With an actual offseason under their belts (unlike last season), the Miami Heat go into the 2021 season a completely different team. They’re revamped and, more importantly, rested.
So much has changed since the Heat were swept by the eventual NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks in last season’s playoffs.
As they begin the preseason against the Atlanta Hawks on October 4, here’s everything that has changed between their underwhelming performance in the playoffs and now.
— NBA examination Network (@HoopAnalysisNet) September 2, 2021
Kyle Lowry Joins the Heat
Thanks to an offseason sign-and-trade arrangement with the Toronto Raptors, Kyle Lowry is now the starting point guard for the Miami Heat. Lowry afterward signed a three-year, $85 million deal upon his arrival in Miami, locking in the Heat’s “Big 3” chief of Bam Adebayo, Jimmy Butler, and Lowry for the next three seasons.
Miami took some shots in the dark during free agency, then made the ultimate three-pointer. Lowry may well be the best player to change teams this offseason.
Toronto Raptor Goran Dragić 😁 pic.twitter.com/XsLFUl9Hut
— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) September 24, 2021
Goran Dragic Plays for the Raptors Now
In the NBA, you need to give up something to get something. In the case of Lowry landing in Miami, Goran Dragic had to go. A member of the Heat since 2015, Dragic has, and will always be, a fan favorite. Some are already trying to figure out how the Heat can reacquire him down the road — that’s how thorough the love goes.
But if the Heat were to seriously compete against the Bucks, Lakers, and other strong teams, a major shakeup was needed. Sadly, this was the end of the line for Dragic with the Heat.
Happy Birthday to current @Raptors & @Memphis_MBB alum PF/SF Precious Achiuwa 🇳🇬@PreciousAchiuwa went with the 20th pick in the 2020 NBA Draft @MiamiHeat & came to #Toronto with Goran Dragić in the Kyle Lowry trade.#NBABirthdays pic.twitter.com/TKbiujoxKi
— שאהיד this•is•shahid شاھد (@this_is_shahid) September 19, 2021
Precious Goes to Canada
Dragic wasn’t the only player to take his talents to Canada in the Lowry deal; Precious Achiuwa is on the way north in addition. The Heat’s 2020 first-round pick came with potential but in the end did not deliver on much when given opportunities to play.
After an encouraging showing with Nigeria in the Olympics, Achiuwa appeared to be on his way to turning the corner and filling a role with Miami this season. Instead, he filled a trade-package hole and is off to the Raptors. Precious, we hardly knew you.
“I came in last year at like 245 and now I’m at 260. So I put on a lot of muscle.”
– Bam 💥 pic.twitter.com/gUWYvbEksT
— Heat Nation (@HeatNationCom) September 24, 2021
Like much of the Miami Heat list, Bam Adebayo wasn’t himself last season. He was hurt, tired, and overall, not performing at peak. That’s what having only a few weeks off between seasons will do to a guy.
This offseason, Bam says that since his shoulder is 100-percent healed, he has been able to add 15 pounds of muscle, which is bound to come in handy against bigger, stronger players.
A healthy, stronger Bam heading into 2021 is a scary prospect for opponents who had a tough time against him in 2020, already in his reduced state.
Seems like Miami Heat Tyler Herro has additional some muscle pic.twitter.com/Zrvsh0AmBR
— Lilian Chan (@bestgug) September 8, 2021
Tyler Herro Is Jacked
Bam isn’t the only Heat player who spent the offseason drinking protein shakes and pumping iron. seemingly, Tyler Herro has also been spending his days in the gym. Herro debuted revamped biceps recently, and, similar to Bam, says he has additional 10 to 15 pounds of muscle this offseason.
Herro desperately needed to get bigger, as his game was experiencing owing to opponents’ ability to push him around. It appears Herro will be harder to bully in 2021.
PJ Tucker treinando pelo Miami Heat.
— MIAMI HEAT DEPRÊ ™️ (@MiamiHeatDepre) September 21, 2021
Welcome to Miami, P.J. Tucker
Fresh off a championship run with the Bucks, P.J. Tucker is a member of the Miami Heat after signing a two-year, $15 million deal. Tucker brings toughness and all-around defensive nastiness to a team that desperately missed those qualities last season.
Tucker’s also capable of draining three-pointers at a decent clip — another asset that will come in handy alongside Bam Adebayo.
Tucker is 36 years old, so his signing lines up with the Lowry-Adebayo-Butler three-year plan. If things go south for the Heat this season, they’ll be able to trade him easily to a contender and recoup some assets.
— Lakers News (@lakers_news) August 4, 2021
Markieff Morris Comes to Miami
Another substantial rotation signing, Markieff Morris makes the Heat not only a deeper team but, like Tucker, a tougher team. The Heat got pushed around last year, and for the most part, a soft basketball team that was easily bullied.
Tucker and Morris aren’t the sorts of players that take bullying too well. That won’t happen again in 2021.
Morris also brings a championship pedigree, having won a title with LeBron and the Lakers in the 2019-20 NBA Finals against the Heat.
OFFICIAL: The Miami HEAT have signed center Ӧmer Yurtseven.
More info – https://t.co/AXjjxh5Hg4 pic.twitter.com/HnHbeWe493
— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) May 14, 2021
Getting to Know Omer Yurtseven
Omer Yurtseven is the epitome of why Heat fans need to pay attention to their Summer League team. Every year, a new player emerges from those minor leagues that end up becoming not only a fan favorite but a bonafide NBA player. Omer Yurtseven — a seven-foot-tall center from Turkey — is your newest Miami Heat Summer League project.
After an impressive performance this summer, Miami snatched up Yurtseven and secured him for the list before another team could poach him. Seven-foot-tall centers who can drain three-pointers don’t grow on palm trees. Miami found one, and it’ll be exciting to see him on the court this season.
Jimmy Butler Has a New Look
Hey, this is an article about the Miami Heat’s new look, right? Well, Jimmy Butler — fresh off signing a max-extension that will keep him in Miami for years to come — has a new look, all right. Swipe his Instagram above to see the hairstyle the Heat’s fearless leader is rocking these days.
The Miami Heat will go as far as Jimmy Butler takes them this season and for years to come. Bam Adebayo may have the greatest possible, but Jimmy Butler is the leader. From the looks of his social-media accounts, he’s fresh off some vacationing and ready to get back to business on the court.
— NBA (@NBA) March 28, 2021
The Strus Is Loose
Max Strus was a benchwarmer last season for the Miami Heat. This season, he’ll likely be a meaningful piece to their bench. A lot can change in a year!
While there is no guarantee Strus earns more minutes, it’s certainly trending that way after a substantial close last season and a commendable Summer League performance. Strus could see minutes backing up Duncan Robinson, and if called upon, start games if Robinson’s ever sidelined by injury.
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