The Miami Heat missed the playoffs a year ago and will be hoping Jimmy Butler can help change that in 2019-20.
After Dwyane Wade retired, Miami searched for a new star to add to the roster and it did not take long. Jimmy Butler was acquired in an off-season trade and he is expected to be Miami's go-to guy this season. There are a few other new names on Miami's roster as well.
The Heat have only reached the postseason twice in the last five years, which is the worst such stretch for the franchise in about 30 years. Miami has had talented rosters recently, but the mix of players rarely found the right groove. Inconsistency and discipline issues have derailed some promising runs for Miami. Team president Pat Riley has worked tirelessly to change that dynamic and get back to winning basketball.
Butler will be joining Miami's starting lineup this season and he brings a tremendous amount of experience to the team. The 30-year old has been to the All-Star Game four times and can help the team both offensively and defensively. The veteran has done a solid job of producing in the playoffs, with a career average of 17.3 points per game. That mark is actually higher than his regular season total of 16.7 points per game.
There have been off the court issues with Butler during his career, but Miami will hope that he buys into the team's culture. If no issues arise between Butler and the coaching staff, he should help turn Miami back into a winning team. Butler has elite skills and he also has an ability to lead the team on the court. The veteran could fill multiple roles this year and should be a versatile option for head coach Erik Spoelstra.
Bam Adebayo should have a big role this year and could end up being utilized right behind Butler for key moments. Adebayo is entering his third season in the league, after playing in all 82 games a season ago. The 22-year old could set career highs in all categories as Miami's starting center. Adebayo only started 28 times last season, but should start every game this coming season.
Goran Dragic is likely going to be a pivotal player this year and he could put Miami over the top. Dragic was only able to play in 36 games a season ago and his numbers were down across the board. The veteran was a key player for several years before 2018-19 and still should flash some of his All-Star ability on the court.
Kelly Olynyk will be a regular in Miami's rotation as the season begins. Olynyk is entering his third year with the Heat and is coming off a decent season. The 28-year old took a step back in productivity last season, but still posted numbers around his career averages. Olynyk only started 36 games in 2018-19, but that number could rise this year.
Justise Winslow set a number of career highs last season, while making 52 starts. The 23-year old remains a big part of Miami's rotation and should see plenty of minutes once again. Winslow can fill in for Butler or Dragic and will also likely be on the court the same time as both men. Winslow's versatility and game-changing ability will once again be an asset for Spoelstra and the Heat.
Dion Waiters was expected to be a big member of Miami's rotation and a member of the starting lineup. That may have changed towards the end of the preseason schedule however, due to some disciplinary issues with Waiters. The veteran was suspended for the first game of the season, after an altercation between him and Spoelstra. The 27-year old could end up working his way back into the starting lineup, but it seems likely he will need to earn it.
Tyler Herro could benefit from Waiters' antics in a big way. The rookie opened eyes during the preseason and should see minutes as the season begins. Herro was Miami's first round pick in this year's draft and he could already be a member of the starting lineup. If Herro can continue to produce, his minutes per game should gradually increase as the season goes on.
James Johnson missed the preseason due to conditioning issues and it remains to be seen if he will be available as the season begins. Johnson has been asset on Miami's bench for the past three seasons, but his role in the rotation is a mystery at this time. After not playing in any exhibition games, it is unlikely that Johnson sees much playing time in the opening weeks of the regular season.
As 2019 comes to an end and 2020 begins, Miami will be home for a number of games. That stretch of games around New Year's Day could end up being a deciding factor for Miami's playoff contention. The Heat will host the Los Angeles Clippers, Washington Wizards, Boston Celtics, Philadelphia 76ers and San Antonio Spurs during the stretch.
Miami's 2019-20 season will get underway on Wednesday against the Memphis Grizzlies at 7:30 p.m.