3 reasons why the Miami Heat could repeat their 2023 playoff success without Damian Lillard
The Miami Heat surprised everyone last season when they reached the NBA Finals. The Heat were the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference and each of their string of wins in the 2023 playoffs was considered an upset. However, the Denver Nuggets were too overwhelmed to overcome.
Miami’s hopes of repeating its success next season became brighter when the team linked up with Portland Trail Blazers player Damian Lillard. Lillard has requested a trade to the Blazers and his preferred destination is the Heat. If they can add a player like Lillard, the Heat have a great chance to return to the NBA Finals.
Lillard, Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo would certainly be a formidable trio but the Blazers are playing the long game. They are in no rush to part with their greatest player ever, and the Heat could end up with nothing if things don’t fall into place for them.
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3 reasons why the Miami Heat can repeat their success even without the addition of Damian Lillard
According to ESPN’s Mark J. Spears, the Miami Heat aren’t the only team interested in acquiring Damian Lillard. Several NBA teams have reportedly begun talking to other teams about Lillard, so Miami could end up without a third star next season.
“Last I heard, the Blazers talked to several teams, but I don’t even know if that’s the Blazers,” Spears said. “But when multiple teams say it, it also suggests they might be willing to send him somewhere other than the Miami Heat, which is certainly intriguing.”
In that regard, let’s take a look at the three reasons why the Heat could repeat their success next season even if they don’t add Lillard.
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#3 Bam Adebayo would be a much better player
Bam Adebayo had a good run in the playoffs, but there was a desperate need for him to become a much better offensive player. Adebayo was aggressive but sometimes missed easy shots near the basket. He likely used the offseason to improve his offensive game.
Abibayo is already among the best centers in the NBA and appears focused on winning Defensive Player of the Year honors next season. If Bam can become a legitimate threat for the Miami Heat, there is no doubt they can repeat their success.
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#2 The Miami Heat have improved their depth
One of the reasons the Miami Heat reached the NBA Finals is because of their depth, which consists of undrafted players like Max Strus, Gabe Vincent, Caleb Martin, and Duncan Robinson. Strus and Vincent already left in free agency but the Heat retooled and improved their depth.
Even without Damian Lillard, they will have a healthy Tyler Herro in the lineup. Josh Richardson can replicate the production of Strus and Vincent while Thomas Bryant will serve as the backup center. The Heat also added Jaime Jaquez Jr. who can contribute right away, and Nikola Jovic had a promising Basketball World Cup for Serbia.
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#1 Jimmy Butler
Jimmy Butler was the main reason the Miami Heat reached the NBA Finals last season. Butler led the Heat to surprise victories over the Milwaukee Bucks, New York Knicks, and Boston Celtics. He went cold against the Denver Nuggets but the Heat wouldn’t be in the first place without him.
In an interview with Chinese broadcaster Baller Vision earlier this summer, Butler explained why he remains a strong believer in the Premier League. They are expected to have another successful season that culminates in an NBA championship.
“I believe with all my heart that we will win a Heat championship because I don’t plan on playing for another team in the NBA,” Butler said. “I know we can do it.” I know with the team that Coach Pat (Riley) and Coach Spo (Erik Spoelstra) have put together around me and my teammates, we’re going to be okay. We will always have a chance. This year is our year.”
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