The Miami Heat have had a scorching start to the season so far. Many people projected the Heat to be a team that may sneak into the playoffs but so far, they are looking like a team that could represent the Eastern Conference in the Finals.
So far this season, the Miami Heat are the 2nd seed in the East with a 9-3 record and have shown no signs of slowing down. Of course, the smart thing to do would be riding this hot streak but how far will this hot streak take them? Will they be able to count on players such as Duncan Robinson and Meyers Leonard in the playoffs? Trading for Chris Paul and Kevin Love would improve the team and potentially take them over the hump and here is why.
Trade Package For Chris Paul
Chris Paul has played pretty well this season. Returning to where he played in his rookie season, so far this year, he is averaging 16.3 points, 4 rebounds, and 5.4 assists per game on 45.9% shooting from the field and a career-high 42% shooting from three. A surprising stat for Chris Paul this season is that he is averaging the lowest number of assists per game he has ever averaged in his career. These low assist numbers can be attributed to the fact that he is playing on a rebuilding team and he is playing the lowest number of minutes he has ever played in his career at 30.2 minutes per game.
Chris Paul’s impact on the Thunder goes past these stats as the Thunder are a plus 8.4 points per 100 possessions with him on the court as opposed to him off the court, according to Cleaning the Glass.
Chris Paul would be essential for this Heat team if they are looking to take the next step and would improve an already great team. The Heat are currently running their offense at an average pace of 102.15 which is 16th in the entire NBA. Chris Paul has played this year at an average pace and when shooting the ball with anywhere between 15-7 seconds left on the shot clock, he is shooting a scorching 55.7% from the field and 58.8% from three.
Also, when CP3 touches the ball for less than 2 seconds, he is shooting 57.1% from the field and 52.9% shooting from three. To add to this, he is shooting 52.6% from the field and 46.7% from three when he takes no dribbles, so he has excelled off the ball this season.
The Heat have excelled this year when it comes to ball movement and defense as they are 5th in assists per game with 26.3 and 1st in steals per game with 9.9, both of which are what CP3 excels in doing, Goran Dragic and Kendrick Nunn both have higher usage percentages this season then CP3 does so the high assist numbers should stay the same or increase.
A potential trade would be Chris Paul in exchange for Goran Dragic, Meyers Leonard, Derrick Jones Jr. and a 2nd round pick.
For the Thunder, Goran Dragic and Meyers Leonard are both expiring contracts so you would be saving a crazy amount of cap space. Goran Dragic is averaging 16.1 points per game on 46% shooting from the field and 42.4% from three so he could be a great co-partner alongside Shai Gilgeous-Alexander or provide a spark off the bench. Derrick Jones could surprise everyone and become a very important role player for the Thunder.
For the Heat, Paul would provide you with playmaking, shooting, defense, and another player with immense playoff experience. Trading for CP3 would mean Nunn could then move to the bench and continue to lead that unit alongside Tyler Herro.
Trade Package For Kevin Love
Kevin Love is having a great year for the Cleveland Cavaliers thus far and his skill set could be just what the Heat need to get over the hump. So far this year, Love is averaging 18.7 points and 12.1 rebounds per game on 44.5% shooting from the field and 34.3% shooting from three. His low three-point shooting percentage would more than likely increase in Miami as he would be playing with better players on a better team and would become the 2nd or 3rd option on the Heat as opposed to the 1st option on the Cavs.
Similar to Chris Paul, Love has played well off the ball as on catch-and-shoot field goals, he is shooting 43.9% from the field and 39.2% from three. Love is also a player who plays well at an average pace as he is shooting 50% from the field and 44.4% from three on shots that come when the shot clock is between 15-7 seconds.
Kevin Love this season has been great when it comes to free-throw shooting as he is attempting 6.3 free throws per game and shooting 88.4% from the stripe. This would improve an area that the Heat has struggled at this year as they are getting to the line 25 times per game but only shooting 74.7% at the stripe which is 24th in the NBA.
A potential trade would be Justise Winslow and James Johnson in exchange for Kevin Love.
For the Cavaliers, Justise Winslow is a do-it-all player and another young piece to add to your core. Winslow had made some improvements in his game but is yet to have that breakout season that many have expected him to have. Due to this, Winslow looks to be expendable and is a player that tons of teams should look to acquire. James Johnson would be a cap filler and could be another trade piece for the Cavaliers.
For the Heat, as stated, Kevin Love would be a great 2nd-3rd option on this team as they look to make a deep playoff run. His scoring and rebounding would make him an immediate upgrade over Meyers Leonard and Erik Spoelstra is a coach who would better Love’s game and would give him a huge role in the offense.
Now, many people may wonder why the Heat would make such drastic changes to the roster despite their hot start but, these are moves that they would look to make if they cool down and moves that would potentially happen around the trade deadline. CP3 and Kevin Love would be players that could take the Heat over the hump and would help them to potentially come out of the East.