Miami Head Coach signed four players and benched two because of…

Think back to around four months prior. When questioned about his role with the Miami Heat this year, Kyle Lowry became defensive at the idea of playing more minutes than he did during the team’s championship run the previous year

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At the FAU campus during Heat training camp, he stated, “I expect to start.”

From that point on, Erik Spoelstra, the coach, and point guard Lowry, 37, were frequently questioned about their willingness to come off the bench.

Lowry did start 36 games until being benched by Spoelstra in a Jan. 19 defeat to the Atlanta Hawks due to the team’s offensive shortcomings.

After the game, Lowry told reporters, “Hopefully it’s a one-game thing.”

Before the Heat chose to deal Lowry and a future first-round selection to the Charlotte Hornets for Terry Rozier, he only played one more game while wearing the Heat uniform. He did so two nights later against the Orlando Magic, coming off the bench.

Early this month, Lowry inked a contract with the Philadelphia 76ers, his home team, following the Hornets and him negotiating a buyout.

During his first press conference as a 76er, Lowry said he would be happy to fill any position head coach Nick Nurse assigns him.”I’m happy to be here,” Lowry said. “I know what my responsibilities are. My responsibility is to see to it that Tyrese [Maxey] recovers, so that this team reaches a level they haven’t experienced in a long time. It is my responsibility to take all necessary steps to improve this team and this company. Regardless of the position, the minutes, or the circumstances. Being a professional is my job.”

This seems to be a significant change in Lowry’s perspective. While Lowry is prepared to play any position and any number of minutes in Philadelphia, he was emphatic about starting in Miami.

However, this is due to a few factors. Remember that Gabe Vincent outperformed Lowry as the starting point guard during the Heat’s run to the Finals last season, so Lowry did choose to come off the bench. The Heat had just two typical point guards on the roster going into training camp: Lowry and the untested Dru Smith. Vincent signed with the Los Angeles Lakers as a free agency last summer. If Lowry took one glance around that locker room and decided to go for it, then it would make sense.

Lowry is unquestionably No. 2 in Philadelphia after Tyrese Maxey, who is the front-runner to win the Most Improved Player award and has developed into Joel Embiid’s co-star for the 76ers.

Fans of the Heat are right to be frustrated with how Lowry’s last few weeks were. Since he started playing regularly in 2010, he had the lowest average of points (8.2), field goals attempted (6.5), and assists (4). It was obvious that Miami needed more from him to boost its attack. The Heat moved on because Lowry was unwilling or unable to offer that.

The Heat acquired Lowry in 2021 in exchange for rookie center Precious Achiuwa and fan favorite Goran Dragic. In the Eastern Conference finals, they were defeated in seven games by the Boston Celtics despite having secured the top seed for the 2021–2022 season. As the eighth seed in Miami’s unexpected run to the Finals the previous season, Lowry averaged 26 minutes per game off the bench.

In his two and a half seasons in Miami, Lowry—who was last chosen an All-Star in 2020—averaged 11.4 points on 42.5% shooting and 5.8 assists.

This season, the Heat have changed up their point guard lineup. Rozier and Delon Wright, who just signed following a buyout with the Washington Wizards, have joined Miami in lieu of Lowry, who is in Philadelphia, and Smith, who will miss the remainder of the season due to a knee injury.

With Rozier sidelined for the final two games before to the All-Star break due to a sprained knee, the Heat are 4-6 when he plays. He should return in the upcoming weeks. As the All-Star break approached, the Heat had won six of their previous eight games. The season picks back up in New Orleans on Friday against the Pelicans. On March 18, they go to Philadelphia to play the 76ers.

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