The Miami Heat brought back the versatile James Johnson and acquired the underrated Kelly Olynyk this offseason. Now we wonder: Who is the starting power forward?
After putting on the full-court press for Gordon Hayward, the Miami Heat ultimately got spurned by the All-Star forward. However, that didn’t stop Pat Riley‘s team from having a successful 2017 NBA free agency period.
Miami re-signed James Johnson and Dion Waiters, which in and of itself, were small victories. Making those small victories feel just a bit more grandiose, though, is the fact that they did so using contracts filled with “unlikely bonuses” that won’t count against their cap space.
That, in turn, saved them just enough room to exercise their team option on Wayne Ellington, allowing them to bring back their best three-point shooter for another year.
The Heat were also able to sign one of the top free agents of the 2017 class in Kelly Olynyk — a move that surprised the basketball community.
Add in Bam Adebayo, who Miami drafted with the 14th overall pick in the draft, plus the return of a healthy Justise Winslow, and the Heat can’t feel too sorry for themselves after missing out on Hayward.
Now, it’s about putting it all together. Head coach Erik Spoelstra will have various questions to answer before next season tips off — chief among them: Who’s going to start at power forward?
The two top options, of course, are Johnson and Olynyk. The former is coming off the best year of his career, one in which he averaged 12.8 points per game to go with 4.9 boards, 3.6 assists and 1.1 blocks.
While Olynyk’s 2017 marks (9.0 points, 4.8 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 0.6 steals a night) almost pale in comparison, there are reasons to believe he could be Miami’s starting power forward to open next season as well.
Let’s take a look at both guys a little more closely, and make a case for each as the starter next to Hassan Whiteside.