MIAMI! Let’s talk about the Heat. After a very disappointing season ended in a first-round sweep a year ago, they will look to get back on their high horse and make things happen again.
They brought in some reinforcements, and perhaps these new veteran additions can help them to advance in the postseason for the second time in three seasons.
To Win Title: +2500
To Win East: +1200 (4th)
To Win Southeast: +100 (Best Odds)
Kyle and PJ Are on the Scene
The Heat made a deal with the Raptors early in the summer to send Goran Dragic and Precious Achiuwa away to bring in Kyle Lowry. And in Lowry, they acquire one of the most underrated point guards of the past decade, which can impact the game in so many facets.
He can knock down threes at a high rate while serving as a high-quality facilitator. He is a very good defender, and even though he’s now 36 years old, he has plenty to offer for the next three years.
PJ Tucker played incredible defense all postseason for Milwaukee. They probably don’t win the title without him on the court anchoring their incredible D. He was guarding superstars and, for 48 minutes, was making life hellish for them. He comes to a new home, trying to continue to impact the game at a high level.
These two guys hold a lot of the keys to fixing last year’s blunders.
Two key members of the Heat inked extensions last summer, and many believe were both overpaid. They have Jimmy Butler, a four-year deal with $184 million, an annual rate of $45 million per year. While he certainly earned upgraded pay, this is not exactly ideal.
They maxed out Bam Adebayo last year, so now that they did Jimmy, they are heavily tied to the two of them. That’s a good thing because both players impact the game in so many ways. But that looks, at first glance, like a heck of an overpay. And he’s only getting older. He’s coming off a poor playoff performance vs. the Bucks.
They also extended Duncan Robinson and handed him an awful lot of Benjamins. It was a five-year, $90 million extension for the sharpshooter. Known for only that one skill he brings to the table, that looks like the money they could have been spent elsewhere.
Given that Duncan began his career as a division-3 basketball player, it’s incredible. He and Fred VanVleet both went undrafted and continue to reel in dollars from their teams. But Miami didn’t appear to face any competition in re-signing him.
Brooklyn did a four-year $72 million extension with Joe Harris a few years ago, but the fifth year looks to be too much. It does help cement him as the long-term starter at the shooting guard spot, but we’ll see if they may come to regret it later on.
With all of their main guys locked up, the focus this year shifts to trying to get back to the finals. With the Sixers having all their drama, they likely automatically move one spot up.