Season No. 35 opens Wednesday for the Miami Heat with a familiar roster not necessarily cast in familiar roles.
That makes Wednesday’s 7:30 p.m. opener against the Chicago Bulls at FTX Arena somewhat of unveiling of how what is old can become new again.
In some ways, it is a gamble by Pat Riley, Andy Elisburg and the team’s front office that internal growth can overcome that lack of external exploration.
So, for now, these are the 16 faces of the 2022-23 Miami Heat, with all but three returning from the roster that advanced within one victory of last season’s NBA Finals
No. 13 Bam Adebayo
Height: 6-9. Weight: 255.
Age: 25. Salary: $30.4 million.
Fresh outlook: The stated offseason goal was a more aggressive offensive approach from Adebayo, who all too often was discounted by opposing defenses during the playoffs as the lack of a threat on that end. Adebayo averaged 13 shots last season, but the key to increased productivity could be exceeding last season’s 6.1 free throws.
No. 22 Jimmy Butler
Height: 6-7. Weight: 230.
Age: 33. Salary: $37.7 million.
Fresh outlook: This is the rare exception of seeking more or better among the Heat’s returning players. Butler played at an All-NBA level last season and took his game up a notch in the playoffs. If his body allows, availability during the regular season could be crucial toward gaining a quality seed in the uber-competitive Eastern Conference. Only once since 2016-17 has Butler appeared in at least 60 regular-season games.
No. 8 Jamal Cain
Height: 6-7. Weight: 191.
Age: 23. Salary: $509,000 (two-way contract).
Fresh outlook: One of three newcomers to the roster, the undrafted rookie out of Oakland University had breakout moments during the preseason and the Heat have shown a willingness to utilize two-way players in key regular-season minutes, as evidenced by Caleb Martin’s contributions at the start of last season. The Heat’s wing glut, however, could limit such Cain opportunities.
No. 21 Dewayne Dedmon
Height: 7-0. Weight: 245.
Age: 33. Salary: $4.7 million.
Fresh outlook: Unlike last season, when there essentially was no competition for the backup role behind Bam Adebayo, Dedmon will have to hold off the youth of Omer Yurtseven and Nikola Jovic. That could mean having to show more of a 3-point game, while continuing to provide veteran defense and rebounding.
No. 40 Udonis Haslem
Height: 6-8. Weight: 235.
Age: 42. Salary: $2.9 million.
Fresh outlook: In light of the loss of P.J. Tucker without replacement, could we see Haslem match last season’s 13 appearances, after only five the previous two seasons? Most likely not, but it would help justify holding a roster spot for their 20th NBA season.
No. 14 Tyler Herro
Height: 6-5. Weight: 195.
Age: 22. Salary: $5.7 million.
Fresh outlook: Yes, the extension that takes Herro into the salary stratosphere does not kick in for another year, but the pressure of his four-year, $130 million deal assuredly kicks in immediately. For all the offense offered against opposing reserves in winning NBA Sixth Man of the Year, now comes the true measure of Herro against elite talent on both ends of the floor.
No. 24 Haywood Highsmith
Height: 6-4. Weight: 220.
Age: 25. Salary: $1.8 million.
Fresh outlook: Last season was the test drive, with a minimal role and minimum expectation. Now, with the Heat apparently intent to play small at power forward, Highsmith might have to show that he is capable of stepping in for Caleb Martin in case of injury or foul trouble. With the salary not yet fully guaranteed, the pressure will be there.
No. 5 Nikola Jovic
Height: 6-10. Weight: 205.
Age: 19. Salary: $2.2 million.
Fresh outlook: The initial impression was plenty of time being developed during practices, pregame drill work and perhaps in the G League. And then when the opportunities came during the preseason, eyes opened wide to more immediate possibilities. No, the body and defense aren’t there yet, but even at 19, there are NBA-level offensive skills that could come to be utilizes sooner rather than later.
No. 7 Kyle Lowry
Height: 6-0. Weight: 196.
Age: 36. Salary: $28.23 million.
Fresh outlook: With Tyler Herro moving into the starting lineup, the playmaking burden will be lessened, perhaps allowing Lowry to explore his offense to a greater degree than during his initial run. While plenty already has been proven, this still feels like a prove-it year, based on how the end of the season and playoffs went.
No. 16 Caleb Martin
Height: 6-5. Weight: 205.
Age: 25. Salary: $6.5 million.
Fresh outlook: The story was both surprising and uplifting when Martin was able to go last season from two-way contact to standard deal to contributor to playoff success. But now the ante has been raised significantly, and for more than the $20 million contract. Is he a starting-level talent, or will the void left by the loss of P.J. Tucker prove all the more glaring?
No. 4 Victor Oladipo
Height: 6-4. Weight: 213.
Age: 30. Salary: $8.8 million.
Fresh outlook: Yes, this very much was supposed to be a season of fresh outlook, finally past the injuries and rehab that had limited the past four seasons. And then came an uneven preseason, with lingering questions about the ability to recapture the magic from the days with the Indiana Pacers. So what now? A huge question mark.
No. 55 Duncan Robinson
Height: 6-7. Weight: 215.
Age: 28. Salary: $16.9 million.
Fresh outlook: A fresh outlook is exactly what Robinson has been pointed toward, after an uneven 2021-22 and then removal from the primary playoff mix. The preseason results were encouraging, playing in more of an attacking and facilitating mode. But was the desired team goal there renewed hope or the showcasing of a tradeable salary?
No. 9 Dru Smith
Height: 6-3. Weight: 203.
Age: 24. Salary: $509,000 (two-way contract).
Fresh outlook: After being cut from 2021 Heat training camp, the thought was of Smith in the past tense. But he returned from knee surgery with a solid late showing in summer league and then during the preseason. Under his two-way deal, he can appear in up to 50 NBA games this season, but likely will be seeing a lot of Sioux Falls.
No. 31 Max Strus
Height: 6-5. Weight: 215.
Age: 26. Salary: $1.8 million.
Fresh outlook: The rollercoaster looks like it will continue, from reserve at the start of last season, to starter, and now back to reserve with Tyler Herro’s ascension to the starting lineup. Amid the uneven preseason from Victor Oladipo, the question is whether Strus can offer shot creation with the second unit.
No. 2 Gabe Vincent
Height: 6-3. Weight: 200.
Age: 26. Salary: $1.8 million.
Fresh outlook: At times last season, particularly during the playoffs, it appeared as if Vincent had solidified the role as backup point guard. But now, with Tyler Herro expected to also get time at the point, it appears Vincent again will be cast as a combo guard, possibly asked for additional offense if Victor Oladipo does not get back to speed.
No. 77 Omer Yurtseven
Height: 6-11. Weight: 275.
Age: 24. Salary: $1.8 million.
Fresh outlook: This seemingly had set up as a breakout year following six weeks of breakout play amid Bam Adebayo’s absence last season. Instead, the Heat brought Dewayne Dedmon back at a rotation-player salary and drafted the height of Nikola Jovic. Now, after an injury-limited preseason, there are more questions than answers.