2018 Miami Heat Predictions with Futures Odds and Expert Picks
I held off on writing this preview as long as I possibly could. Only Minnesota's is waiting longer. The Heat almost traded for Jimmy Butler, and then they didn't. Then it seemed like they might again, and now it seems like they aren't going to - in the short term at least. So, for now all we can do is assess this team for what it is. And it's familiar. Pat Riley clearly doesn't value draft picks, and he seems very comfortable with the roster he has - notwithstanding the Butler pursuit, of course. So, how is that going to turn out for him? He very clearly has enough to make the playoffs in the East. But does he have more than that? Is this team relevant - even in the far less relevant conference?
When a team doesn't change or improve their roster with new blood, any improvement has to come from within. There are some spots where that could happen on this team. Hassan Whiteside is a truly great defender when he is bought in, committed, and at the top of his game. But he can check out and be invisible like few in the league. If he cares all year, then he can take a big step forward. Goran Dragic was still the best playmaker and scorer the team had last year, but his numbers were down from the year before, so a return to form would help - and a career year would be even better. Josh Richardson probably has more offensive upside if he was used a bit more on that side of the court, and as good as his defense is it can be better, too. Justise Winslow could finally break through. Bam Adebayo was surprisingly solid as a rookie last year after some controversy around his selection in the draft, and he has clear upside. Wayne Ellington could be fired up by the lack of free agent interest he experienced this year and really look to establish his value this season. Dion Waiters could be the good version of himself after missing most of last year to injury. Dwyane Wade could discover a fountain of youth. There is room to grow here.
More interesting than what kind of growth could happen is the potential for real change on this team. Riley showed his willingness to make a move in the pursuit of Butler, and whether those talks reignite or not there is some potential for movement. Dragic would be attractive to a lot of teams. Whiteside could be moved as well. And they have a few more contracts or players that teams could express interest as well. It feels like the upside is really limited for this team - a second-round win would be an unlikely playoff success, and more than that seems highly unlikely. Making bold moves could be the easiest way to advance, and near the trade deadline could be the best time to maximize value and set this team up going forward.
2018 Miami Heat Additions and Departures
This is the 29th NBA preview I have written this year, and this will be by far the shortest entry in this section I have done for any of them. The Heat really didn't do anything. For the second time in three years they traded away all of their picks. They added a couple of guys and let a couple more go, but nothing that will likely make a significant impact. Most people wouldn't even recognize most of the names involved - and for a good reason. The biggest moves they made in the offseason was inking new deals for Wayne Ellington and Dwyane Wade, and neither is a massive deal or a hugely-surprising one. What you saw last year is, for better or worse, what you get this year. The Heat aren't likely to win an NBA title now or any time soon, but they win the title for the least active offseason in the NBA.
2018 Miami Heat Futures Odds and Trends
NBA title odds ( from Bovada ) : +30000
Eastern Conference title odds : +7000
Season win total: 41.5
The Heat were 41-40-6 ATS last year, including their short playoff appearance, so there were no long-term profits to be had on them or against them. They went "under" the total 47 times and "over" 38, so the profits were better on the total.
2018 Miami Heat Predictions and Futures Odds Picks
This is a playoff team. But it feels like their ceiling is a fifth or sixth seed in the East. And they would probably need to get lucky - and face a team dealing with key injuries - to win a playoff round. I don't particularly feel like this is a relevant team at this point and find it hard to get too excited about them. The season win total is well set, and I don't see any real value on either side.
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