. The drop in production was expected since he was joining a far more talented team, but he was barely a top-100 player after the move. Rozier did have a few big performances before a neck injury sidelined him for their final 11 games of the season. He’ll look to bounce back now that he has some familiarity with his new team.

Nikola Jovic

After not playing much during his rookie season, Jovic became a full-time starter this year. However, that didn’t result in him playing typical starter minutes. He only played 22.0 minutes per game and averaged just 8.7 points, 4.6 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.6 triples in 38 starts. He did have a few big games, including multiple 20-point performances and an 11/9/6/3 line in their Game 2 win in Boston. At just 21 years old, Jovic has plenty of untapped potential, and he should continue to see a larger role every year.

Duncan Robinson:

Robinson’s role was inconsistent last year, which left him irrelevant in fantasy basketball. However, he made big improvements this season, which resulted in his minutes increasing from 16.4 to 26.7 per game. That also allowed Robinson to return to top-200 production, with averages of 12.9 points, 2.5 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 2.8 triples per game. Assuming Robinson’s contract isn’t used as trade filler, he should continue to be a rotational player for Miami moving forward. Most of his fantasy impact will come from beyond the arc, even though he did make strides as a playmaker this season.

Caleb Martin:

The hero of last season’s Eastern Conference Finals, Martin once again played a large role that didn’t result in much fantasy success. He averaged 10.0 points, 4.4 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.3 triples per game while shooting 43.1% from the floor, which resulted in him finishing outside the top-200 in 9-cat scoring formats. Assuming Martin is back in Miami next year, he will continue to see big minutes for them. However, it is unlikely that he improves enough to warrant a roster spot in standard leagues.

Josh Richardson:

Richardson signed with Miami this offseason after multiple disappointing stops over the four previous seasons. He was a top-75 player when he last suited up for the Heat during the 2017-18 and 2018-19 seasons, but he wasn’t able to replicate that same success in his first year back in South Beach. Richardson is now on the wrong side of 30, and while he is still capable of being a solid rotation player, there shouldn’t be much optimism surrounding his fantasy upside, especially if he stays in Miami with their current guard rotation.

Restricted Free Agents: Jamal Cain, Cole Swider, Drew Peterson, Alondes Williams

Unrestricted Free Agents: Haywood Highsmith, Delon Wright, Patty Mills

Player Options: Caleb Martin, Kevin Love, Josh Richardson, Thomas Bryant