The Miami Heat are coming off one of the most improbable runs to the NBA Finals in history. As a fifth seed in the Eastern Conference last season, Jimmy Butler and the Heat marched through the 2020 Playoffs as though they were juggernauts, knocking off the powerful Milwaukee Bucks and Boston Celtics handily.
As they enter the 2020-21 season, the Heat have a target on their backs and the other Eastern powers have loaded up to challenge their supremacy.
Miami Heat 2020-21 NBA Season Preview: How good is this team going to be this season?
Doubters abound as to the Miami Heat’s ability to get back to the championship round a year after becoming the first No. 5 seed to reach the Finals (three lower seeds made it previously). The East has become tougher with the Milwaukee Bucks adding Jrue Holiday, the Boston Celtics signing Tristan Thompson, and the Philadelphia 76ers hiring a championship coach in Doc Rivers.
Nonetheless, the Heat are brimming with confidence and they believe that they are the team to beat in the East with a shot at becoming champions. Coach Erik Spoelstra is among the best coaches in the league and he will ready his troops for every team that comes their way.
Miami Heat 2019-20 NBA Season Record
Regular Season: 44-29
Western Conference: 5th
2019-20 NBA Season: NBA Finals runner-up
G Avery Bradley, F Maurice Harkless, F Precious Achiuwa
Miami Heat Predicted Starting Lineup
G Kendrick Nunn G Duncan Robinson F Jimmy Butler F Bam Adebayo C Meyers Leonard
Precious Achiuwa, Paul Eboua, Maurice Harkless, Udonis Haslem, Tyler Herro, Andre Iguodala, BJ Johnson, Meyers Leonard, Kendrick Nunn, KZ Okpala, Kelly Olynyk, Duncan Robinson, Chris Silva, Max Strus, Breein Tyree, Gabe Vincent
Bam Adebayo became an All-Star last season and there is little doubt that he will take the next step in becoming a fixture at the All-Star Weekend for years to come. Defense has always been his calling card but the 23-year old worked hard on his offense in the offseason to become a two-way threat.
He is one of the keys to the Miami Heat winning games they had no business winning last season.
The other one is Tyler Herro, the incoming sophomore swingman who just oozed confidence whenever he stepped on the floor.
But make no mistake, the Miami Heat is Jimmy Butler’s team and it has his blueprint all over it. Arguably the hardest-working player in the league, Butler embraced his role as the team’s franchise player and leader, taking the Heat to the brink of a title two months ago.
Last season, he was a member of the All-NBA Third Team and he could take his game up a notch after his brilliant Finals performance that showed just how lethal he is as an offensive player. The Miami Heat star developed into a complete player with averages of 19.9 points, 6.7 rebounds, 6.0 assists, and 1.8 steals per game.
These may look pedestrian compared to his superstar contemporaries, but he raises his game to another level when it matters most.
The addition of Avery Bradley and Maurice Harkless adds depth at the guard and forward spots, respectively, but it was disheartening to lose Jae Crowder this offseason. Precious Achiuwa, the No. 20 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, has “Bam Adebayo clone” written all over him and he will be a player to watch this season.
Prediction for Miami Heat's 2020-21 Season
The naysayers can talk all they want but the Miami Heat are good enough to repeat as Eastern Conference champions next year. Miami will let the Milwaukee Bucks own the regular season once again as long as they are all healthy come playoff time.
The biggest question mark has to be Goran Dragic’s health. After coming off a lengthy stint on the injured list the year before, Dragic came back strong last season but was injured in the Finals.
At 34 years old, he’s not getting younger. Kendrick Nunn, the rookie who started in the regular season in Dragic’s place, should be groomed as the next great Heat point guard. He will learn as much as he can from Dragic this season.
A Miami Heat-Milwaukee Bucks rematch in the 2021 NBA Playoffs seems inevitable but whether that will come in the Conference Finals or the Semi-finals remains to be seen. But if last season was any indication, the Heat will be right in the thick of the fight for the Eastern Conference crown once again.