There aren’t many things in NBA related discussions that can be looked at as unanimously agreed upon, as there are always different angles to debate. However, one thing that most fans and analysts alike can concede is that the success of the Miami Heat is the NBA’s biggest surprise this season. Coach Erik Spoelstra has his team in second place in the Eastern Conference with a 31-14 record.
Miami Heat Success is the Surprise of the NBA Season
In the preseason, Miami was an afterthought, looked at as an average team destined for the back end of the Eastern Conference playoff race. As things stand just past the midway point of the season, they sit behind only the red hot Milwaukee Bucks. The Heat’s success is built on depth and balance in a time when super teams and dynamic duos are the talk of the league. Coach Spoelstra’s group is doing it with balanced scoring and defense. They are also feasting on home cooking, with a 20-2 record on the bright lights of South Beach.
“Jimmy Buckets” Butler
While they didn’t make the massive headlines that some other teams did during the NBA’s wild 2019 summer, the Heat did make a splash with the signing of Jimmy Butler. He came to town wanting to finally be the Alpha on his own team. He is now proving he made the right decision. The veteran wingman is doing an excellent job leading this young roster. He leads the team in points, steals, and assists while averaging a career-high in the latter. Butler also brings his brand of toughness and intensity, which fits perfectly with the culture Coach Spoelstra and team president Pat Riley have tried to build. His unselfish and defensive mindset, combined with the skills to be a number one offensive option is a perfect fit in Miami.
Bam Adebayo and Duncan Robinson are both having the best years of their young careers. Adebayo has developed into one of the league’s most versatile big men in his third season. He fills the stat sheet each and every night. Not only is he averaging a double-double with career highs in points and rebounds, but he has also become a very adept playmaker. The former Kentucky Wildcat is averaging over four assists per game. His ability to find open teammates fits well with this balanced attack. Adebayo’s rise from role player to potential All-Star is a major reason for the Heat’s success.
Robinson has really come on in his second NBA season. After playing in just 15 games as a rookie, he has become a fixture for Miami starting 39 games. The 6’7” sharpshooter is averaging doubles figures in scoring while hitting 42 percent from three and 90 percent from the charity stripe. Robinson hit 10 threes en route to a career-high 34 points in a win over the Atlanta Hawks last month. His consistency is growing as well, having scored in double figures in 13 of the last 18 games.
Carry the Bags
The Heat’s success can also be attributed to having two of the more productive members of this year’s rookie class. Kendrick Nunn and Tyler Herro have both made an early impact on this Miami team, despite taking wildly different paths to get to South Beach. Nunn’s path involved two colleges, a conference Player of the Year award, going undrafted, and a season in the G-League. He set an NBA record with 112 points in his first five games, the most by an undrafted player to start his career. Nunn is second on the team in points per game.
Herro took a much different route than his fellow rookie. The one and done product from Kentucky was a lottery pick last summer. He has provided a scoring boost off the bench all season long. Herro is shooting 40 percent from deep and has the ability to get hot in a hurry. He has scored 20 points or more eight times off the bench.
Full Roster Key to Success for Miami Heat
The key to the successes of the Miami Heat has been the ability to get good performances up and down the roster. From veterans Goran Dragic and Meyers Leonard to rookie Chris Silva, everyone contributes to wins on this team. They have outperformed teams like Boston and Philadelphia. Both were thought to be among the main contenders in the East. The team’s energy, depth, and balance give them a chance to win every night. They have been the NBA’s biggest surprise at the midway point, now they have to keep the momentum going.