The Heat gave Jimmy Butler a big extension and signed Kyle Lowry to an $85 million deal this offseason. Both of those players are built to win right now, which makes Miami all-in on the present. While the Heat’s veteran backcourt will provide a foundation of defense and toughness in the playoffs, it’s the team’s young center Bam Adebayo who offers the biggest potential to raise their ceiling. If Adebayo’s offense continues to level up, Miami will rise with him.
The Heat’s best case scenario would have to be a return to the NBA Finals, after a surprising run just one calendar year ago. Is that a legitimate scenario in the East, now two seasons later, with an even stronger Nets, at least on paper, and the defending champion Bucks? Lots of good luck and fortune would have to go their way, but yet it did not too long ago.
There has been general praise over the offseason moves that Pat Riley and the front office have made, but a pessimist may not be surprised if the moves ultimately made little difference in the standings. The Heat flaming out, either because of injuries or lack of team chemistry, and sputtering to a low seed and an early playoff exit would truly be a nightmare scenario.
This might be the first season since the departure of LeBron James and the retirements of Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade in which the Heat are legitimately expected to go deep in the playoffs. They simply must improve on their swift first round exit after getting swept by the eventual champs.
Seeing how Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo adjust to playing with Kyle Lowry, a legit All-Star caliber point guard with championship experience, who can relieve them of their offensive limitations while complimenting their imposing defense. Lowry could also help younger players like Tyler Herro and Duncan Robinson take another leap forward.