Season Preview

Hype is Real: Heat always a safe bet

Published October 18, 2022, 10:00 AMJon Carlos Rodriguez

After getting so close to making the NBA Finals last season, the Heat are all set for another deep run with usual suspects led by Butler and Adebayo.

Overview of their 2021-2022 season

It wasn’t too long ago when the Miami Heat were a couple of games and Big Face Coffee cups away from winning their fourth championship. It was just a few months ago when they fell one game short of making yet another Finals appearance. 

The timeline is important to bring up because this Heat team is still pretty much the same, with a few moving parts here and there. At the core of it, though, is their franchise player Jimmy Butler, still on his quest for that movie ending—not the one where he’s all gassed out in the Finals, but one where he’s hugging the Larry O’Brien trophy in tears.

They came so, so close at another shot at the title in the 2021-2022 season, but injuries to both Tyler Herro and Kyle Lowry derailed the run. Instead, it was the Boston Celtics who made it through Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals. So, so close.

What’s new this season?

The names associated with Heat Culture (including Udonis Haslem) are still here, and that makes the Heat a force in continuity. Sure, Butler and Lowry are both a year older, but so is Bam Adebayo, whose ascension to NBA greatness is something that cannot be overlooked.

Those who’ve pitched in to the culture like Max Strus, Gabe Vincent, and Caleb Martin also now have playoff battle scars that would be useful for this fresh run. Unfortunately, they’d have to do it without the two Heat enforcers in PJ Tucker and Markieff Morris.

THE guy

While Butler remains to be the sun from which the Heat get their, um, heat, Adebayo is the guy that could ultimately decide the fate of this team in the postseason.

Health has been an issue quite a bit last season, but if Adebayo is able to find his wellness peak at the right time in the playoffs, then the Heat—as we all know by now—are a dangerous team, still.

Sneaky fun guy

Squint hard enough and you’d think the league MVP is playing for Miami. Look again, that’s Nikola Jovic, the Heat’s 19-year-old rookie from Serbia. The Heat didn’t add much to their roster aside from more postseason heartache and wisdom, so Jovic’s contribution to Heat Culture will be interesting to watch. 

Vibe check

The Miami Heat is a team that will always be in the mix of must-watch games for a number of reasons. There’s Butler’s relentless desire to overcome adversity. There’s Adebayo’s upward trajectory. There’s Tyler Herro’s perpetually hot shooting hand.

As long as Pat Riley and Erik Spoelstra are calling the shots and Jimmy Butler is Jimmy Butler, then Miami’s got that edge in the East. The potential is endless. For instance, just imagine if Herro learned how to play defense.