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Miami Heat End of Season Report

Miami Heat
Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

There is much to unpack about the beginning, middle, and Miami Heat end of season amid their regular season struggles. The result for the Miami Heat was different this time by season end. Jimmy Butler and the Miami Heat were one shot away from advancing to the NBA Finals a season ago. A familiar foe in the Boston Celtics was in the way of the team’s journey to return, but it never stopped the Heat.

The Same Team

Erik Spoelstra and the Miami Heat have been under-the-radar contenders since landing Jimmy Bulter in 2019 via a four-team trade with the Philadelphia 76ers. As the world knows, Miami consists of many developed players that were once undrafted, but in 2022 during the Eastern Conference finals, they managed to push the Boston Celtics to 7 games. During the 22-23 offseason, the Heat only lost their starting power forward, P.J. Tucker, in free agency to the 76ers.

Heat Culture and Development

Many teams can say, “Next man up,” but only a few live by it. The Miami Heat are in that class. It is no denying that chemistry is critical in any sport, especially in basketball, so let’s look at the Heat roster for 2022-2023:

PG- Gabe Vincent, Kyle Lowry

SG- Tyler Herro, Victor Oladipo

SF- Max Strus, Caleb Martin, Duncan Robinson

PF- Jimmy Butler, Kevin Love, Haywood Highsmith, Nikola Jovic

C- Bam Adebayo, Cody Zeller, Udonis Haslem 

Everyone is not listed, but the entire roster has about five players that didn’t go to the G-league. Yet, Pat Riley and crew sustained a winning formula come playoff time against some of the league’s best. Also, the same team last season ended the 2021-2022 season with a 53-29 record.

Polar Opposites

The 2022-2023 Miami Heat had the culture, talent, and formula to succeed. In the offseason, they were coming off that brutal loss, so motivation was unnecessary. A new season with familiar yet inexperienced faces, the obstacles began for the Heat with new rotational pieces of Vincent, Martin, and Highsmith, to name a few. The Miami Heat saw earlier in the season that something was missing when their October, November, and December records totaled to 19-18, barely over .500. It was frustrating to watch as a Heat fan because some nights, they came out and handled business. In others, they looked lethargic. The good was that you could see what they could be if it all clicked. But changes had to be made. 

In-season adjustments

The beauty of the NBA is that you find what works and make the necessary changes to compete. It starts with the supporting cast, better known as the role players. Also, it doesn’t hurt to have depth when your star player is out for some time. Butler missed 18 games during the regular season. Spoelstra found a way to stay in most of the games with the roster he had. He discovered that Highsmith provided good minutes in relief of other players missing. Martin was the gem that thrived in increased time. In addition, Miami made a trade to free up space and money when they shipped Dewayne Dedmond to the San Antonio Spurs. The most underrated adjustments came when they acquired Kevin Love and Cody Zeller.


Until the Heat made moves, the offense was at the bottom of the pack. Butler and Bam were the two orchestrating the offense. Herro was a spark plug off the bench as the prominent 6th man, leading the second unit most nights. Vincent also had spurts where he would contribute a good shooting night.

Let’s talk about the 2022-23 playoffs. Although they lost to the Atlanta Hawks in the play-in game, the Miami Heat recovered, defeating the Chicago Bulls to lock the eighth seed. This is what started their improbable run. The offense went from below average during the regular season to the highest offensive rating in a playoff run in team history with a 114.1 rating. Suddenly, a team with no balance had found it at the most critical time through their playoff run. Per game against the Milwaukee Bucks, the Heat averaged a whopping 124.0 points per game.

Grade: B- 


The defense would be a simple answer if it were anything to bank on for Miami. Only eight other teams in the NBA had a better defensive rating than the Heat. They were pesky on defense, with a 113.3 rating on that side of the floor. Spoelstra ran a suffocating zone defensive scheme that helped them en route to their surprising playoff run to the Finals as the only second-eighth seed in NBA history. In the playoffs, only the eventual NBA champs in the Denver Nuggets had a better defensive ranking than the Miami Heat.

Grade: B+


The Miami Heat exceeded all expectations when their regular had peaks and valleys. You have a team that was just 53-29 in 2021-22, and they turn around to be 44-38. If there was a question posed, which of one of the two records would you think made the NBA Finals? Nobody would select an up-and-down team that made the play in the tournament to lose the first game and win the second one to be the eighth seed. Oh, and that 44-38 Miami Heat went on to beat a 1-seed, 5-seed, and 2-seed to make the NBA finals to lose to the 1-seeded Nuggets. While it was a fun run, they are on the cusp of acquiring a superstar point guard, according to multiple reports (maybe).

One thing’s for certain; Miami isn’t done yet.

Grade: B+


Najawon Wilson is a contributor with Back Sports Page. He has a BFA in Photography, and his journalism started in 2014 as a School Newspaper Photographer at Delta State University. Recently, Wilson also has one year of Reporting/Journalism experience as a professional. In addition, he’s been a part of one of Back Sports Page podcasts called Cut the Nets as a guest and once a behind-the-scenes producer. Here’s more information on where to follow the journey; his Instagram is @nwartvillebiz, and his Twitter is @nwartvillebiz. 

You will find more articles from Najawon Wilson using this link.

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