The look at all 30 NBA teams continues with the Heat as we continue the playoff teams in the count down of East teams. Check out previous teams by clicking on the team name: Hornets / Wizards / Knicks / Pistons / Cavs / Bulls / Magic / Hawks / Raptors / 76ers / Pacers / Nets.
The Heat had a great offseason when you consider they entered it with no cap space, and near the hard cap. Adding a star like Jimmy Butler could be big for Miami who is a big market team that now could be able to add another star at some point. Getting rid of Whiteside might be addition by subtraction if Bam steps up, and adding Tyler Herro seems to have been a steal at the 13th pick. Losing Dwayne Wade and Josh Richardson will hurt, but Butler and Herro should more than make up that production.
G: Goran Dragic
G: Tyler Herro
F: Jimmy Butler
F: Derrick Jones Jr
C: Bam Adebayo
Bench: Justise Winslow, Dion Waiters, Meyers Leonard, James Johnson, and Kelly Olynyk
The roster is a good modern-day roster with length and athletism to spare with Winslow, Johnson, Jones, Butler, and Waiters. Health has been a big issue in Miami, but if Waiters, Johnson, and Dragic can stay healthy this team is very deep. Winslow can play the 1 or the 4, Waiters, Butler, Herro can all play the 2 or 3, James Johnson can play the 4 or small 5. Olynyk could be the odd man out of the rotation if people stay healthy.
Prediction: 46-36 (3rd in East) / 1st Round Loss in 6 to 76ers
Again I have 3-6 in East separated by 2 games. The Heat get the nod because they gained the most, the whole team is starting the year healthy, and the roster fits well together. The other teams all have chemistry to really work out, or a major injury possibly holding them back for part of the season. The Heat are not as talented as the other 3 teams in this race for the 3 seed, but are deeper and have the best coach. They will struggle to get out of the 1st round but should be able to withstand the grind of a long regular season better than the others. Jimmy Butler has somehow become somewhat underrated after the issues he’s caused other places. He often carried the 76ers on offense and should be able to handle a similar role in Miami. This is definitely my surprise team, but Spo is one of the best coaches in the NBA and they should be an elite defensive team with enough scorers to thrive in the regular season.
The Heat future seems simple, get through the next 2 years to 2021 Free Agency then use Jimmy Butler, Pat Riley, life in Miami and all the cap space to lure another superstar (not to mention no state income tax). One thing to watch will be a trade in the meantime. Olynyk could be on the way out if Leonard plays well, and Dragic might need to get moved to fit the roster better. Butler will have the ball in his hands most of the time, which could be an issue for Dragic. Overall the Heat just need to maintain the gritty culture Spo has built since LeBron left, and keep cap space for a big 2021 summer.
*Everything in this article was discussed with Louie Snyder