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Scouting the Enemy: Miami Heat

Can Jimmy Butler raise them to new heights?

NBA: Memphis Grizzlies at Philadelphia 76ers Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Over the next several weeks, we’re going to be “scouting the enemy,” as we’ll be covering the outlook for the 29 other teams in the league ahead of the 2019-2020 season.

Miami Heat

Former Grizzlies: James Johnson

Offseason in Review

The Miami Heat didn’t have a summer similar to the Los Angeles Clippers, Lakers, or even the Brooklyn Nets. However, they made significant moves that definitely elevated the team’s ceiling.

They acquired Jimmy Butler in a 4-team sign-and-trade where they also acquired Meyers Leonard. Though they lost Josh Richardson — a young player that broke out for them last season — they landed a legitimate alpha player. They lacked a true go-to option, and Butler — despite his flawed tenure in Minnesota — is still a legitimate top-20 player that can be the best player on a good playoff team.

The Heat lost Hassan Whiteside, and though he’s a productive center in a vacuum, the move brought in another floor-spacer in Meyers Leonard. More importantly, it opens up opportunity for the younger, more promising Bam Adebayo.

The Heat also drafted Tyler Herro with the 13th overall pick, and he looks like a legitimate complementary piece next to Butler and Adebayo. Known as the best sharpshooter in the draft, he flashed the ability to also put the ball on the floor and create off the dribble. If he can do that in “real” NBA time, he could be one of the biggest steals in the draft.

The Heat came into the offseason strapped with mediocre players on high-end deals and no legitimate signs of hope for the present or future. Now that they have Butler, Adebayo, Herro, and Winslow, they are positioned to compete now, while having the flexibility to strike and go all-in in the future.

Team Outlook

The Miami Heat should be a playoff lock this season.

Jimmy Butler is a bigger addition than people think, and that may be a product of his public perception after his Minnesota drama. Let’s not forget, he lead that Philly team in the playoffs, and if it wasn’t for a few bounces, they would’ve been in the Eastern Conference Finals. The supporting cast isn’t nearly as talented as the Sixers’, but Butler can definitely lead this team to the second round of the playoffs.

Justise Winslow should take another leap, especially if he maintains a playmaking role next season. Kelly Olynyk and Meyers Leonard provide much-needed floor spacing in the frontcourt. Goran Dragic projects as a nice backcourt piece next to Butler, as he can space the floor alongside him, or run the offense without him. I don’t see why Tyler Herro can’t have a season similar to Landry Shamet next season.

The player I’m most intrigued with though is Bam Adebayo.

He’s no longer having to share time with Hassan Whiteside, so he can fully spread his wings and fly. He fits that rim-running mold similar to Clint Capela, but I see more offensive potential with him. He can push the ball up the floor in transition, he can create for others, and he can expand his offense beyond the paint. In a world where teams are now looking for the next Pascal Siakam, Adebayo is probably the most realistic option — especially when posing the question, “can this player be the second-best player on a contending team.”

All in all, the Miami Heat are in phenomenal position for the short and long term — without possessing a yacht-load of picks. They have a star player that can be an alpha on a really good team, while also surrounding him with solid young players that can grow alongside him. Their bad contracts are close to expiring, so the allure of Miami can return to being a free agent recruiting tool.

After looking kind of bleh for the past year or so, the Miami Heat might be brewing up something sweet in South Beach.

Follow @sbngrizzlies for further “Scouting the Enemy” posts.