The Miami Heat is a relatively decorated franchise considering its successes in the past. Pat Riley is an extremely able president. He has kept the team in contention for the Playoffs since 1995. In his long run as the team’s president, he has won three championships and one executive of the year award.
Riley is a cerebral man when it comes to the game of basketball. His tenure has been long. As such, he knows whom to rely on for a successful team. This year, he was able to form a group of guys that may look like misfits as a team but are silent title contenders.
With Jimmy Butler as the captain of the team, the Miami Heat’s culture completely changed. Butler treasures his playing career like his life. He puts in the work necessary to be the best player in the team. As such, the morale of the entire bench is lifted because of his example.
Riley was able to put together a strong team around Butler’s energetic leadership. In his short stint as a Heat player, Butler was able to influence Bam Adebayo to be a contender for the Most Improved Player this season. Also, he was able to push Kendrick Nunn as an honorable mention in the Rookie of the Year race.
Riley didn’t settle with the team that he started the season off. He improved his wing players even further by adding veterans Jae Crowder and Andre Iguodala. Both of these players are tough as nail defenders that could stifle their opponents’ offense. Both players are also reliable shooters and cutters.
Overall, the wing power of the Miami Heat is incomparable to any team in the league. They possess so much raw talent. If their opponents in the Playoffs aren’t careful, the Miami Heat could snatch wins from them without a sweat.
While the Miami Heat is sitting on the fourth spot in the East, they still aren’t out of the waters. Just four games separate the third to sixth spot in the East. In other words, the Miami Heat is already guaranteed a spot in the Playoffs, but they have to plan their seeding out carefully.
If the Playoffs started today, the Miami Heat would match up against the Pacers. They have the upper hand in that setup. However, they will face the Bucks in the second round, which could be problematic for them. As such, they could try to lose some games to slide to the sixth or win enough games to take over the Celtics. That way, they might face the Bucks in the Finals.
All these scenarios are just what-ifs. The Miami Heat are experienced enough to size their opponents up regardless of who’s in front of them. That’s what makes their team an upset contender.
Image from Bleacher Report/ YouTube thumbnail
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