What to expect from the Miami Heat’s new-look roster entering the 2021-22 season

·11 min read

The start of the 2021-22 NBA season is here.

The first game of the season is Tuesday night, and the Miami Heat opens its schedule on Thursday against the defending NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks at FTX Arena.

The Heat will begin the regular season with 14 players signed to standard contracts — one below the NBA limit — in part to avoid crossing the luxury tax threshold. Miami did fill both of its two-way contract spots.

Here’s a closer look at the Heat’s full roster:

Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo (13) dribbles the ball during a practice scrimmage in front of kids from Miami Dynasty Basketball Camp at FTX Arena in Miami on October 1, 2021.
Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo (13) dribbles the ball during a practice scrimmage in front of kids from Miami Dynasty Basketball Camp at FTX Arena in Miami on October 1, 2021.

BAM ADEBAYO, center

Age: Turned 24 on July 18.

Projected role: Starter.

What to expect: Adebayo is one of the best defenders in the NBA, and his offensive game continues to grow. He’s an important part of the Heat’s plan this season and for seasons to come.

Quotable: “I love when people doubt me. I feel like a chip will make a monster, so I try to find stuff that will motivate me like UD’s rebounding record. That’s motivation. Seeing what D-Wade has done in his career in Miami, that’s motivation. That’s something that I want to do, that’s something that I want to be a part of and get that experience.” - Adebayo on his motivation entering the season

Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler (22) reacts during a practice scrimmage in front of kids from Miami Dynasty Basketball Camp at FTX Arena in Miami on October 1, 2021.
Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler (22) reacts during a practice scrimmage in front of kids from Miami Dynasty Basketball Camp at FTX Arena in Miami on October 1, 2021.

JIMMY BUTLER, wing

Age: Turned 32 on Sept. 14.

Projected role: Starter.

What to expect: Butler was the Heat’s best player last season, when he was one of six players in the NBA who averaged at least 20 points, six rebounds and seven assists. He’s expected to lead the way again this season with his well-rounded game.

Quotable: “I still play the same way. I shoot the ball when I’m open. I pass it when I’m not. Make sure I get everybody involved. I play off the ball a lot more. I’m glad I get the opportunity to do that. But all in all, I’ve still got the same job, and that’s to win. I think I’ve got to do a better job of that than last year. New team, so we’ll see where we’re at.” - Butler on what’s different about his role with the addition of Kyle Lowry.

Miami Heat center Dewayne Dedmon (21) poses for a portrait during Miami Heat Media Day at FTX Arena in Miami on Monday, September 27, 2021.
Miami Heat center Dewayne Dedmon (21) poses for a portrait during Miami Heat Media Day at FTX Arena in Miami on Monday, September 27, 2021.

DEWAYNE DEDMON, center

Age: Turned 32 on Aug. 12.

Projected role: Rotation player off the bench.

What to expect: Dedmon took over as the Heat’s backup center shortly after he signed last season and provided much-needed quality minutes when Adebeyo went to the bench. Dedmon’s size, energy, touch around the rim and rebounding will again help Miami.

Quotable: “Just doing what I did last year when I came here. Just bringing that energy, kind of staying aggressive on the defensive end. Just being aggressive and doing what I do.” — Dedmon on how he can help the Heat.

Miami Heat guard Marcus Garrett (0) poses for a portrait during Miami Heat Media Day at FTX Arena in Miami on September 27, 2021.
Miami Heat guard Marcus Garrett (0) poses for a portrait during Miami Heat Media Day at FTX Arena in Miami on September 27, 2021.

MARCUS GARRETT, guard

Age: Turns 23 on Nov. 9.

Projected role: Adds depth, but not expected to be in the rotation to begin the season.

What to expect: As one of the Heat’s two-way contract players, Garrett’s defense is NBA ready, but he’s still working to refine aspects of his offensive game. Most of his playing time as a rookie could come in the G League with the Sioux Falls Skyforce unless injuries lift him into Miami’s rotation.

Quotable: “As camp went on, he really started to make his presence felt defensively. Picking up the ball full court, getting deflections, getting steals. So if he can do that, we really value that for sure, and he’ll definitely be able to help us win games.” - Duncan Robinson on Garrett.

Miami Heat forward Udonis Haslem stands for the national anthem before a preseason NBA basketball game against the Charlotte Hornets, Monday, Oct. 11, 2021, in Miami.
Miami Heat forward Udonis Haslem stands for the national anthem before a preseason NBA basketball game against the Charlotte Hornets, Monday, Oct. 11, 2021, in Miami.

UDONIS HASLEM, forward

Age: Turned 41 on June 9.

Projected role: Team captain who is not expected to be in the rotation.

What to expect: Entering his 19th NBA season, Haslem’s impact will mostly be felt behind the scenes. He has played in just 29 games since the start of the 2017-18 season and has served as a Heat captain in each of the past 14 seasons.

Quotable: “When coach has put me in, I’ve given the numbers that he’s needed me to give, I’ve given the energy that he’s needed me to give. The thing about it is that I still have the passion and I still have game to give. As long as the body holds up, I’m fine.” — Haslem.

Miami Heat guard Tyler Herro (13) dribbles over Atlanta Hawks guard Bogdon Bogdanovic (13) during the first quarter of an NBA game at FTX Arena in Miami, Florida, on Monday, October 4, 2021.
Miami Heat guard Tyler Herro (13) dribbles over Atlanta Hawks guard Bogdon Bogdanovic (13) during the first quarter of an NBA game at FTX Arena in Miami, Florida, on Monday, October 4, 2021.

TYLER HERRO, guard

Age: Turns 22 on Jan. 20.

Projected role: Sixth man.

What to expect: Herro was one of only four players to average 20 or more points on at least 50 percent shooting from the field and 40 percent shooting on threes this preseason. The hype surrounding Herro entering his third NBA season is real, and his natural scoring ability off the bench will be an important part of the Heat’s formula.

Quotable: “He has really improved all across the board. His skill level is extremely high. He has really worked at it. This is a league that’s becoming a league of skill and he’s developing into one of the most skilled players in this league.” — Erik Spoelstra on Herro.

Miami Heat guard Kyle Lowry (7) signals during a game against the Boston Celtics at FTX Arena in Miami on Friday, October 15, 2021.
Miami Heat guard Kyle Lowry (7) signals during a game against the Boston Celtics at FTX Arena in Miami on Friday, October 15, 2021.

KYLE LOWRY, guard

Age: Turns 36 on March 25.

Projected role: Starter.

What to expect: Lowry, who was voted into the All-Star Game in six of the past seven seasons, will be relied on to elevate the Heat’s offense as the starting point guard with his up-tempo style, playmaking ability and three-point shooting. He’ll also serve as a tough and savvy defender who adds to an already impressive star core that includes Adebayo and Butler.

Quotable: “There’s a reason why we went after him. You could see his ability to impact a game and do it in so many different facets. I think that’s a really unique skill in this league, impacting winning. He can do it on either end of the floor. He can do it with the ball, without the ball. Sometimes with his mind, the way he can manipulate a possession. All of that is a great fit.” - Spoelstra on Lowry.

Miami Heat forward Caleb Martin poses for Getty Images photographer Michael Reaves during Media Day for the 2021-22 NBA season at FTX Arena on Monday, September 27 2021, in Miami.
Miami Heat forward Caleb Martin poses for Getty Images photographer Michael Reaves during Media Day for the 2021-22 NBA season at FTX Arena on Monday, September 27 2021, in Miami.

CALEB MARTIN, wing

Age: Turned 26 on Sept. 28.

Projected role: Adds depth and could end up being a situational rotation player.

What to expect: In terms of two-way contract players around the league, Martin is a savvy veteran after playing on a standard contract with the Charlotte Hornets in each of the past two seasons. He has the potential to be a contributor with his ability to help on both ends of the court as a 6-5, 205-pound athletic wing.

Quotable: “He has been a highly active, energetic disruptive player, and that’s going back to college. In his opportunities in Charlotte, we really respected him and liked how he played. He competes on the defensive end. He has the positional size and quickness, and the commitment on that side of the floor. You can build the rest of it after that.” — Spoelstra on Martin.

Miami Heat forward Markieff Morris (8) drives to the basket in the fourth quarter at FTX Arena in Miami on Friday, October 15, 2021.
Miami Heat forward Markieff Morris (8) drives to the basket in the fourth quarter at FTX Arena in Miami on Friday, October 15, 2021.

MARKIEFF MORRIS, forward

Age: Turned 32 on Sept. 2.

Projected role: Rotation player off the bench.

What to expect: Morris brings experience as a 10-year veteran and physicality on both ends of the court. The Heat hopes Morris, along with P.J. Tucker, can help fill a void at power forward. At 6-9 and 245 pounds, he even has the frame to play as a small-ball center for stretches.

Quotable: “There’s a lot of upside with Markieff. This is just scratching the surface. He’s getting his legs. He’s getting into Miami Heat condition. He came into camp fit and in good condition, and then there’s our level and he has a lot of different things that he can do. You can play him at the elbow. Actually, you can play him in a lot of similar areas of how you play Bam.” — Spoelstra on Morris.

Miami Heat forward KZ Okpala (11) as seen from the sidelines during the second half of an NBA preseason game against the Charlotte Hornets at FTX Arena in Miami, Florida, on Monday, October 11, 2021.
Miami Heat forward KZ Okpala (11) as seen from the sidelines during the second half of an NBA preseason game against the Charlotte Hornets at FTX Arena in Miami, Florida, on Monday, October 11, 2021.

KZ OKPALA, forward

Age: Turns 23 on April 28.

Projected role: Adds depth, but not expected to be in the rotation to begin the season.

What to expect: This is an important season for Okpala, who’s entering the final year of his first NBA contract. But he already faces an uphill battle in finding consistent playing time this season after the Heat signed Morris and Tucker in free agency this past summer.

Quotable: “I would say, just trying to conquer every day, really. Being consistent, confident every day. Taking care of all the little things and just being ready for my opportunity.” — Okpala on his approach entering his third NBA season.

Miami Heat guard Victor Oladipo poses for Getty Images photographer Michael Reaves during Media Day for the 2021-22 NBA season at FTX Arena on Monday, September 27, 2021, in Miami.
Miami Heat guard Victor Oladipo poses for Getty Images photographer Michael Reaves during Media Day for the 2021-22 NBA season at FTX Arena on Monday, September 27, 2021, in Miami.

VICTOR OLADIPO, guard

Age: Turns 30 on May 4.

Projected role: A rotation player when healthy.

What to expect: Oladipo won’t be ready for the start of the season after undergoing knee surgery in May. But there’s hope that he’ll be cleared to return to full contact basketball as early as November and be able to play in games by March. Oladipo’s potential return in the middle of the season lifts the Heat’s ceiling, as he was one of the NBA’s top two-way players just a few seasons ago before his injury.

Quotable: “I wasn’t given the opportunity to be my best self here. I don’t know what our team would have done with a healthy version of me because I wasn’t given that opportunity. I was dealt a bad hand. I feel there’s unfinished business here. I feel like I came here for a reason and there’s a purpose for me being here, and I’m trying to find out what that is.” — Oladipo on why he returned to the Heat in free agency this offseason.

Miami Heat’s Duncan Robinson, left, drives against San Antonio Spurs’ Derrick White during the first half of a preseason NBA basketball game, Friday, Oct. 8, 2021, in San Antonio.
Miami Heat’s Duncan Robinson, left, drives against San Antonio Spurs’ Derrick White during the first half of a preseason NBA basketball game, Friday, Oct. 8, 2021, in San Antonio.

DUNCAN ROBINSON, forward

Age: Turns 28 on April 22.

Projected role: Starter.

What to expect: Robinson is a fixture in the Heat’s starting lineup, with his elite three-point shooting helping to unlock the full potential of many of Miami’s lineup combinations. The Heat has outscored opponents by a combined margin of 439 points over the past two regular seasons with Adebayo, Butler and Robinson on the court together.

Quotable: “My own expectations of myself have pretty much remained exactly the same. Nothing is changing now for me. I understand that publicly, the image kind of changes. But for me, I’ve always felt that I’m capable of more. So for me, it’s just all about continuing to push the envelope and continuing to just buy into the day-to-day of it all.” — Robinson on how his new $90 million contract alters expectations.

Miami Heat guard Max Strus does drills during training camp in preparation for the 2021-22 NBA season at FTX Arena on September 28 2021, in Miami.
Miami Heat guard Max Strus does drills during training camp in preparation for the 2021-22 NBA season at FTX Arena on September 28 2021, in Miami.

MAX STRUS, wing

Age: Turns 26 on March 28.

Projected role: Rotation player off the bench.

What to expect: Strus looks to be on track to begin the season as a consistent member of the Heat’s bench rotation. His three-point shooting is his biggest weapon, but he has showed off other parts of his growing game since he first signed with Miami last year.

Quotable: “I got all the confidence in the world just to keep improving and keep expanding on my role, and just grow into something here and just hopefully fill in a role and be on this team. I’ll be ready for whatever my role is going to be this year and however the team is going to use me.” — Strus

Miami Heat forward P.J. Tucker walks off the basketball court after practice during training camp in preparation for the 2021-22 NBA season at FTX Arena on Tuesday, September 28, 2021.
Miami Heat forward P.J. Tucker walks off the basketball court after practice during training camp in preparation for the 2021-22 NBA season at FTX Arena on Tuesday, September 28, 2021.

P.J. TUCKER, forward

Age: Turns 37 on May 5.

Projected role: Starter.

What to expect: Tucker is a physical and experienced three-and-D option that almost assuredly will begin the season as the Heat’s starting power forward. He has established himself as one of the best corner three-point shooters in the NBA, as he led the league in corner threes made for three consecutive seasons from 2017 to 2020.

Quotable: “He’s one of the best corner three-point shooters in this league. We want him to let it fly. We want him to have double-digit games with double-digit three-point attempts this season. The more reps he can get for us, that means good things for our spacing and a lot of different things.” — Spoelstra on Tucker.

Miami Heat guard Gabe Vincent does drills during training camp in preparation for the 2021-22 NBA season at FTX Arena on Tuesday, September 28, 2021, in Miami.
Miami Heat guard Gabe Vincent does drills during training camp in preparation for the 2021-22 NBA season at FTX Arena on Tuesday, September 28, 2021, in Miami.

GABE VINCENT, guard

Age: Turned 25 on June 14.

Projected role: Situational rotation player.

What to expect: Vincent is technically the Heat’s backup point guard based on traditional positions, but a combo guard like Herro or a wing like Butler could end up playing that role. There’s definitely a place for Vincent in the rotation, though, as a pesky on-ball defender who can also make threes.

Quotable: “With Kendrick [Nunn] and Goran [Dragic] gone, I might have more responsibility in terms of getting guys organized. But I think a lot of it will be on the ball, a little more back-up one, having to defend at a higher level than I did last year even, make open shots and make simple plays.” — Vincent on his role.

Miami Heat center Omer Yurtseven (77) poses for portraits during Miami Heat Media Day at FTX Arena in Miami on Monday, September 27, 2021.
Miami Heat center Omer Yurtseven (77) poses for portraits during Miami Heat Media Day at FTX Arena in Miami on Monday, September 27, 2021.

OMER YURTSEVEN, center

Age: Turned 23 on June 19.

Projected role: Adds depth, but not expected to be in the rotation to begin the season.

What to expect: With Dedmon entering the season as Adebayo’s backup at center and Tucker and Morris also providing experienced frontcourt options, playing time could be scarce for Yurtseven to begin the season. But Yurtseven’s polished offensive skill set makes him an intriguing addition to the Heat’s developmental program, with the potential to improve on the defensive end.

Quotable: “Big O has been working out all summer. At one point, it was just me and O in the gym over the summer. So he’s a hard worker. He’s been working hard all summer. He’s a skilled big. He can shoot it, he can roll, catch lobs. Big O is good. He’s going to help us.” — Herro on Yurtseven.

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