The Miami Heat were not expected to be good this year. Even though they added star player Jimmy Butler, there were many more questions to go along with what they had. Well, not only have they answered those questions, they have exceeded expectations also. The Heat came into Wednesday night as a top-four seed in the East, led by the aforementioned Butler and homegrown Heat all-star Bam Adebayo. But even with their play being what it has been over this season, Pat Riley and management felt they needed more and they are doing what they can to make that happen.
With the trade deadline looming, the Miami Heat traded Justise Winslow, Dion Waters and James Johnson to acquire the services of veteran Memphis Grizzlies forward Andre Iguodala along with forward Jae Crowder and forward Solomon Hill. The trade took away some contracts the Heat wanted to shed along with added some veteran guile to their team, especially in Iguodala.With these piece added to this team, plenty are even higher on the Heat. Before people start saying they can win the Eastern Conference though, you have to examine the Heat team. While they are talented and could give teams a run for their money, there are still some holes that make them not serious contenders in the East in the end.
When it comes playoff time, it is a given Jimmy Butler is going to produce. He has produced in clutch situations everywhere he has been and he has given no one a reason not to believe he won't perform again under the bright lights. Other than him, who else is going to star on a consistent basis? Bam Adebayo could potentially but no one can guarantee that one. Iguodala can score, but he is more a defender and playmaker than anything. Dragic is a guy that can put up numbers, but he isn't the same Dragic he was from a few years ago. Outside of these three guys mentioned, there really isn't a consistent guy with playoffs experience on that roster that can put up numbers consistently as a second scorer. Maybe Adebayo continues to answer that question come playoff time, but that is a source of concern.
Outside of the scoring issue that is created, you also have to look at who can win on the road. The Heat are one of the best home teams in the NBA, going 22-3 so far into the season. On the road, however, things are different. The Heat are 12-13 on the road this season after their latest loss to the Los Angeles Clippers in Staples Center. Their home and road record may not mean much to some people, but in the playoffs, the Heat are going to have to win tough games and there is the possibility that some of those games could be on the road. The level of opponent will be tougher and if they have not got it together on the road or are facing a higher-ranked opponent, then they cannot count on having four games at home to win a series. For them to be taken serious in winning the East, they have to be better on the road.
The Miami Heat have been a surprise in the East. Even with that and the record they have put up so far, they still are not legit contenders to win the Eastern Conference. They are, unfortunately, one guy away and maybe some experience away as well.