The Miami Heat is back. Somehow, a new season begins tonight when the Heat takes on the New Orleans Pelicans in the team's first preseason game of a brand-new season that begins, unbelievably, barely two months after the last one concluded.
Time is a flat circle. We now understand the calendar we have come to rely on is merely a suggestion. The Miami Heat and the NBA are now free to play pop-up shop basketball whenever they please because all our societal restrictions have been deemed a lie.
Many are brazenly claiming the Heat can't repeat the dominance in the Eastern Conference that the team displayed in the NBA's Orlando playoff bubble. What Miami was able to accomplish has been deemed a fluke by the doubters. Almost no one is predicting the Heat will get as far as two games within a title, as happened last season.
But it's the preseason. It's prediction season, people. And we've got some other predictions, too.
The Miami Heat will return to the NBA Finals. Let's just get the big one out of the way: The Miami Heat will be back in the NBA Finals this season. While many believe the successes of last season were a fluke, we believe they were actually the tip of the iceberg for a team that has so many young players who haven't yet met their full potential.
Whether it be the Bucks, Celtics, Pacers, or new-look Nets, we're riding with the home team. The haters say the Miami Heat was built to win basketball games in the bubble. We say it's just built to win basketball games.
Harden making it rain for what looks like a group of dudes? Also what kind of strip club lets another dude on the pole with a white T-shirt and gym shorts? pic.twitter.com/Z5dakwPOcj— Drew Miller (@drewmiller) December 8, 2020
The Heat won't trade for James Harden. Call me crazy, but having watched the Miami Heat for a few decades now, James Harden doesn't exactly strike me as the sort of player Pat Riley is willing to risk it all for in his final years with the team.
The Miami Heat has built a roster full of young assets who have bright futures in the league. Trading all of it for a player who's owed $140 million over the next three years — regardless of how many three-pointers he makes — seems like a terrible idea, especially when you already have two max-contract players on the roster and no first-round picks to trade until 2025.
Before the season Bam Adebayo told DWade he was going to average 16-10-5...He didn’t miss pic.twitter.com/5YrLkiN8oW— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) August 5, 2020
Bam Adebayo averages 20, 10, 5. Last season, Bam Adebayo called his shot. Before the season started, he texted Dwyane Wade that he would average 16 points, ten rebounds, and five assists a game. When it was all said and done, Bam nailed those numbers almost to the decimal point.
This season? We say upping the goal to 20 points a game isn't crazy. The man nicknamed "No Ceiling" has plenty of room to grow, and having only played 33 minutes a game last season, it's not ridiculous to predict Bam could drop 20, 10, 5 on a nightly basis.
Jimmy Butler brings back the "bubble look." If it's not broken, don't fix it. Jimmy Butler rocked a hideous look while stuck in the Orlando bubble. He refused to get a haircut for months. He also played the best basketball of his career, and the Miami Heat came within two games of an NBA championship.
It would be criminal to not bring back the look later in the season. We predict Heat fans once again get a glimpse of that glorious Jimmy Butler rat mustache.
Udonis Haslem officially re-signs with the Miami #HEATTwitter, becoming the fifth player with most season with the same #NBA team.— Iacopo De Santis (@IacopoDeSantis) November 28, 2020
Dirk Nowitzki - 21 - DAL
Kobe Bryant - 20 - LAL
Tim Duncan - 19 - SAS
John Stockton - 19 - UTH
Reggie Miller - 18 - IND
Udonis Haslem - 18 - MIA pic.twitter.com/8iY2C1h2Xg
This season will not be Udonis Haslem's last in Miami. Udonis Haslem is returning to the court for his 18th season in 2020. Many fans believed he would retire before his 16th season, so the fact that Haslem still has a jersey on in 2021 is a huge surprise.
Most assume this season will be it for UD, but not us. We're calling it now. He's going for the record. He'll play 22 seasons, taking him to 2025. At this point, why not? The players swear by his contributions off the court, and Haslem can continue to slowly collect all the money he left on the table by taking less so the team could sign other players over the years.
Odds to win 2020-21 NBA’s Most Improved Player Award:— ContentNBA (@ContentNBA) December 7, 2020
+1400: Jamal Murray, Shai Gilgeous Alexander & Michael Porter Jr.
+1600: Tyler Herro
+1800: Ja Morant
+2400: Chris Boucher, Coby White, & De’Aaron Fox https://t.co/5hZOzsYuKM pic.twitter.com/fU471umrAU
Tyler Herro wins the Most Improved Player award. There are a lot of people who seem to think Tyler Herro is a favorite to win the Sixth Man of the Year award, but that would require him, you know, being a sixth man. Tyler Herro is a starter. He isn't coming off the bench for the Miami Heat ever again. If there's an award he will win next season, it's Most Improved Player.
To be honest, this is a trash award that makes no sense and is usually given to a player who was already great but just got better. Nobody ever gives this award to a guy no one had heard of who went on to be a solid starter. When Tyler Herro makes the All-Star team this season, it'll be considered an improvement. That's for sure.
Rookie Precious Achiuwa plays much more than many fans are predicting. In a season where there will be almost no training camp and a limited preseason, not many fans are predicting big things early on from Miami Heat first-round pick Precious Achiuwa. That definitely makes a lot of sense. The Heat is a deep team with plenty of players set to eat up all the minutes available. In any other season, it would be unlikely that Precious saw the floor too much.
The problem is, 2021 won't be any other year. There will be hiccups. There will be more players who test positive for COVID-19 or miss games because of possible exposure. We're guessing the Heat will be able to use a freak athlete like Precious at some point this year, especially because his energy can translate quickly, and the shooting won't be what's needed most.
Don't be surprised if you see Precious start a handful of games, because nothing makes sense right now.
Kendrick Nunn finishes the season on another team. Kendrick Nunn has been included in every fake trade Heat fans have made over the last few months. It's clear as day he just doesn't have a huge role on the team moving forward. Tyler Herro and Duncan Robinson are starting guards, and Goran Dragic and Avery Bradley are playing big minutes off the bench. Any other guard minutes will be few and far between, if needed on any given night at all.
As shown in the playoff bubble, the Heat can use Nunn in spots, but overall he just isn't a huge part of what the team does best. It's likely he's part of any substantial trade the Heat makes this season, alongside Kelly Olynyk.
Duncan Robinson has a better three-point shooting season than Steph Curry does. Duncan Robinson will have a better three-point shooting season than Steph Curry — possibly the greatest shooter of all time — has with the Golden State Warriors. They don't call them bold predictions because they're obvious, folks. We're here to go out on a limb, so we're calling this season the one where Robinson takes another leap beyond the field when it comes to three-pointers made.
Duncan was the best three-point shooter in the game last year, but Curry was out. This season, Duncan will still hold that crown whether Curry stays healthy or not.
The Heat and the Lakers meet again in the NBA Finals. It's a rematch, but this time, with flights, families, and freedom. If we're predicting the Miami Heat makes the NBA Finals, we may as well let you know its opponent. That part is a lot easier to predict, seeing as LeBron James does not miss the NBA Finals.
Lakers versus the Heat, again. This time, nobody can call it a fluke and, hopefully, the Heat gets a shot at LeBron and the Lakers with a healthy team.
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