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Five Reasons the Miami Heat Is the Greatest Franchise in the NBA

Few teams can claim the resumé the Heat continues to build.EXPAND
Few teams can claim the resumé the Heat continues to build.
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Being a Miami Heat fan is like spending a day off work at the beach — even on the rainiest days, it doesn't suck. A Heat fan's floor for basketball enjoyment throughout a season is most NBA fans' ceiling. The team's hot start this season once again proves something fans could have told everyone a long time ago: The Miami Heat is the greatest organization in the NBA.

The Heat is the cream of the crop, and the team's incredible start this season is just one piece of evidence. Here are the top reasons no other NBA franchise is run better than your Miami Heat.

5. The Heat's youth movement continues to prove the team has the best scouts in the NBA. Between Tyler Herro, Kendrick Nunn, Duncan Robinson, Bam Adebayo, Justise Winslow, and Derrick Jones Jr., the Heat can certainly claim its current team is built, not bought. This isn't a new thing, of course: The Heat has proven for years it's the best team at turning a G-League player into an NBA rotation player coveted by other teams that could have had him for free at one point.

Throw Hassan Whiteside, Tyler Johnson, and Josh Richardson on the list of evidence that the Heat knows what it's doing. Total investment in those players? One second-round pick. Richardson got flipped into Jimmy Butler this offseason, and Whiteside was a borderline All-Star at times in Miami after playing at the YMCA a few months before signing with the team.

Again and again, Miami can turn nothing into something. Having a pick in the first round only makes it easier.

4. In the past 20 years, only nine NBA teams have won a title — and the Miami Heat has three of them. Less than a third of the teams in the NBA can say they have won a title in the past two decades. The Lakers, Warriors, Spurs, and Heat have a combined 16 titles since 1999, and three (2006, 2012, and 2013) belong to the Heat.

Going even further back, only 11 teams have won a title since the Heat, along with the Charlotte Hornets, entered the league in 1988 as an expansion team. When you think about it that way, it's pretty wild that since 1986, Heat fans have had one more championship parade than Boston Celtics fans.

Miami doesn't win a title every year, but it's always in the thick of things. Few teams can claim the resumé the Heat continues to build.

3. The Heat refuses to tank even when it makes sense to do so. In a league where losing on purpose in the name of scoring a high draft choice was practically created, the Heat refuses to put the future of its franchise in the hands of some filthy ping-pong-ball exercise. The team tried that dirty game once and ended up with soap in its mouth (Michael Beasley), so the Heat will never do it again.

Even when losing on purpose makes the most sense, the Heat would rather grind it out, play to win, and regroup in the offseason in ways the team can better control. It's admirable, and it has paid off, spitting in the face of those who call .500 seasons a waste of time. The Heat gets credit for this, of course, from the rest of the league, even as some of those people would take the apparent shortcut to glory themselves.

2. If a player is serious about getting the most out of his basketball skills, Miami is Harvard. Jimmy Butler's choosing the cap-strapped Heat as his desired destination solely because Miami has a reputation of doing things the right way drove home a fact fans already knew: The Miami Heat is the place to go if a player is serious about being his best. If he didn't already subscribe to the notion that "culture" is a real thing, he does now. In Miami, coaches and the front office expect a lot out of their players, and going sideways means going to the bench or even farther away from the court — ask Dion Waiters.

If the NBA lost all of its players and needed to fill the league with a crop of new guys, it would send them to the Miami Heat for a good monthlong camp where they could learn how to do things the right way first. Miami is the Harvard of the NBA, win or lose. One can't decide to be Harvard overnight; Miami has earned that right.

1. No team treats its players with more respect than the Heat. Beyond the tremendous culture and the team's knack for getting the best out of players is the fact that the Miami Heat knows how to manage grown-ass men and treat them with the respect they deserve. Players saw how Dwyane Wade was treated on his retirement tour. They noticed how the Heat saved Chris Bosh from himself when he wanted to play despite blood clots. Jimmy Butler noticed all of that and came to Miami.

At the end of the day, NBA players are employees, and the Miami Heat is a corporation with a reputation. There are only so many positions to fill with the Heat, so when one opens, no doubt there are many applications. The Miami Heat knows how to treat its players and is respected for it. 

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