Many Rival Teams were asking themselves, “What, if anything, can we learn from this?” as they watched the Miami Heat emerge from the play-in mud and advance to the NBA Finals. The Heat’s recent success, it was believed, to be an anomaly and a return to form for a squad that had struggled to make 3-pointers all season. The Miami Heat’s blistering long-range shooting contributed to some of that.
A Blistering Season From Miami Heat
In an 82-game league where 16 out of 30 clubs make the playoffs and home-court advantage isn’t as important because of the seven-game series structure, what might increased parity mean in the regular season? Will the sixth seed and avoiding the play-in become the key dividing line? Parity and clubs that value the regular season may go hand in hand if that race becomes intense enough—the play-in is a huge risk relative to a top-six berth. Phoenix has now assembled a Big Three from the remains of the Nets, including Beal, who the Nets had examined as a possible third component before settling on Harden.
The NBA won’t ever compare to the NFL, but many intelligent individuals in clubs and in the league office believe that parity and unpredictability have gained ground. Butler, who is obviously a different player and a more motivated scorer in the playoffs, is where it all begins. Tyler Herro’s absence for nearly the whole playoffs contributed to the hierarchy’s clarity. Around Butler and Adebayo, the Heat requires more shooting. Herro’s on-ball creativity in the Finals was missed by the Heat.
Part of it stems from the precedent that Miami Heat president Pat Riley has created by indicating that Spoelstra has complete control over on-court strategy and minute allocation and that no player is larger than the team. But if all of this was a part of Miami’s winning DNA, why didn’t it manifest itself during the regular season? In the upcoming seasons, we might witness another Heat-style run if the NBA is indeed moving toward parity.