With Lowry, Heat hoping for run again to NBA title competition

Published:Nov 24, 202319:01

MIAMI (AP) — Kyle Lowry has been teammates with most of the greatest gamers on the earth. He gained an NBA championship in Toronto. He helped the U.S. seize an Olympic gold medal 5 years in the past. He’s been to the All-Star Sport six occasions.

When he will get round such gamers, he at all times sees the identical factor.

“They’re really, really ... good. Like, they’re really good,” Lowry stated.

Expertise, Lowry insists, isn’t sufficient to win. However expertise and smarts -- the mixture that he believes exists with the Miami Heat -- can take a group a really good distance That’s why he’s in a brand new uniform for the primary time in almost a decade.

Lowry is Miami’s new level guard, forming a trio with Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler that the Heat hope might be sufficient to get them again into title competition.

“He’s just a great winner,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra stated of Lowry. “He knows how to impact winning. You can look at all the accolades, he’s a decorated player, and all of it is earned. But when you weave through all of that — the All-NBA’s, the All-Stars, the Olympic team, all of this stuff — it really boils down to him finding a way to impact winning, and he does it on both ends of the court.”

The Heat are barely greater than a calendar yr faraway from going to the 2020 NBA Finals; that series ended Oct. 11, 2020. However final yr’s group by no means obtained firing like that one did, and wound up getting swept within the first spherical by eventual NBA champion Milwaukee.

So, Miami spent the summer season getting more durable. Lowry was acquired from Toronto in a deal that despatched Goran Dragic to the Raptors. The Heat added rugged forwards P.J. Tucker and Markieff Morris as free brokers, ensured Butler wouldn’t be free anytime quickly by getting him to signal an extension and stored sharpshooter Duncan Robinson round with a brand new deal as nicely.

Tucker, Morris and Lowry all have NBA championships. That wasn’t misplaced on Robinson.

“They have experience and championship pedigree,” Robinson stated. “They all have their own games and what they bring, but from an approach standpoint, they have a common thread. Miami, as an organization, we have a very clear vision of how we want to be how we want to play. I feel like this team, as much as any team I’ve been on here in Miami, aligns with that vision really, really well.”

Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra signals to his players during the first half of a preseason NBA basketball game against the San Antonio Spurs, Friday, Oct. 8, 2021, in San Antonio.


Between Lowry, Butler, Adebayo and Robinson alone, the Heat have dedicated — simply within the final 12 months — greater than $500 million in contracts. All are locked up for a minimum of the subsequent three seasons, whereas Robinson is for 4 and Adebayo for 5. Tyler Herro is extension-eligible after this season and the Heat stay fairly excessive on his potential, so it’s doable that the present core may very well be Miami’s core for years to come back.


Spoelstra ought to transfer into the highest 25 of all-time winningest NBA coaches this season. He’s at present twenty seventh with 607 wins, six behind Mike Dunleavy and 21 behind Doug Moe. He’s additionally one in all solely six coaches ever with a minimum of 607 wins, a .589 successful share and 85 playoff victories -- a membership alongside Phil Jackson, Gregg Popovich, Pink Auerbach, Jerry Sloan and Heat President Pat Riley.


Lowry is listed at solely 6 ft, although he might give Miami a rebounding enhance this season. Amongst gamers 6 ft or shorter, solely Chris Paul has more rebounds than Lowry in NBA historical past. Lowry has averaged 5.2 rebounds per sport over the past 4 seasons and should assist a Heat group that ranked twenty fourth within the NBA in rebounds per 100 possessions final season — twenty ninth total in complete rebounds.


With Adebayo being a part of the group that gained gold this previous summer season on the Tokyo Video games, the Heat now have three present gamers who can say they're Olympic champions. Butler and Lowry had been teammates on the group that gained gold for the U.S. on the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics. Miami is one in all 4 groups to at present have a minimum of three gold medalists, becoming a member of the Los Angeles Lakers, Brooklyn and Golden State.


The beginning of the season might be daunting and doubtlessly telling for the Heat. Miami begins with a 13-game stretch in opposition to 12 completely different groups that gained almost 60% of their video games final season. The Heat went 11-23 in opposition to these 12 groups final season and had been outscored by 7.5 factors on common in these contests, together with playoffs. They had been additionally a mixed 0-8 in opposition to Dallas, Denver, Memphis and the Los Angeles Clippers. In opposition to all different golf equipment final season, Miami went 29-13.


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