The Heat’s wild underdog run to the Finals has left other teams wondering if it was a fluke or if their formula is one that can be replicated successfully.
“As rival teams watched the Miami Heat climb out of the play-in muck and into the NBA Finals, many discussed the same question internally: What — if anything — can we learn from this?” ESPN’s Zach Lowe wrote.
“For some executives, the answer was very little. The Heat’s run, the thinking went, was some combination of a fluke and a reversion to normal for a team that had gone cold from 3-point range all season. Would they have survived even one round had Giannis Antetokounmpo not injured his back in the first game of Miami’s first-round series against the Milwaukee Bucks?”
Miami’s series victory over the Bucks was a shocking one but Giannis did hurt his back and Jimmy Butler averaged a crazy 37.6 points per game.
The cracks started to show against Boston in the ECF where a Game 7 had to be played and Miami almost fumbled the bag.
Defying literally all the odds, they reached the NBA Finals but were no match for Denver, who ended Miami’s fairytale run in five games.
One of the points of difference between the regular season and the postseason for the Heat was its improved three-point percentage.
During the regular season, Miami shot 34.4 percent from three – the third worst in the league.
But miraculously the Heat shot 38 percent of their three pointers in the postseason – the best percentage of any playoffs team.
Making more threes than anyone thought the team would, along with getting average players to step up in big moments.
It was a strategy that actually worked to some degree and it got other teams thinking.
“…What if the Heat’s run was proof that in the era of load management, 3-point shot variance, and the play-in tournament, the regular season now mattered much less? What would it mean if the play-in, the new collective bargaining agreement, and other factors were ushering in an era of unprecedented parity to a sport that had been defined by predictability and the inevitability of dynasties?”
Miami are looking to add another star to their roster by all reports, so only time will tell if they are able to go even further this coming postseason – or if they’ll make the postseason at all.