The Miami Heat have been coveted around the NBA as having one of the deeper teams without a star, but how realistically good is the Heat’s glorified bench of role players?
Miami Heat bench mob. The bench. However you want to call it. It’s obviously essential to any team, especially if the starters aren’t doing their job in games. How do the Miami Heat’s bench stack up against other teams in the NBA? Let’s look at the numbers:
The number of points that Miami’s bench scores per game, which is currently sixth in the league behind the New York Knicks (gulp). The gulp is for not just for the fact that the Knicks (the current 10-34 Knicks) are, well, not so good. As for the next four teams after the Knicks, um, they may deserve a “gulp” too.
The Los Angeles Clippers score 52.2 bench points per game, tops in the NBA. The Clipps are also a borderline playoff team in the Western Conference. The Lebron-less LA Lakers are fighting their Staples Center rival for a playoff spot. The Brooklyn Nets are second, at 47.1. While they have improved and are finally showing signs of a team that is on the rise, they still look to miss the playoffs, despite currently being the 6th seed in the East. At 44.5 bench points per game are the Charlotte Hornets, who are just below the Heat as the current 8th seed. The 4th ranked bench scoring team? The 9-37 Cleveland Cavaliers. The worst team in the NBA.
Obviously there isn’t enough scoring coming from their starters so the bench has to work that hard to keep the team in the game. Should being ranked so high in bench scoring be a concerning to the Heat? Of course not! As long as the starters play well and bench players like Dwyane Wade, Tyler Johnson, and Dion Waiters (if/when he gets more minutes and remains on the bench/team) keep scoring, it will be a huge plus.
The number of rebounds the Heat’s bench averages remains as a top-five team, currently 4th in the league. The main reason for this: Bam Adebayo. He is everywhere. He’s averaging 6.8 rebounds a game. Off the bench. He’s active, throwing his body around for offensive rebounds and putbacks. He’s basically doing it the Heat way. Yes, that’s so cliche. If Hassan Whiteside wasn’t with Heat, Bam would surely start. There’s a reason why Bam is on the court and Whiteside remains on the bench at crunchtime in the 4th quarter. It would hurt the bench if Bam was a starter, but would definitely help the Heat starters if he did start.
The efficiency percentage of the Heat is currently 49.3, making them the 3rd most efficient team in the league.. How is efficiency calculated, you ask? Well it is calculated like this: ((Points + Rebounds + Assists + Steals + Blocks) – ((Field Goals Att. – Field Goals Made) + (Free Throws Att. – Free Throws Made) + Turnovers)). Got all that?
It does a good job of showing which player or what team has had an efficient game. Being 3rd in this is a great sign for the Heat. It means that the bench is playing meaningful minutes and can keep the Heat in games when most of the starters are on the bench getting a breather. Things may change with Goran Dragic is finally healthy because there’s no indication if he will start again. Justice Winslow has taken great strides as starting point guard.
Will a trade eventually happen? The Heat has only a few weeks to make a decision before the trade deadline.
There’s a good chance the way this current Heat team is structured won’t make any noise in the playoffs, but with the few young pieces they have, they will at least be competitive. Being just competitive won’t win you championships. Pat Riley isn’t looking to just be competitive. He wants to win now.
Even with potential trades coming, at least the Heat’s bench is very promising.