June 1, 2018, 1:50 pm
After a 2016-17 season that was as large of a first-to-second half discrepancy imaginable, the 2017-18 Miami Heat were exactly what we thought they were coming into the season. The craziness at the top of the Eastern Conference managed to run out of gas as it reached Miami. With a preseason win total set at over/under 43.5 – sixth best in the East – the Heat finished at 44-38 and were indeed the sixth seed. Though the Heat were forced to work through injuries at times, they showed off their incredible depth and the coaching power of Erik Spoelstra.
While the Heat were one of the hottest teams in the second half of 2016-2017, they were also one of the worst during the first half. In 2017-2018 they were very much the average of the two. They finished tied for the 15th best record in the league at 44-38 and they were 16th in plus-minus at 0.5 net points per game. Looking at the advanced stats, the Heat were 17th in net rating, 16th in true-shooting percentage and 14th in effective field goal percentage. They were also one of the slowest paced teams in the league, coming in at 26th-slowest with a pace of 97.75 – only the Spurs had a lower pace while also making the playoffs. Erik Spoelstra did a great job with the roster given to him and had a lot of tough decisions to make throughout the season.
The Heat eventually faced the Sixers in the first round of the playoffs and managed just one win as they were the first team from the East eliminated from the playoffs. They found themselves lacking a true star once the playoffs came around and found their depth could only get them so far. The Heat also saw the return of Dwyane Wade after one-and-a-half seasons away from the team. Wade immediately helped the team with production off the bench. Miami fans also know the end is near for Wade, who is now considering whether to retire or return to the Heat.
The Heat have a few decisions to make this offseason as the Hassan Whiteside era seems to be over. Whiteside was upset with his playing time and usage in the playoffs and criticized coaching publicly. Granted Whiteside does not seem to have the tools to call himself a modern-NBA center, he at least wanted the chance to show what he could do when asked. Whiteside will be hard to get fair value back for as his contract is not very team friendly. With Kelly Olynyk impressing in a larger role and rookie big man Bam Adebayo impressing at times, the Heat do not necessarily need Whiteside to succeed. The Heat enter the offseason with no cap room, no draft picks and only a few players that had their contracts expire. The Heat should look very similar next season aside from Whiteside, unless anything drastic happens.
The Heat drafted Bam Adebayo with the 14th selection in the 2017 NBA draft and were active in free agency as well. The Heat re-signed Dion Waiters and James Johnson after both had impressive 2016-17 seasons. Also, the Heat brought in center Olynyk despite drafting Adebayo and already having Whiteside under contract for multiple years. The Heat were arguably the deepest team in the league this season and did not have a true star on the team. Goran Dragic was the lone All-Star selection, the first of his career, though it was as an injury replacement. Dragic had a solid season, but in no way was it his best season of his career. Point guard was the sole position without a true backup but the Heat were extremely versatile and had at least three players they could confidently play at every other position. Wayne Ellington was a testament to the depth, versatility, and work ethic the Heat displayed. Ellington played 26.5 minutes per game in 77 games during the 2017-18 season and broke two records while playing multiple positions. Ellington’s 227 made 3-pointers set the NBA record for most 3-pointers made by a reserve player and were the most in Heat franchise history. Ellington also played backup roles at point guard, shooting guard, small forward and even times at power forward in super small groups. He entered the season as just one of three players in the rotation over the age of 30 (Dwyane Wade later joined the team and Udonis Haslem was not part of the usual rotation) and was credited for a work ethic that translated to the rest of the team.
While the Heat are riddled with young talent, they were one of the best teams in the league defensively and always seemed to play with a chip on their shoulder. They had moments where their youth showed and were extremely sloppy and had a large discrepancy in their home and road splits. The Heat were 26-15 at home with a net rating of 2.5 while they were just 18-23 on the road with a -1.5 net rating. This is not too surprising for a predominantly young team but it does present room for growth. Between Tyler Johnson, Josh Richardson, Justise Winslow, Bam Adebayo, Kelly Olynyk, Dion Waiters and Rodney McGruder the Heat have loads of talent currently under 26 years old but none seem to be a star player capable of carrying the team.
The Heat will presumably be a name in the LeBron James race this summer solely because of the history between the two parties. It would be surprising to see James actually end up there but if he wants to stay in the Eastern Conference the Heat arguably have a better roster and coach than the Cavaliers, plus James likes to be comfortable. Outside of LeBron, the Heat’s focus this summer will be on finding a trade partner for Whiteside and getting healthy. Tyler Johnson and James Johnson underwent surgery after their season ended and Dion Waiters underwent surgery back in January. There should be more than enough time for them to get healthy but with a lot of depth, no draft picks and no cap room, health will surely be their main focus. The Heat have fantastic depth and a great coach but still need at least one superstar to try and go anywhere in the playoffs – just like every team needs.
In terms of fantasy value, the Heat players underperformed their ADPs for the most part. A few players struggled early on but with so many players capable of playing multiple positions there were just not enough stats to go around. A slow pace of play is also not great for aggregate fantasy value, but we knew that Spoelstra typically runs a slow paced team.
Erik Spoelstra finished up his 23rd season as a member of the Miami Heat’s staff. He started as a video coordinator in the summer of 1995 and was promised nothing past that summer. After the Heat hired Pat Riley as their head coach, Riley was not contractually allowed to bring in his own video coordinator but if he was, Spoelstra’s dad — who worked in the NBA himself — said “Erik would have been out of a job right then.”
Spoelstra moved up through the ranks due to his great work ethic which is emulated by his players. Spoelstra has now been the head coach for 10 seasons in Miami, winning just over 60 perecnt of his games, had just one season under .500, missed the playoffs twice and won two NBA championships. When LeBron James and company were with the team for four years and went 2-2 in the Finals Spoelstra took a lot of heat for being a mediocre coach that was being carried by three superstars, but he has proven his worth and ability to run a team since James left. Most people got on board the Spoelstra-is-good-train once he led one of the biggest turnarounds in league history last season. The Heat started just 11-30 during last season and road a 13 game winning streak into a 30-11 finish shocking the league. Although they missed the playoffs, the 41-41 finish was extremely impressive after most fans had come to grips with a full-on second-half tank. The Heat rode their depth and strong coaching into 2017-18 and finished with a 44-38 record, just around their expectations.
Spoelstra has done a fantastic job of getting the most out of his players and a reason the Heat are filled with a lot of good young talent is not because they have been selecting early in the draft.
Tyler Johnson was signed by the team as an undrafted free agent in 2014 while Josh Richardson was taken in the second round of 2015. Dion Waiters, James Johnson and Wayne Ellington had somewhat of career revivals when they joined the Heat two seasons ago. Rodney McGruder was undrafted in 2013 and bounced around multiple teams and the G-League before signing with the Heat and starting 65 games in 2016-17 in what was his first NBA season. Hassan Whiteside was a second round pick in 2010 by the Kings, spent years in the G-League and overseas before signing with the Grizzlies, eventually getting cut, and then being scooped up by the Heat. Justise Winslow, Bam Adebayo (and technically Dwyane Wade) are the only players on the current roster that were drafted in the first round by the Heat (the Heat did not have a first round pick in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013 and traded their picks on draft night in 2012 and 2014).
Spoelstra was not given much to work with after LeBron went back to Cleveland but he has been a savant at getting production out of whoever he has on his roster. Spoelstra and the front office deserve much more credit than they have gotten recently.
ADP: 16/19 (ESPN/Yahoo), Total Value: 93/84 (8/9-cat), Per Game Value: 48/39 (8/9-cat),
Games Played: 54
Stats: 25.2 MPG 13.9 PTS 0 3PM 11.4 REB 1.0 AST 0.7 STL 1.7 BLK .539 FG% .703 FT%
Hassan Whiteside was all there was to talk about after the Heat’s season dwindled down versus the Philadelphia 76ers, but not for a good reason. Whiteside saw very little playing time in the playoffs and did not hold back saying that he was upset. All the rumors so far are that the Heat will try to trade Whiteside and his contract this summer, but that may be harder to accomplish than it seems.
Whiteside is a very talented player but he is due $25 million for 2018-19 and has a $27 million player option for 2019-20. That is a lot of money to pay a center that currently does not space the floor. He can defend the interior very well and can grab rebounds with the best of the bigs but with an old-school offensive game and a large paycheck due, not many teams will look to bring him in. Not to mention the recency bias surrounding his name right now after proving incapable of staying on the floor in the playoffs.
It will be very hard to put a value on Whiteside until we know where he will be playing next season. Until then we can still look at what he did in 2017-18, even though it was disappointing. He was being drafted in the second round on both ESPN and Yahoo and finished nowhere near that mark. He only played in 54 games and saw his fewest minutes per game mark since his first season in Miami. It should not have been too hard to see a large minutes decrease with the additions of Kelly Olynyk and Bam Adebayo to the Miami frontcourt. Both players played well in their limited time during their first season in Miami and seem to be the future of the center position for the franchise.
Adebayo and Olynyk also got playing time thanks to multiple injuries from Whiteside. He missed five games in October due to a sore knee and then another 13 in November and December due to soreness in the same knee. He also missed nine games in March due to left hip pain, giving Whiteside his fewest games played since his first year in Miami (he missed one game due to illness as well). Even when he was on the court, he said on multiple occasions that he disliked playing with a knee brace on. The injuries could have been a reason that Whiteside saw such a low minutes total this year. If Whiteside is healthy next season, though he always seems to get banged up somehow, then a natural increase in minutes may be possible.
Whiteside went from 17/14.1/2.1 to 13.9/11.4/1.7 points/rebounds/blocks. Those were also his worst since joining Miami and his 54 percent from the field was his worst since his Sacramento days back in 2011-12. We do not know yet where Whiteside will be playing in 2018-19 but if it is with the Heat, don’t expect his minutes to rise more than marginally. If anything, it’s more feasible they fall again or plateau. He got just 15 minutes per game in the Heat’s five playoff games in one of the few matchups against a burly center.
ADP: 50/38 (ESPN/Yahoo), Total Value: 64/80 (8/9-cat), Per Game Value: 78/103 (8/9-cat), Games Played: 75
Stats: 31.6 MPG 17.2 PTS 1.4 3PM 4.1 REB 4.7 AST 0.8 STL 0.1 BLK .450 FG% .800 FT%
Dragic had a slow start to the season, but saw himself end up much closer to 2016-17 than to 2015-16, which is good. Although it was not his best season, Dragic was selected to his first All-Star team as an injury replacement. It was already Dragic’s third full season with the Heat and he was up to his usual tricks. He is a great attacking guard that is deceptively strong and uses his body well, but he is not the best pure point guard. We see that come out in his stats as he did a great job grabbing over four boards per game, a career-high, but the sub-five assists per game and 0.8 steals per game were not great. Dragic missed a few games spread out over the season due to a few small injuries. The Dragon played in 75 games which is noteworthy as that was the most in his Miami tenure. Dragic has only played in every game just once: 66 games in the shortened 2011-12 season when he was not a full-time starter. Owning Dragic comes with the expectation that he will miss 5-to-10 games, but who doesn’t carry that baggage these days.
Dragic is the team’s only true point guard on the roster and they mostly went with an extra shooting guard when the bench lineup came in and that is probably how they will look next season. The Heat could bring in a cheap backup point guard, but they would take away minutes from a reserve guard and not The Dragon. Dragic could be involved in a trade over the offseason, however it would only be if the Heat were pulling off a blockbuster move. He is due $18 million in 2018-19 and carries a 2019-20 player option for $19 million which he will most likely pick up as of right now.
Dragic should see a reduced ADP heading into next season which could provide some value, but at the same time the Heat will continue to be very deep next season. If Hassan Whiteside does not stay with the team, Dragic should be able to take some of his touches. Dragic would also benefit if Kelly Olynyk was to start at center. The floor would be much more spaced, allowing for easier driving lanes and another kick-out opportunity that could aid his assists. Olynyk is also a good passer and would help set up an offense that lets Dragic run off the ball more.
Dragic already saw an increase in his percent of field goals made from assists and an increase in wide-open 3-pointers, so having a more spaced and modern offense could help with efficiency. However, coach Spoelstra typically runs a slow-paced offense which ultimately puts a cap on Dragic’s upside.
ADP: N/A/142 (ESPN/Yahoo), Total Value: 36/31 (8/9-cat), Per Game Value: 58/53 (8/9-cat), Games Played: 81
Stats: 33.2 MPG 12.9 PTS 1.5 3PM 3.5 REB 2.8 AST 1.5 STL 0.9 BLK .450 FG% .845 FT%
Richardson was the one Heat player to really break out this season. Amidst all the depth and evenly-spread minutes, Richardson played in 81 games and averaged 33.2 minutes a night. His diverse stat line helped him obliterate his preseason value as he was not even being drafted in ESPN leagues. Despite just 12.9 points per game, Richardson put up stats across the board. He was six total blocks away from being in the rare 1/1/1 club – one 3-pointer, one steal and one block per game.
For reference – Draymond Green, DeMarcus Cousins (in 48 games), Paul Millsap (in 38 games), John Wall (in 41 games), Kawhi Leonard (in nine games) and Andre Ingram (in two games) were the only members of the club. Many players were close and Green was the only to play more than 48 games and still do it.
Richardson is a former second round pick from the 2015 NBA draft and from day one showed his effort, hard work and athleticism. 2017-18 was when his game truly rounded into form and was the first time he became a regular starter. He’s now played in 30 minutes per game for two straight seasons and even had safe playing time when Dion Waiters was healthy — but that injury certainly helped his value.
We’ll have to see what moves the Heat make because they will greatly impact Richardson’s preseason value — or at least they should. With Ellington and Wade being free agents (Wade would either retire or return to the Heat presumably) and the return of Rodney McGruder and Waiters from injury, the Heat’s wing depth could be thin or stacked. With Hassan Whiteside also expected to be traded, there should be more touches on offense, of which Richardson would presumably see a few.
He may go into next season slightly overvalued due to his breakout campaign, but he could easily replicate what he did this year. It may be hard for him to finish as a third-round value overall and the mid round per-game value is more likely to be where he finishes at. This was his first time playing more than 53 games so we’ll see if he can hit the 80 mark again, but with how much he has improved each season it would not be surprising to see him continue to get better.
ADP: 79/91 (ESPN/Yahoo), Total Value: 82/97 (8/9-cat), Per Game Value: 100/109 (8/9-cat), Games Played: 73
Stats: 26.6 MPG 10.7 PTS 0.7 3PM 4.9 REB 3.8 AST 0.9 STL 0.7 BLK .503 FG% .697 FT%
Johnson was rewarded with a four-year, $60 million contract over the summer as he was one of the most improved players in 2016-17. Johnson has thrived in Miami as a stretch four and almost matched his preseason ADP. ESPN and Yahoo did not exactly agree, but either way he finished just below the latter on a per-game basis and right in between in overall value. The slight underperformance can be found in the fact that his play was just a tad worse than it was in 2016-17.
It is hard to draft players coming off of career years due to their massively inflated value, but Johnson certainly did not burn you this season. He started out slow and played a minute less per game, but eventually heated up did essentially what we expected. He bumped his field goal percentage up over 50 percent, albeit on fewer shots, while maintaining almost five boards, almost four dimes and decent contributions in the defensive department. Johnson also played through multiple injuries that included minor knee tendinitis and an ankle sprain proceeded by ankle bursitis. Although Johnson only missed nine games, knee and ankle injuries can linger and impact effectiveness. It is also noteworthy that Johnson recently underwent sports hernia surgery but is expected to be ready for training camp. A fully healthy Johnson could get a slight boost in numbers and return to his 2016-17 peak.
Johnson has settled into his role as “the muscle” of the team. He was ready to fight the entire Sixers team during the playoffs and he is not someone you want to mess with. He uses that mentality as a stretch four very well as he can bruise down low while still being agile enough to step outside when he needs. With Hassan Whiteside likely gone, Johnson should have a secure role at the power forward spot — most likely off the bench. It is reasonable to expect more of the same from Johnson next season, and could even become a good value if he is priced down after he slightly underperformed this season.
ADP: 110/110 (ESPN/Yahoo), Total Value: 301/335 (8/9-cat), Per Game Value: 181/254 (8/9-cat), Games Played: 30
Stats: 30.5 MPG 14.3 PTS 1.7 3PM 2.5 REB 3.7 AST 0.7 STL 0.3 BLK .397 FG% .739 FT%
After leading the Heat during their 13-game winning streak that ultimately led to a 30-11 finish to the 2016-17 season, Waiters was rewarded with a four-year, $52 million contract over the summer. The former No. 4 overall selection of the Cavaliers, Waiters has a reputation for taking and not making shots, but he finally started producing under coach Spoelstra.
Waiters’ 2017-18 season was cut short after suffering an ankle injury that required surgery. It’s actually a continuation of the severe ankle sprain that ended his 2016-17 campaign early, as he kept pushing off surgery and playing through pain. Waiters only managed 30 games played, and was a bit disappointing in them. He definitely was more take than make as shown by his brutal .397 clip from the field. Multiple players on the Heat started a bit slow with their shot and we did not get to see if Waiters was going to improve like the rest of them — maybe he was the reason everyone else was cold. Either way, Waiters would expect to have playing time of at least 25 minutes per game next season and could be a value towards the end of drafts. People may have forgotten about Waiters after his decent 2016-17 season paired with his early exit to 2017-18.
ADP: 118/136 (ESPN/Yahoo), Total Value: 71/81 (8/9-cat), Per Game Value: 95/106 (8/9-cat), Games Played: 76
Stats: 23.4 MPG 11.4 PTS 1.3 3PM 5.6 REB 2.7 AST 0.8 STL 0.4 BLK .496 FG% .770 FT%
Kelly “The Clinic” Olynyk was a rare value play from the Heat this season. He managed to play just 23.4 minutes per game but found himself inside the top-100 in all formats except for 9-cat per-game. Olynyk has a similar history to Anthony Davis as they were both point guards in high school before undergoing massive growth spurts. Olynyk was 6’3” playing point guard and quarterback in high school before growing to 6’10” during his junior year.
Olynyk has brought many of those guard and quarterback skills into the NBA as he’s one of the better passing and dribbling centers. Olynyk is not a great athlete but uses his guard skills and craftiness to find success. He is also one of the few players to leave Brad Stevens’ system and not see a large drop-off in the quality of his play — which may be a testament to coach Spoelstra.
Olynyk provides some stats that not many centers deliver right now which is what makes him so valuable. His 77 percent from the free throw line, 2.7 assists per game, and almost one steal per game aided in his overall finish as the 71st best value in 8-cat leagues. With Hassan Whiteside expected to be traded, Olynyk could be in for a monster season next year. If he cracks the upper 20s in minutes he should be able to produce mid-round value no problem. Olynyk also missed six games due to a shoulder injury which he has had a history with. If Olynyk is the starter it may be tough to expect a full 82 games as his 76 this season were a career-high. We’ll have to see what the Heat end up doing with Whiteside before we can accurately rank Olynyk.
ADP: 68/81 (ESPN/Yahoo), Total Value: 169/198 (8/9-cat), Per Game Value: 172/221 (8/9-cat), Games Played: 67
Stats: 22.9 MPG 11.4 PTS 0.4 3PM 3.7 REB 3.4 AST 0.8 STL 0.6 BLK .437 FG% .714 FT%
After a season away from the Heat, Wade found his way back home during the trade deadline. He spent 2016-17 with the Bulls, then was bought out during last summer and picked up by the Cavs. He was supposed to supplement playmaking duties after Kyrie Irving was traded, but we all know how it actually worked out. When Wade finally got traded to the Heat in February he came in with one of the worst body fat percentages on the team; the Heat are very diligent with testing players to make sure they are in shape. Once he was with the Heat for some time and regained some passion for basketball, he was back in shape and providing scoring and playmaking off the bench. While he was nowhere near his former self, the Heat did get some benefit of having Wade back home as the young team went into the playoffs.
Wade’s stats between Cleveland and Miami were scarily similar. The main difference between the two lied in the shooting. Wade attempted 11.8 shots per game with a shooting percentage of .409, a three-point percentage of .220 on 2.0 attempts per game and just 2.6 free throws attempted at .745 from the line in Miami. Compare that to Cleveland where he shot .455/.329/.701 on 9.5/1.5/2.9 attempts per game, respectively. Wade was asked to do a lot more in Miami as they did not have a true playmaker off the bench, and his percentages dropped as a result.
Wade is currently making his decision on whether to come back for another NBA season or hang ‘em up after 14 seasons. Wade did not live up to his preseason value at all and in large part it was because the Cavaliers were not what we thought they’d be heading into the season. This caused Wade’s play to drop considerably before being traded. He did show some decline due to age and had worse 3-point and free-throw percentages after leaving Fred Hoiberg and the Bulls (Wade credited Hoiberg in helping him with his jumper while in Chicago). Wade will probably be used in a similar role for Miami if he returns which would be hard to draft given the situation. If Wade does commit to one more season he may be able to help you with scoring right away, but it may be best to let someone else take the 36-year-old.
ADP: 121/142 (ESPN/Yahoo), Total Value: 200/192 (8/9-cat), Per Game Value: 217/218 (8/9-cat), Games Played: 68
Stats: 24.7 MPG 7.7 PTS 0.7 3PM 5.4 REB 2.1 AST 0.7 STL 0.4 BLK .425 FG% .634 FT%
After garnering comparisons to LeBron James, Winslow fell into the Heat’s lap at the tenth pick in the 2015 draft. A lot of teams were extremely high on Winslow’s all-around skillset and athleticism. Celtics GM Danny Ainge even (reportedly) offered upwards of four first round picks to multiple teams for the right to draft Winslow — maybe Ainge got lucky that time. The Heat did not even listen to the offer after Winslow fell to them, something they did not expect to happen.
Winslow started off his career fairly slowly after winning a National Championship at Duke. He played 78 games his rookie year with pretty abysmal stats. After dealing with injuries in his second season that caused him to only play in 18 games, Winslow managed to play 68 games in his third year. He dealt with a left knee injury in mid-December through early-January that caused him to miss 14 games. Winslow has had many injuries to start his young career and is another thing to consider when trying to determine his value.
Despite an improved season he did not live up to his preseason ADP. In hindsight, a 10-12 round pick in 12-team leagues was a bit optimistic for Winslow given the team’s depth, but he did show some improvement in his game and is still just 22 years old.
Unfortunately, given his name and age it may be hard to ever get fair value for Winslow. He was just a late-round performer this season but will most likely continued to be ranked for improvement to come. While it is fine to price some in, we just have to remember that this might just be what Winslow is. The room for underperforming is gone when improvement is priced in and even if Winslow improves significantly, he won’t present truly optimal value. Tread carefully with Winslow as we love to side towards optimism when it comes to younger players. The Heat need a superstar and he still holds that potential, though with each season that goes by the chances of it happening continue to shrink.
ADP: 123/139 (ESPN/Yahoo), Total Value: 127/115 (8/9-cat), Per Game Value: 139/123 (8/9-cat), Games Played: 72
Stats: 28.4 MPG 11.7 PTS 1.6 3PM 3.4 REB 2.2 AST 0.8 STL 0.4 BLK .434 FG% .821 FT%
Johnson did mostly what we expected him to do this season, aside from really slowing down at the end. He ended right around his ADP across the board in all formats and even started 39 games this season. Johnson finished 2016-17 much higher than his ADP would have suggested, but even with a slight step back in production his value was fair. He saw a decrease in minutes per game, shots per game and usage percentage by two units of each. That led to slightly lower counting stats across the board with a very similar field goal percentage. One silver lining in his play was an almost six-percentage-point increase in his free throw percentage, although it was on two fewer attempts per game.
Johnson signed a four-year, $50 million contract before the 2016-17 season but had the contract extremely back-loaded. He will see a significant salary bump in 2018-19 and 2019-20 where he will be making over $19 million per season. His contract also includes a 15 percent trade kicker which most likely means he won’t be getting traded anywhere. The Heat also don’t have too much reason to trade him unless they have a real shot at a superstar and need the room.
Johnson should see a similar role in 2018-19 and if Wayne Ellington and/or Dwyane Wade do not return to the team he could see numbers similar to 2016-17. Johnson also played through various injuries this season that could have affected his play. He only missed ten games but between multiple sprains and strains he could have been slightly less than 100 percent for most of the year. If his ADP drops after this season despite giving fair value, he will be a option towards the end of drafts.
ADP: 140/147 (ESPN/Yahoo), Total Value: 221/217 (8/9-cat), Per Game Value: 248/247 (8/9-cat), Games Played: 69
Stats: 19.8 MPG 6.9 PTS 0.0 3PM 5.5 REB 1.4 AST 0.4 STL 0.6 BLK .511 FG% .720 FT%
The 14th selection in the 2017 NBA draft flashed some of the ability that made him a lottery pick. Although the Heat already had Hassan Whiteside and ended up signing Kelly Olynyk, Bam worked his way into almost 20 minutes per game in a very nice 69 games played. The Kentucky one-and-done product was touted for his athleticism and defense ability which is exactly what he provided in his rookie season. While he did not live up to his preseason ranking, the ranking was a bit dubious to begin with. It’s hard to justify taking a rookie center on a team that already has a high-quality center and signed another center to a four-year contract in the offseason.
Nonetheless, Adebayo may be in for a much larger role in his sophomore campaign as Whiteside is expected to be traded this summer. That would leave Spoelstra with a decision of who to start at the five. Adebayo provides a similar athleticism and interior presence as Whiteside, while Olynyk provides spacing and distributing ability.
If Adebayo does get to start if Whiteside is dealt then he could be in for a good fantasy season. In 19 starts this past season, Adebayo averaged 7.4 points, 7.1 bounds, 0.6 steals, 0.5 blocks, 1.2 assists and 1.3 turnovers. On the season he also shot a solid 51 percent from the field and 72 percent from the free throw line which is a good number to see from a rookie center. He also attempted seven 3-pointers and although he made none, extending his range could be a personal focus this summer. We’ll have to wait until we have definitive knowledge on Whiteside, but with him expected to be gone, Adebayo should be able to continue improving in his second season.
ADP: N/A/N/A (ESPN/Yahoo), Total Value: 400/392 (8/9-cat), Per Game Value: 355/318 (8/9-cat), Games Played: 18
Stats: 16.6 MPG 5 PTS 0.8 3PM 1.7 REB 0.9 AST 0.4 STL 0.1 BLK .493 FG% .500 FT%
McGruder was an undrafted free agent back in 2013 and bounced around multiple Summer League teams before landing with the Heat in the summer of 2015. He ended up playing the entire season in the G-League and then re-joined the Heat’s Summer League team in 2016. He finally got his chance after that summer, signing a three-year deal with the Heat and earning his first NBA season. McGruder ended up playing a large role as he played in 78 games, starting in 65 and was very much a glue guy in their rotation. Despite the good deal of playing time, McGruder never cracked more than deep-league value on a per-game basis, but was still a name to keep an eye on.
Heading into 2017-18 McGruder was not being drafted and was slated to come off the bench as one of many wing players the Heat had. However, McGruder suffered a stress fracture in his leg in October before the season and was ruled out indefinitely. After finally making his season debut at the end of February, McGruder never successfully cracked the rotation and 2017-18 was very much a lost season. McGruder looks to regain his playing time in 2018-19, but with how deep the Heat are at the wing, nothing is guaranteed. McGruder will start the season being undrafted once again.
The Heat are most likely in for a fairly tame offseason, outside of the Hassan Whiteside saga. The team does not own a draft pick in either round and are currently over the salary cap with many multi-year deals. They will be named in the LeBron James sweepstakes at times due to the relationship and success they have had together in the past, but the Heat would have to work a little bit of magic to get the cap space. Udonis Haslem, Dwyane Wade, Luke Babbitt, Jordan Mickey and Wayne Ellington are the only expiring contracts. Wade and Ellington will impact the values of other guards as a lot of shots will be up for grabs if they are no longer around next season.
Outside of free agency and the draft, Whiteside is really the only thing the Heat have to worry about. The disconnect between him and the team is clear and all signs are pointing to his time with the team being over. The market for a heavily-paid center that does not possess any guard qualities will be very thin. Whiteside is due $25 million in 2018-19 and has a player option for 2019-20 for $27 million that he surely will pick up. A trade would allow the Heat to have some cap room, and potentially add a draft pick.
If, or when, Whiteside is gone the Heat will not have many needs. They could use a true backup point guard behind Goran Dragic, but that is not something to spend high end assets on unless it’s someone they believe in for the future. The only real things the Heat need to focus on are continuing to develop and getting healthy for next season. They are in limbo right now as they are good enough to make the playoffs, but do not have many draft picks in the coming years, nor do they have the cap space to sign a star. A season very similar to 2017-18 is most likely what is on tap for 2018-19, but there can always be surprises during the summer.