Championship Odds: +4000
Jimmy Butler: 20.2 PTS, 6.6 REB, 6.1 AST, 1.7 STL
Bam Adebayo: 16.2 PTS, 10.5 REB, 5.1 AST, 1.2 STL
Goran Dragic: 16.1 PTS, 3.1 REB, 5.1 AST, 0.6 STL
Kendrick Nunn: 15.6 PTS, 2.7 REB, 3.4 AST, 0.8 STL
Duncan Robinson: 13.3 PTS, 3.3 REB, 1.4 AST, 0.5 STL
Tyler Herro: 12.9 PTS, 4.0 REB, 1.9 AST, 0.6 STL
Players Sitting Out
|8/1||Denver Nuggets||1:00 PM||ESPN|
|8/3||Toronto Raptors||1:30 PM||NBA TV|
|8/4||Boston Celtics||6:30 PM||TNT|
|8/6||Milwaukee Bucks||4:00 PM||TNT|
|8/8||Phoenix Suns||7:30 PM||Fox Sports Sun|
|8/10||Indiana Pacers||8:00 PM||Fox Sports Sun|
|8/12||Oklahoma City Thunder||8:00 PM||Fox Sports Sun|
|8/14||Indiana Pacers||TBD||Fox Sports Sun|
The Miami Heat have high hopes ahead of the NBA resume. They are currently in 4th place in the Eastern conference and sit just 2.5 games behind the Celtics. While the Heat have a deep team that is having a very successful season, they seem to fly under the radar. No one sees them as a real threat to the other top teams in the conference, specifically the Bucks and the Celtics, two teams that have an incredible amount of hype around them. This lack of attention is why the Miami Heat are my dark horse championship contender.
Any team who wants to make a legit run at an NBA finals needs a great leader, and Jimmy Butler has done an amazing job leading the Heat this year. On the court, Butler is a guy who takes pride in playing both sides of the ball. He averages 1.7 steals per game on top of his elite offensive statistics (20.2 PTS, 6.6 REB, 6.1 AST). In an era when so many NBA stars take plays off and conserve themselves on defense, Jimmy Butler’s top notch defense is just one of the ways that he leads by example. Andre Iguodala, Butler’s teammate, has compared his leadership abilities to Stephen Curry, who’s widely considered one of the best players and leaders in the NBA.
This defensive mindset is not limited to Jimmy Butler. Taking a look at Bam Adebayo, the power forward averages 1.3 blocks per game AND 1.2 steals per game. Having one elite defender is a luxury in itself, but Butler and Adebayo give the Heat two players with phenomenal defensive instinct.
The rest of Miami’s core is also very talented. Kendrick Nunn is developing into a very good young point guard and he’s been productive in his role all year. Goran Dragic is an experienced veteran who’s been very productive for a very long time and he will provide the Heat a great scoring punch off the bench come playoff time. They also have a great duo of young, talented shooters in Duncan Robinson (13.3 PPG) and rookie Tyler Herro (12.9 PPG). While Jimmy Butler is a great player, he wouldn’t be able to be the best player on a championship team without having other capable scorers around him, and this is what he has in Miami.
Right now, the Heat aren’t talked about as one of the league’s elite teams. With that said, they are capable of putting the NBA world on notice if each player follows Butler’s lead and plays to their best their ability. The makeup of their team gives the Miami Heat the potential to make a very deep postseason run if they get hot at the right time.