No team is in the best situation than the Miami Heat by rebuilding, but still having a phenomenal season. The Heat squad is being sparked by Dion Waiters and Co-players.
I know Miami fans and residents are tired of hearing about “what if we kept LeBron,” or “the superteam made Erik Spoelstra a great coach,” or feeling sorry that Dwyane Wade took more money to join his hometown. Well, Miami is on top of the world and is by far the best team in the NBA since January 17 (record wise).
Sure, they had to suffer not going to the championship since 2013 or advancing to the Eastern conference finals since 2013, they are doing with no all-star on the team.
The Miami Heat fans were in good spirits of tanking to get one of the finest draft picks until the new year started. Miami was at the bottom of the East food chain from October to January 16. The Heat are on an unbelievable run since January 17. Since that date the Heat have a record of 21–5.
This unbelievable run will come to an end. The Heat will go through a domino effect.
Goran Dragic’s Nagging Injuries
Goran Dragic went to the locker room last Wednesday because of an eye injury. He came back that same week on Saturday, but went to the locker room and didn’t come back to the game. He’s traveling with the team to face the Indiana Pacers. Dragic is their facilitator and scoring point guard on the team.
He’s averaging career tying 20.1 ppg, shooting 48%, and have 6 assist. Dragon minor injury will cause him to miss little time but in bad timing with only 16 games to go. Nagging injuries heading down to the end of the season is not what Miami want.
Dragic injuries can keep Miami out of the playoff hunt missing key games.
Dion Waiters Outstanding Performances Wear Down
Dion Waiters has been playing star level basketball. His outstanding performance started when he made a buzzer beater against the Golden State Warriors. After that game his confidence went up and never looked back.
He’s averaging 17 points and shooting 45 percent in March. However, the season is winding down and teams that’s trying to get in the playoffs or teams that’s in the playoffs will play better defense to maintain their seeding.
The Heat are 20th in offensive efficiency in the NBA, but they’re fifth since their winning run began in mid-January.
Waiters minutes can possibly catch up to him (30:31 career high) and his stats will wear down. He would have to keep up this good run he’s on in order to keep in striking distance in the playoffs.
Defense Let Up
The Miami Heat currently have the 3rd best defense during this 25 game stretch. They have a 102.2 Defensive Rating. Teams like the New York Knicks wonder how a team like Miami is 1 GB from 8th spot with no stars, well they play great defense. Miami’s fourth-quarter defensive rating of 98.7 points allowed per 100 possessions Via SB Nation.
The Heat defense in the 4th quarter is what help them make good comebacks and keep their lead.
Miami is on a good run, but if the defense start to decline than other teams will run the scoreboard and Miami don’t have the type of players to match point for point.
An End of a Winning Streak
Miami loss to Indiana can cause this hot streak to take a down fall. They lost 102–98 against the Indiana Pacers. One thing about the NBA is that once you lose the close games like that, you start to change some things that do not need to be fixed.
They take on the New Orleans Pelicans who have the roster to beat anybody in the NBA. Miami loss to a Indiana team that loss to a struggling Knicks team. Miami will struggle against the Pelicans because of a rare loss during this stretch.
The Heat have not loss back to back games since Feb 11–13.
Tough April Schedule
The Miami Heat face 5 out of 6 playoff teams in April. 4 of the 6 playoff teams (Washington Wizards 2X, Cleveland Cavaliers, Toronto Raptors) are all top 4 in the eastern conference standings.
At this point of the season those teams will be playing for better seeding, the 1–4 seeding is in a tight race right now. The Heat has been on a great run, but
Would it be best to make the playoffs and possibly lose in the first round to the first seed team or loss games to help a better draft pick. Pat Riley will have to make a decision of rebuilding or keep playoff basketball in Miami.
Pat Riley & Co Come To Their Senses
The Miami Heat is by far the best team in the NBA since January from record wise; However, the playoffs is a different type of breed. Pat Riley know that the playoffs are different from the regular season. His team is current 1 game back from the 8th spot. If the Heat was to get in the Playoffs they will have to play the Cavaliers or Celtics, Wizards. The Heat does not have enough talent to make a deep playoff run. A backcourt that features Dragic and Waiters isn’t Championship type. The NBA draft is coming and the Heat is still in rebuilding mode. If Miami tank the rest of the way, they would be able to get a top 15 draft pick and can find a star in this year draft. Making the places is setting Miami fans hopes to get crushed in the first round.