The Miami Heat were overlooked all the way to the NBA Finals last season. Bringing back their core players, a similar pattern risks playing out as previews are published and discussions are had about the 2020/21 NBA regular season.
Milwaukee’s trade for Jrue Holiday provoked excitement. Brooklyn are getting Kevin Durant back. It’s been a comparatively quiet offseason for the Miami Heat, but they have made smart additions to the roster, kept Goran Dragic and extended Bam Adebayo. The reigning Eastern Conference champions are not getting the respect they deserve, and are too often being overlooked as predictions are made for who comes out the East.
The Celtics start the season without Kemba Walker and lost Gordon Hayward. There were sensible moves made by the Sixers, but who knows how that works out and if their stars can stay on the court. Indiana were swept by the Heat in the first round. Toronto lost Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka. The Eastern Conference is wide open. The Heat deserve to be at the forefront of the conversation.
Miami’s offseason moves
The Heat drafted Precious Achiuwa. Achiuwa is a 6’9, long-armed big with the ability to switch. He collected accolades in college and projects to immediately be a plus NBA defender.
Miami also bolstered their defensive standing in free agency. They lost Jae Crowder, Derrick Jones and Solomon Hill, but only Crowder played major playoff minutes for them. Avery Bradley and Maurice Harkless have signed to help on the defensive end, and both will be useful postseason performers.
Bradley gives another secondary ball handler Erik Spoelstra can trust. Jimmy Butler carried the burden after Dragic’s injury in the NBA Finals, and it remains to be seen how Tyler Herro develops as a creator. Harkless doesn’t possess the size of Crowder, but he’ll fill a similar role – knock down shots, defend opposing forwards.
Heat season prediction
The Heat beat the Bucks and Celtics. Butler, if there was any doubt, announced himself as a superstar in the Finals. Adebayo was spectacular on the defensive end and tore Boston apart through the pick-and-roll. Dragic showed he’s still got plenty left in the tank. Herro and Duncan Robinson should improve for 2020/21, particularly as defenders.
They don’t have the highest ceiling in the East. Milwaukee, Brooklyn, Philadelphia and Boston could all be better than Miami’s best. Other than Milwaukee, though, which team can we be more confident in than the Heat?
Miami will be good. Their floor is high – this group, coached by the ever-brilliant Spoelstra, is at worst the six seed. The Bucks, as a regular season team at least, are ahead of the rest, but it isn’t unreasonable to have the Heat second in the East.
Predicting the Conference Finalists is an impossible task. It really is wide open, and matchup dependent, but the Heat have as good a chance as anyone. Has a team ever been so underrated off the back of a Finals appearance?
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