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It’s not surprising to learn the Brooklyn Nets, Los Angeles Lakers, and the Milwaukee Bucks, were given the No. 1, No. 2, and No. 3 best odds to win it all in the 2021-22 NBA season, Miami earned the No. 11 spot with +3000 odds to steal the title.
ESPN’s Doug Kezirian reported that these way-too-early assessments actually hold weight. “The preseason betting favorite has won the NBA title in four of the past six seasons. Over the past 35 seasons, only four teams have won the championship with odds of 15-1 or longer.”
Miami Ranks High in ESPN’s ‘Way-Too-Early’ Power Rankings for the 2021-22 NBA Season
NBA analysts also believe the Heat will have a sizeable turnaround next season. ESPN‘s Nick Friedell, along with Tim Bontemps, Andrew Lopes, Kevin Pelton, Royce Young, and Ohm Youngmisuk, acknowledge Miami suffered from a “bubble hangover” this year, but predict Butler and Adebayo “will be motivated to prove that their run wasn’t just a flash in the pan.”
“Heat president Pat Riley will have some tough roster decisions to make,” Friedell wrote. “Respected veterans Goran Dragic and Andre Iguodala both have team options, and point guard Kendrick Nunn is a restricted free agent. The Heat still have plenty of top-line talent, but they need young shooter Tyler Herro to take another step in his development to fortify the team’s depth. Riley also must decide what to do with Victor Oladipo, who is an unrestricted free agent and is coming off another quad injury.”
While not mentioned by Friedell, the Heat’s front office also have to make a major decision with restricted free agent Duncan Robinson, who’s expected to net offers that would pay him between $15 and $20 million next season.
Bleacher Report Also Pictures Miami Being a True ‘Contender’ Next Season
Only five Heat players are contractually guaranteed to return next season, and it’s clear that Miami needs to add a third big name to really be a force to be reckoned with in the Eastern Conference.
Bleacher Report‘s Greg Swartz also placed the Heat at No.11 on their power rankings for the 2021-22 NBA season. While Miami was “one of the most disappointing teams in 2020-21, Miami still has the potential to be a title contender this upcoming season,” Swartz wrote.
“ Butler (21.5 points, 6.9 rebounds, 7.1 assists, 2.1 steals) is still playing at an All-Star level, and Bam Adebayo is one of the league’s best two-way big men already at age 24. Tyler Herro and Precious Achiuwa have bright futures in the league, although there’s a great deal of uncertainty surrounding the rest of the roster.”
If the Heat decline the team options on Dragic ($19.4 million) and Iguodala ($15 million), Miami will have another $20.5 million in cap space, “even with cap holds for restricted free agents Duncan Robinson and Kendrick Nunn,” Swartz continued, “ landing a free agent like Kyle Lowry would do wonders for Miami’s title hopes.”