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Three Reasons The Heat Should Be Favorites To Come Out Of The East

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Amid the James Harden and Ben Simmons sagas, the up and down Celtics and the general chaos that is the Los Angeles Lakers, the Miami Heat haven’t got the coverage they deserve this season.

Miami Heat betting odds reflect a team that is going under the radar. The Nets, Sixers and Bucks are all at shorter prices. When looking at title odds, the Warriors and Suns are also thought to have a better chance. This is despite Miami sitting atop the Eastern Conference with 20 games to play, something they have achieved despite very rarely having a fully healthy roster.

Kyle Lowry, Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo have all missed time. Markieff Morris has been sidelined since early November. Victor Oladipo is yet to make his return. This is a Heat team that ranks top seven in both offense and defense despite facing hurdle after hurdle – why are they not being taken more seriously as title contenders?

Here are three reasons Miami should be considered the favorites to represent the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals this summer.

Defensive Versatility

Only the Celtics switch more than the Heat. Miami’s zone is one of the most effective in the league. Erik Spoelstra throws in every look on defense, trapping out of nowhere, doubling in the post and generally making it impossible for the offense to predict. This is enabled by a roster of players who both possess high basketball IQ and the physical gifts to cope with what would usually be mismatched.

Of course, much of this comes down to Bam Adebayo. Adebayo is a true one-through-five defender, and he’d likely be in the mix for Defensive Player of the Year if he’d stayed healthy all year. The former Kentucky big man is complemented by All-Defense level play from Jimmy Butler too, while P.J. Tucker and Kyle Lowry bring bucket loads of toughness.

Offensive Weapons

Miami doesn’t have its own version of Kevin Durant. Its offense has stuttered at times in the fourth quarter, and Jimmy Butler has been brutally inefficient in the clutch. While lacking the elite level scorer of Brooklyn, Boston and several other East contenders, Miami has a wide range of options. Duncan Robinson and Bam Adebayo’s two-man game is a staple. Tyler Herro has posted great clutch numbers. Kyle Lowry can crank up the scoring come playoff time.

Add the potential for Oladipo to play a role with the solid bench play of Max Strus and Gabe Vincent, and the Heat can beat you in so many different ways. No other East team has as much depth on offense.

Coaching Advantage

Erik Spoelstra is once again in the mix to win Coach of the Year. He has masterminded Miami to countless wins this season even when short-handed.

There are few matchups in the NBA where Miami doesn’t have an advantage from a coaching perspective. Spoelstra and his assistants can craft stops and easy buckets. His Xs and Os prowess is particularly relevant come playoff time.

A potential Spoelstra and Nick Nurse matchup in the first-round matchup would be fun. In the later rounds, Spoelstra has the potential to run rings around his fellow head coaches.

 

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