The Miami Heat have been one of the most surprising and impressive teams in the NBA this season. Even with the addition of Jimmy Butler in the offseason, this team on paper seemed like it was destined to be a seventh or eighth seed coming into the season. But Miami got off to a really hot start and was even second place in the Eastern Conference at one point. As the season restarts in the bubble in Orlando, Miami looks to take a stronghold of the 4th seed after beating the Indiana Pacers in a 114-92 blowout. This made many people start thinking: How far can this Miami Heat team go?
With the excellent play of Butler since the start of the season and the ascendence and growth of Bam Adebayo, the Heat have two clear cut stars to lead this team into the playoffs. Even though the Heat have only gone 3-3 since entering the Orlando bubble, the 3 wins Miami received were big wins against Boston, Denver, and Indiana. Not to mention Butler was out the past three games due to a foot injury. Although this team isn’t perfect, they look unbeatable at times when they are hitting threes and playing stifling defense.
With an all-around roster and a lot of depth, with guys who can shoot the three in Duncan Robinson, Jae Crowder and Tyler Herro, guys who can defend in Butler, Adebayo, Crowder and Andre Igoudala, and guys who can go get you a bucket in Butler, Adebayo, Goran Dragic and even Kendrick Nunn at times, this team does not seem like it has any glaring holes. Speaking of Dragic, he has done an excellent job coming off the bench being the team’s sixth man and giving them scoring when needed.
They play a team-first brand of basketball where they look at who can give them the best shot on offense, with no one guy dominating the ball. The Heat have shown throughout the season they can compete against the top teams in the Eastern Conference. Coach Erik Spoelstra has done a very good job gelling this team and making them play as a unit.
The only issue that is a cause of concern is that they are counting on really young and inexperienced guys to help them go deep in the playoffs. Herro and Nunn are rookies and Duncan Robinson is a second-year player. Although these players have shown that they have a big-time game, it is sometimes hard to rely on young guys during the playoffs because they can be inconsistent. Outside of Butler, Crowder and Igoudala, this team does not have much playoff experience.
As good as Butler is, he may have an issue being the number one guy on a playoff team that goes deep. He barely has a three-point shot, which is essential in today’s NBA. He also struggles with his field goal percentage. Butler only averages 20.2 points per game but makes up for this with his ability to pass the ball, and his outstanding defense. With Bam Adebayo being their number two guy, he has made massive improvements to both his offense and defensive game, also showing the ability to ball handle and facilitate. But like most of the Heat, he is very young and inexperienced in the postseason, with his only experience coming his rookie season in 2017.
With this team currently constructed, and as well as they have played this season, there is no doubt that they could force themselves into the Eastern Conference Finals. But for them to be true title contenders, they are an all-star caliber player away, a player who can shoot the ball and score at will, such as a Bradley Beal or a Victor Oladipo to put them over the top.
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