3 people take the blame for a disappointing start to the 2022-23 season

The Miami Heat nearly pulled off a stunning rally against the Boston Celtics in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals to return to the NBA Finals. Instead, they came off short, and have been working to find their way back to the Finals this season. Unfortunately, early results were not very encouraging for Miami.

The Heat aren’t the only title contenders struggling early on, but their 5-7 start exposed the many holes in their starting roster. Miami didn’t look like the same team that managed to compile a championship slate in past seasons, and it’s starting to become too much of a problem for them.

There’s still plenty of time for Miami to figure things out this season, but if they’re going to make that turnaround, they’re going to need to do better than some of their key players. Let’s take a look at who three of these players are, and see why their early-season struggles have been so detrimental to the club.

3. Gabe Vincent

Gabe Vincent came out of nowhere last season to become a key part of the Heat’s playoff run. He was a guiding presence for the Heat when Kyle Lowry had to waste time, as he was a solid ball distributor and a knockout three-point shot. Because of this, it was safe to expect Vincent to play a bigger role this season.

The role was handed to Vincent, but he didn’t quite make the most of it. Vincent’s numbers per game are essentially the same as they were last season (8.9 PPG, 3 APG, 2.3 RPG) despite the fact that he plays more minutes per game, and his efficiency from both the court (38.1%) and behind the arc (30.2) percent) was awful.

Vincent was pretty much the opposite of what he was last season. Vincent was a consistent option who could guide the bench unit into successful outings for the heat competition. Now, it’s been a spotty shooter and hasn’t taken the step forward that it might have been expected to play in a larger role. Vincent needs to play better moving forward, because Miami really doesn’t have any options to replace him at this point.

2. Duncan Robinson

Duncan Robinson once again found himself in the Heat’s cycle out of necessity. With PJ Tucker departing in free agency and no one coming in to replace him, Miami has a huge hole on their roster. Robinson has been part of the solution, but he’s in danger of playing himself off the field again.

Robinson is the only playable option on the Heat when he’s hitting putts, as he’s a complete defensive responsibility. Robinson struggled badly with his shooting last season, and things have gotten worse this season. Robinson only shoots 36 percent from the field and 33.9 percent from threes, which simply isn’t good enough considering he doesn’t do much of anything on defense.

Robinson’s role isn’t huge for The Heat, but they’re basically forced to play him every night at this point. However, he doesn’t land enough shots to warrant his turn, and his defense is still weak. If Robinson continues to get minutes while shooting in these terrible splits, then Heat will continue to make it through an ugly start to the season.

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1. Kyle Lowry

Kyle Lowry’s importance to the Heat is clear, but over the course of 12 games, he just didn’t seem able to be the player they needed him to be this season. Lowry has seen more minutes on the field than he did last season, yet he’s managed to pull back in nearly every category possible. This is a very alarming sign if you are from Heat right now.

Lowry’s numbers per game are all down (13.1 PPG, 5.6 APG, 4.3 RPG) and his shooting percentages are the lowest they have been in the past decade (40.2 FG%, 35.5 3P%). Lowry has been serviceable for the most part, but the Heat need more of him, and so far he hasn’t been able to step up and produce as well as they need him to.

Lowry is relied upon to play solid defense, facilitate offense, and hit his shots. So far, it’s been doing it, but not at the rate Miami needs it to. With Vincent’s struggles also behind him, Heat doesn’t have many other options other than to continue riding with Lori and hope he can figure things out. But Laurie is 36 years old, and there is a possibility that he may be reversing before our eyes. If so, Miami could be in big trouble.

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