Miami Heat: Versatility remains the name of the game

(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

The Miami Heat may have added some new bodies to their 2020-21 roster, but developing versatile players still remains a top priority.

This offseason has been an entirely new world for NBA personnel and fans alike; between a condensed timeframe, teams relocating back to their original markets and many ball clubs unable to host fans, there are changes galore heading into 2020-21 play.

That’s not even mentioning the numerous free agency signings and trades, including Gordon Hayward heading to the Charlotte Hornets, Dwight Howard landing with the Philadelphia 76ers and Montrezl Harrell flipping from the LA Clippers to the Los Angeles Lakers.

Still, despite the state of both the league and the world at large, some things will never change, like the Miami Heat‘s focus on player versatility, for example.

Having recently signed a $163 million, five-year maximum contract extension, Bam Adebayo is perhaps the Heat’s best example of what versatile play really means. The big man averaged a balanced 15.9 points, 10.2 rebounds, 5.1 assists, 1.3 blocks and 1.1 steals a game in 33.6 minutes of regular-season action, only having increased his offensive and defensive outputs during the playoffs, averaging 17.8 points and 10.3 rebounds, in 36.2 minutes a game.

But Adebayo’s well-rounded presence is proven by more than just his stat lines. The eye-test very much confirms his active contributions on both ends of the floor, carried out in a number of ways to boot. The 23-year-old might often use his sheer size and strength to break rims and block shots, but he also just as soon acts as Miami’s primary ball-handler and creates looks for his shooters.

All of which yes, is a concerted effort that he explained to reporters over a week ago.

"“I feel like I’m trying to change basketball,” explained. Adebayo, after signing his contract extension. “Being a center, being able to play both sides of the ball and being able to pass as well as I can, that’s a difference-maker on a team, especially at the center spot, so it’s respect at all levels.”"

Jimmy Butler has certainly proven his worth in this arena as well, with the added bonus of truly understanding what it means to play a team sport.

"“I’m not going to say ‘carry a team’ because nobody can do it by themselves and I mean that, Butler said, while discussing his fresh start with the Heat via Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes. “I’m not putting it all on myself, but I know what I’m capable of. I know what I bring to any and all situations, and the group of guys that we have is the group of guys that I want to play with.”"

While Butler may have quite a supporting cast, his own versatility stands out as a top reason why Miami was so successful this past year. Offensively, he’s a consistent scorer, exhibiting no hesitation over driving to the lane, pulling up from mid-range or even splashing a three here and there. And defensively? The Houston-native provides a number of skills such as screen-setting, taking charges and picking pockets.

In fact, with how effortlessly Butler has fit into head coach Erik Spoelstra’s positionless basketball system, sometimes it’s hard to believe he’s only been with the group for one season.

And yet, what a first chapter it was; the 31-year-old averaged 19.9 points, 6.7 rebounds, 6.0 assists and 1.8 steals a game in 33.8 minutes during the regular season, increasing his production to 22.2 points per contest in the postseason alongside 6.5 rebounds, 6.0 assists and 2.0 steals, in 38.4 minutes.

Although there are certainly still guys who could stand to add a few more tricks to their bags (Charles Barkley recently called for Duncan Robinson to learn how to dribble), overall, this Heat squad screams dynamic.

Next. Miami Heat Basketball and the Bam Adebayo Effect. dark

Miami Heat Basketball has recently entered a new era, but the organization’s core values continue to remain unchanged.