Countdown to NBA Tip-Off: Miami Heat Season Preview

CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 10: Jimmy Butler of Chicago Bulls in action during the NBA match between Miami Heat and Chicago Bulls on December 10, 2016 at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Bilgin S. amaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

The Miami Heat ended the Dwyane Wade era last season and now they look ahead to new beginnings. With Jimmy Butler now in the fold, the Miami Heat 2019-20 season preview is exciting for basketball fans everywhere.

Miami Heat 2019-20 Season Preview

Looking Back to Last Season

The Eastern Conference was wide open at the start of last season, yet the Miami Heat did not enter as legitimate contenders. At best, they were as always a possible lock for the postseason, as the East is generally more favorable than the West in that aspect. Despite their goal of a postseason appearance, Miami had arguably something more significant at play during the 2018 season. It would be the final year of Dwayne Wade’s NBA career, and he would embark on an official farewell tour.

Miami would finish with a 39-43 record, good for tenth in the Eastern Conference (via tiebreaker). Despite missing out on the postseason, they were in the race till the end alongside the Charlotte Hornets and Detroit Pistons (who snagged the final spot in the East). Though not boasting a ton of talent, the Heat managed to stay competitive and even witnessed a few last great moments from Wade himself.

Now as Wade has retired, the Heat officially say goodbye and close a long and arguably successful era. Beginning in 2019, Miami embarks on a new journey with a new franchise star at the helm.

Offseason Changes

The 2019 NBA Offseason was filled with big-name free agents, a plethora of stars not seen for a few summers. Besides the obvious heavy hitters, Butler was among the crop who could potentially find a new home. After a successful run with the Philadelphia 76ers that brought them within (a few lucky bounces) of an NBA Finals appearance, the question lingered whether he would return. Butler was seeking a max contract, but he wanted a change of scenery too.

Butler wanted the Miami Heat, and ultimately the feelings were mutual. The two sides reached an agreement on a four-year max contract. In the aftermath, the Heat, 76ers, Portland Trail Blazers, and Los Angeles Clippers agreed on a four-team deal. The trade helped send Butler and Meyers Leonard to Miami, Hassan Whiteside to Portland, Josh Richardson to Philadelphia, and Maurice Harkless and a first-round pick to the Clippers.

Expectations for Next Season

Miami has largely hovered on the playoff bubble ever since the departure of LeBron James to the Cleveland Cavaliers. In retrospect, that may very well be an impressive feat given the state of the roster in comparison to the other East contenders. The fact that the Heat were in playoff contention until the end is respectable, even with Wade being in his last year.

Now with an established superstar in Butler, a playoff appearance in the East should not be a realistic goal. The Heat also successfully traded away Whiteside, whose contract lingered financially and inconsistent play hampered on-court chemistry. Butler wants to prove he can lead a team, and Miami’s expectations should be no short of that goal.

Miami Heat 2019-20 Season Prediction

The addition of Butler, as well as the state of the other Eastern Conference teams, has opened a path into the playoffs for the Heat. The Pistons just barely slid into last year’s playoffs. The Hornets fanbase, without Kemba Walker, have been given little confidence in making a playoff push. Already, the two franchises that finished just ahead of the Heat a year ago seem vulnerable heading into 2019. A playoff spot is within a reach, and a record of at least 41-41 (.500) is the criterion this coming season.

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