Coming into the season, not many people had Miami near the top of the conference. Sports Illustrated had them right in the middle of the entire NBA at 14th. Yet the Heat sit at 14-5, good for 3rd place in the East. They are currently better than the 76ers and Celtics; two teams who were ranked in the top 3 of the conference coming into the season.
Miami doesn't have one superstar to propel them. Jimmy Butler is an A-tier player, but has not been able to be the guy to carry a team to the playoffs in the past. So what's been the key to their success?
Coach Erik Spoelstra comes to mind. He has been a coach in some capacity with the Heat since 1997 and has seen many iterations of the team. This experience and his ability to get the most out of his players are what has allowed the Heat to frequently exceed expectations.
Miami thrives on their depth and their magical ability to pull talent seemingly out of thin air. To name just a few examples, Hassan Whiteside, Josh Richardson, and Rodney McGruder had their breakouts as members of the Heat. This season we can add Herro and Robinson to that list.
Herro had high expectations coming out of Kentucky. The Heat hoped his shooting ability would provide much needed floor spacing. He has been even better than expected. So far, Herro is shooting over 40% from three on over 5 attempts per game.
Of all rookies, Herro has taken the 4th most three pointers, and has the 4th highest three-point percentage. He is 5th is rookie scoring and he is doing all of this off the bench. Compared to the off-court antics and inconsistent play of Dion Waiters, Tyler Herro has been a breath of fresh air.
While Herro has received much of the praise, sophomore Duncan Robinson has quietly been almost equally as effective.
Robinson, an undrafted senior out of Michigan in 2018, has been given his shot this season. He's started 14 of 19 games so far after only appearing in 15 total games last year. He's made the most of it averaging over 10 points per game with 2.5 threes. He's been given the green light in the Miami offense shooting over 6.5 threes per game and connecting on over 42% of them.
Robinson made history this season after making 8 threes in a half and 9 in the game. That's the most ever in one half for the Heat, and only 2 behind the NBA record of 10. The 9 threes made in the game is tied for 2nd in Heat history behind Mario Chalmers and Brian Shaw (each with 10). He's been red hot to start the season and he shows no signs of stopping any time soon.
The Heat are rolling right now winning 8 of their last 10 games. Butler is playing well, Dragic is having a bounce-back year, and the South Beach Splash Bros are on fire from beyond the arc. The Heat are exciting. Keep an eye out for them as a dark horse out East.