Heat Ready for Postseason Run

Hassan+Whiteside+has+been+an+anchor+of+Miami%27s+frontcourt.+%28Courtesy+of+Twitter%29
Back to Article
Back to Article

Heat Ready for Postseason Run

Hassan Whiteside has been an anchor of Miami's frontcourt. (Courtesy of Twitter)

Hassan Whiteside has been an anchor of Miami's frontcourt. (Courtesy of Twitter)

Hassan Whiteside has been an anchor of Miami's frontcourt. (Courtesy of Twitter)

Hassan Whiteside has been an anchor of Miami's frontcourt. (Courtesy of Twitter)

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






By Alvin Halimwidjaya

Hassan Whiteside has been an anchor of Miami’s frontcourt. (Courtesy of Twitter)

The Eastern Conference isn’t nearly as much of a chaotic mess as the Western Conference is; the Denver Nuggets and the Minnesota Timberwolves meet on the final day of the season to fight for the final playoff spot, which is the culmination of the whirlwind the lower five or six seeds have gone through in the West.

Out East, due to LeBron James’ mere presence in the playoffs, many fans have written off the Eastern Conference as another trip to the finals for the otherwise-subpar Cleveland Cavaliers. A few people are placing their hopes in the hands of the first-seeded Toronto Raptors or the upstart Philadelphia 76ers, but with Boston Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving out for the playoffs, Beantown’s finest have seen a major drop in their playoff expectations. However, despite all this assumed certainty in the East, one team that people are sleeping on is the Miami Heat.

Last year, the Heat just missed the playoffs after going 30-11 in the second half of the season. This year, they’re looking to secure the seventh seed and go up against the injury-ridden Celtics, which gives them a significant advantage. Without Kyrie Irving and even Marcus Smart, Boston becomes a much more beatable team, giving Miami a chance to get to the second round and stir up some trouble among the Eastern Conference heavyweights.

Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra has the luxury of having numerous young and versatile players to trot out in different combinations. Hassan Whiteside is one of the best two-way centers in the NBA when he’s engaged, and there are few big men in the East that can take him on one-on-one. If Miami wants to change it up, they can bring in the sweet-shooting Kelly Olynyk and move to a more modern, five-out offense.

For the LeBrons and DeRozans of the East, forwards like James Johnson and Justise Winslow have the size, speed and athleticism to give vaunted scorers a tough time on the perimeter. Josh Richardson and Goran Dragic make up a talented backcourt that can run the offense and get their own buckets, especially in the postseason slog that slows every team’s pace down.

To top it off, they nabbed Dwyane Wade in a midseason trade; the hometown hero remains the third-best shooting guard in NBA history, and though the mayor of Wade County turned 36 this year, the playoffs are when Father Prime shines, and his playoff pedigree is exactly what the Heat need to hang with the more experienced teams in the East.

The Heat are certainly facing a tall task; the Celtics will still have Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, as well as Coach of the Year candidate Brad Stevens, and even if they get past Boston, LeBron looms large in the shadow of the second round. However, Miami has given themselves an identity of hustle and grit in the years after James’ departure, and they’ve developed a reputation of always being a tough out in the playoffs. The Heat have a chance this year to play underdog and knock off some of the giants in the East, and more importantly, don’t we all want to finally see LeBron versus Wade in a playoff series?