NBA Insiders Offer Bold Miami Heat ‘Parade’ Predictions

Erik Spoelstra, Kyle Lowry

Getty Erik Spoelstra and Kyle Lowry have the Miami Heat looking like favorites to win another NBA championship.

The Miami Heat are weathering the storm with Jimmy Butler injured. The team has gone 2-1 since losing their star forward to a sprained right ankle. Credit a renewed commitment to defense and dominating back-to-back performances from Tyler Herro.

The franchise was arguably the biggest winners in the offseason after trading for Kyle Lowry and then signing PJ Tucker and Markieff Morris. They bring a toughness and tenacity to both ends of the floor, a side effect of Erik Spoelstra’s patented Miami Heat Culture. The Heat (9-5) sit in fourth place in the Eastern Conference as more and more national analysts jump on the bandwagon.

ESPN’s Tim Legler couldn’t stop raving about the Heat during a recent appearance on “NBA Today” where he discussed their ceiling. The retired NBA player complimented their “competitive stamina” and sees a squad capable of bringing another championship to South Beach. The addition of Lowry was the move that put them into the NBA Finals conversation, per Legler.

“The ceiling is a parade in Miami,” Legler said. “Can they actually get it all done? They can. This is the best defensive team in the league and now you have Tyler Herro back at a level where he gives you that firepower that you’re going to need every night.”

The Heat are one of only three teams in the league ranked in the top-10 in both offense and defense. The others are the Chicago Bulls and Golden State Warriors. Miami ranks fourth-best in offensive rating (111.0) and eighth-best in defensive rating (103.7), per NBA Stats.

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JJ Redick Drinking Heat ‘Kool-Aid’

Legler wasn’t the only one gushing over Spoelstra’s squad. JJ Redick – a player linked to the Heat in the offseason – has been hyping Miami up all season on his “Old Man and the Three” podcast. Now he’s brought his talents to ESPN where he’s beating the drum even louder.

“What is the Heat ceiling?” Redick told ESPN. “Anybody that has listened to my podcast knows that I’ve been basically running a Miami Heat podcast. I drink the Heat culture Kool-Aid. To me, this is the clear front-runner in the Eastern Conference.”

Redick pointed to the way Pat Riley constructed the roster as the main reason for a parade in South Beach. Their ability to match up personnel on the defensive end – and impose their physical will on teams – are going to make them a tough out in the playoffs.

“To win a playoff series, and we’ve seen this bear out multiple times in the last few years, you have to be able to play different ways,” Redick told the Sun-Sentinel on November 2. “You have to be able to play different defensive schemes. Miami has the personnel to do that.”

Heat-Pelicans Injury Report

Jimmy Butler (ankle) and Bam Adebayo (knee) are officially questionable for Wednesday night’s matchup against New Orleans. Ditto for Dewayne Dedmon (groin) and Marcus Garrett (wrist). Butler has missed three straight games while Adebayo last played on November 13. The team has ruled Victor Oladipo (knee) and Markieff Morris (neck) out. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. in Miami.

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