Since reaching the NBA finals last year, the Miami Heat have struggled to get going in the 2020-21 campaign. Erik Spoelstra's men are currently seventh in the Eastern Conference standings and are fighting for a playoff berth.
The current season hasn't exactly been kind to them, and in this article, we will deep dive into the reasons behind their struggles.
3 reasons why Miami Heat have underperformed in the 2020-21 NBA season
The Miami Heat started the season quite slowly, and were struggling with a 7-14 record at one stage. The Eastern Conference heavyweights have rallied since then and have put themselves in a comparatively better position, but that hasn't sheathed their clear shortcomings.
#1- Injuries and Covid-19 hampered Miami Heat's progress initially
In the initial phase of the campaign, the Miami Heat went through a serious bout of Covid-19 and injuries. Star swingman Jimmy Butler missed 12 of the Miami Heat's first 18 games, while Avery Bradley, who was brought in as a defensive stopper at the guard spot, missed the first ten games.
Butler is the heart and soul of this Miami Heat side, and his absence due to the league's health and safety protocols disrupted their season in the initial phase.
Tyler Herro also didn't feature in seven games due to neck spasms, leaving Erik Spoelstra with a paper thin squad. Bam Adebayo's recurring knee injury didn't help them either, as it meant he was consistently in and out of the team.
#2- They have been the worst offensive rebounding side this season
Miami Heat are a side known for their grit and tendency to make hustle plays, but this season, the team has showcased a lackadaisical attitude on the offensive glass. They rank dead last in the offensive rebounds per game category, managing to average just 7.8 offensive boards per game.
A major reason behind their inadequacy in this area is the dearth of size in the front court after the departure of Jae Crowder in the off-season and the Meyers Leonard controversy. The Heat currently start Trevor Ariza at power forward, which leaves only Bam Adebayo as the player who is 6'8 or above in the starting lineup.
Adebayo has done his bit, tallying 2.3 offensive rebounds per contest. It's the other players who will need to step up, or the Miami Heat will be destroyed in the paint come playoff season.
#3- A stagnant offense hasn't helped Miami Heat's case
Erik Spoelstra's slow, calculative offense hasn't worked out well for the Miami Heat so far, as the team has managed a dismal offensive rating of 108.9. They rank 24th in that category, and have averaged an underwhelming 106.3 points per game, which highlights the need for a change in philosophy.
Pace has been another issue for the Miami Heat, with Jimmy Butler and co. ranking as the third slowest offense in the NBA this season. Spoelstra's playbook has become predictive, and the 2-time NBA championship winner will have to change things around on the offensive end if he wants to make a deep postseason run again.