Why Is Nobody Talking About The Miami Heat?
All of the hype in the NBA this season has centered around MVP candidates like Giannis Antetokounmpo, Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, Joel Embiid, Nikola Jokic, and LeBron James, or around elite teams such as the Golden State Warriors, Chicago Bulls, Brooklyn Nets, Milwaukee Bucks, and Phoenix Suns. However, it seems very few people want to talk about just how dangerous the Miami Heat are in the Eastern Conference. As of the time this article was published, Miami stands at first place in the Eastern Conference, despite only playing about one-third of the games with its starting lineup. Injuries to Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo, and others have forced the Heat to dig deeper into their bench than ever.
But what if this ends up being a good thing? The emergence of Tyler Herro as one of the best sixth men in the league, as well as terrific role players in Gabe Vincent, Max Strus, and Omer Yurtseven, has made Miami one of the deepest teams in the NBA. Even today, the Heat don’t have Lowry playing due to personal reasons, K.Z. Okpala, Markieff Morris, or Victor Oladipo. Oladipo is far from the player he once was when he averaged 23,1 points, 5.2 rebounds, 4.3 assists, and 2.4 steals per game in 2017-18 or 21.2 points, five assists, and 4.8 rebounds in 2020-21; however, he still is a ballhawk on the defensive end and can still score tremendously well for a role player. Oladipo, and other bench players, will be the key to Miami’s playoff success. We already know how well the starting five can play, considering they made it to the NBA Finals in 2020. it will be interesting to see how Miami progresses. If it finishes as the No. 1 or No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference, then it will be in terrific shape.
Miami Heat NBA Title Odds
Currently, the title odds for Miami sit around +1400, depending on the sportsbook you choose, which could be FanDuel, DraftKings, BetMGM, Caesars, or many others. This gives the Heat around the sixth-best odds to win the NBA championship in the 2021-22 NBA season, even behind the free-falling Utah Jazz and inconsistent-at-best Los Angeles Lakers. Additionally, they would not have to face a team like the Golden State Warriors or Phoenix Suns until the NBA Finals. Milwaukee looks good, but there is still a ton of inconsistency, and the Bucks are by no means shoo-ins for the Finals. Meanwhile, Brooklyn can’t get all three of its stars on the court at the same time if the world’s safety depended on it. Kevin Durant is out with an MCL sprain, and Kyrie Irving still is not playing home games, which could become a distraction late in the season when guys are desperate to win every single game.
Think about it: come playoff time, guys will be laying it on the line every night, while you have one guy only playing half the time. It’s not a guarantee that there will be an issue, but there is a sliver of doubt in my mind about the efficacy of the situation. Lastly, the Chicago Bulls are a terrific team, but I don’t see them as unbeatable in a seven-game series against Miami. Each team has firepower, but I believe the Heat will be an outstanding defensive team by the end of the season. If the Miami Heat can get back to the NBA Finals again like in 2020, anything can happen, even if they have to face Phoenix or Golden State. At +1400 odds, it certainly makes sense to consider sprinkling some money on their futures.
Heat Title Wrap-Up
I’m not saying that the Heat are a lock to win the title, but this team remains one of the most intriguing teams in the NBA, and we have not even seen them at their best this season. Their roster is well-constructed and has scorers, defenders, leaders, and everything else a championship roster must have. Additionally, they have Finals experience, and that is a dangerous combination. Lowry, Tucker, and player/coach Udonis Haslem have won NBA Championships in recent years, so they know what it takes to make it happen. The culture in Miami is strong; come playoff time, I would not want to be on the same side of the bracket as the Heat.
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