The Miami Heat playoff picture isn’t looking as glorious as their 2020 run. In a season haunted by injuries, back-to-backs, and unexpected contenders, the 2021 NBA playoffs are shaping up to be either one of the most exciting playoffs we’ve seen in a while, or a predictable landslide of a winner. So where do the Heat sit in this picture?
Miami Heat Playoff Picture: Current Seeding
If the 2021 NBA playoffs were to start tomorrow, April 15, the Heat would be sitting at the six seed and facing a new and improved Milwaukee Bucks team, featuring the new faces of Jrue Holiday, PJ Tucker, and Bobby Portis and headlined by superstar, Giannis Antetokounmpo.
We pose the question: Can the Heat beat this new Bucks team in a seven-game series?
Are the additions of Victor Oladipo (assuming he comes back from his knee injury), Nemanja Bjelica, Dewayne Dedmon and Trevor Ariza enough to compete with this reloaded Bucks squad? As always, there will be arguments of some “yes, absolutely” and “no, of course not,” but in reality, the Heat are far from the same team we saw battle their way to finals in 2020.
UPDATE: Victor Oladipo will not be accompanying the team on the west coast road trip and will be further evaluated.— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) April 9, 2021
Losing players like Kelly Olynyk and Jae Crowder will hurt the Heat come playoff time. Olynyk offensively, and Crowder defensively. The Heat seem to lack that offensive firepower we all saw in last year’s playoffs. This could be a number of factors: confidence in shooters, fatigue from a short break between seasons, inconsistent player rotations, the list goes on. But what can fans really expect come playoff time?
Miami Heat Playoff Picture: Expectations
Obviously, the playoffs don’t start on April 15, so I don’t expect us to have to go toe-to-toe with the powerhouse that is currently Milwaukee. With seeds 4-8 only separated by 2 games, anything can happen. The Heat can end up at a four seed with a good playoff run, or they could end up battling for playoff position in the play-in tournament.
What’s interesting about the Heat, is they don’t rely on one person. It’s not like the Lakers or the Bucks where, “they will only go as far as so-and-so takes them.” Yes, Jimmy Butler is the heart and soul of Miami, but he can’t carry a team on his back through the playoffs.
The Heat need EVERYBODY firing on all cylinders. Duncan Robinson needs to remain consistent, Tyler Herro needs to BECOME consistent, Bam Adebayo needs to be the all-around player everybody knows he can be. The question becomes, is this enough?
Miami Heat Playoff Picture: Predictions
If I were to make a guess based on where teams are at now, amount of games left, and remaining schedule, here is what my Eastern playoff seeding looks like:
- Brooklyn Nets
- Philadelphia 76ers
- Milwaukee Bucks
- Boston Celtics
- Miami Heat
- Atlanta Hawks
- New York Knicks
- Indiana Pacers
First Round Matchup: This would put the Heat facing off against the Celtics in the first round.
With Boston playing an underwhelming season, this matchup is a great first round series. Assuming that Oladipo is healthy and ready to go come playoff time, this matchup could be exciting. Vic vs. Brown, Butler vs. Tatum, this series will be a battle through and through.
Prediction: Heat in 6.
Second Round Matchup: The Heat would then play the winner of the Nets-Pacers series, which will undoubtedly be Brooklyn.
The second round matchup of James Harden, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, LaMarcus Aldridge, and Blake Griffin is not the most appealing matchup. What will it take to beat this high-powered offense? A miracle.
(Personal take) I’m typically an optimistic Heat fan. I love my team and always want them to succeed; however, I am also a realistic Heat fan.
In order to beat this team, the Heat need their defense to be even better than the 2020 playoff run. They need their offense to come ready every single night. They need Butler, Adebayo, Herro, Robinson, Oladipo, Dragic, Nunn EVERY. SINGLE. NIGHT.
There can be no off night playing against a team of this offensive caliber. Based on the inconsistencies throughout the regular season, this series worries me as a fan.
Prediction: Nets in 5.
A second round exit following a finals push isn’t exactly something to call home about, but given the circumstances of this season and last, it’s about all we can hope for.
The Miami Heat playoff picture isn’t what many expected, but with that being said, these are exactly what they are: predictions. Nothing is set in stone, it can always change. The Heat do have the grit to battle with these teams, but will fatigue turn out to be the better matchup?
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