Team No. 5 – Miami Heat
The Miami Heat are still battling the Knicks in the second round of the playoffs despite entering the postseason as the eighth seed in the East. Everybody must give the Heat props for their consistently competitive culture and for defeating the No. 1-seeded Milwaukee Bucks.
But that doesn’t negate the fact that they are a team needing to make a move.
Jimmy Butler has been playing like peak “Playoff Jimmy,” but one has to wonder how many seasons like this he has left at age 33. In addition, Kyle Lowry is 37, and Kevin Love is 34.
This team is loaded with veterans but lacks the superstars and offense necessary to be considered true championship contenders. To make matters worse, Victor Oladipo has no timetable to return after recently undergoing patellar tendon surgery on his left knee.
Perhaps it’s time to retool in Miami.
Because of its ability to attract free agents, the Heat doesn’t necessarily need a complete roster overhaul, but there’s no denying the team needs to get younger. It needs to get out of this no-man’s-land as an eighth seed trending in the wrong direction regarding age and timelines.
Blazers’ options with the Heat
Bam Adebayo is the one player who would be a perfect fit for Portland. Similar to Gobert, Adebayo would provide the Blazers with that defensive-minded center.
However, Bam is more versatile than Gobert on both ends of the floor. This season, Adebayo averaged 20.4 points, 9.2 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.2 steals, and 0.8 blocks on 54 percent shooting from the field and 80.6 percent from the free throw line, earning his second NBA All-Star appearance.
The two statistical categories that stand out for how the Blazers could implement Bam are his assists and steals.
Regarding his assists, Adebayo’s offensive playmaking ability would allow him to play a Draymond Green-type role.
This video perfectly encapsulates Adebayo’s playmaking skill set, highlighting his tendency to go to dribble handoffs (DHOs) early in transition.
It’s easy to imagine how that would translate into Portland’s offense. He can become a distributor at the top of the key in transition and half-court sets while Lillard and others come off screens.
The steals also stand out because he is defensively versatile as a center. Bam can effectively guard out on the perimeter in switching situations, which is something Nurkic and Portland need to improve on.
There’s also a report regarding Adebayo’s trade availability and how it’s not off the table. In that article, there’s an encouraging quote for Blazers fans:
"The notion of trading Adebayo cannot be entirely ruled out, wrote Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald."
Sure, Bam is 25 years old, so on the surface it doesn’t make sense for the Heat to get rid of its youngest All-Star in an attempt to get younger.
However, if needed, the Blazers can offer an enticing package of Simons (23 years old), Sharpe (19), and multiple first-round picks. In the long run, the Heat might be better off retooling around the Blazers’ young assets and 23-year-old shooting guard Tyler Herro.