The Miami Heat have a solid chance of winning the 2020 NBA title once the “bubble” games begin on July 30. Led by All-Stars Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo, the South Beach franchise won 41 games before the season was suspended in March.
Because Butler holds people to a higher standard than they hold themselves, he has seamlessly fit in with the Heat organization. The All-Star swingman was putting up 20.2 points, 6.6 rebounds and 6.1 assists for Miami before COVID-19 forced the NBA to suspend play.
Meanwhile, Adebayo was averaging 16.2 points, 10.5 rebounds and 5.1 assists. Jimmy and Bam have developed a great rapport, both on and off the court. No one was happier than Butler when Adebayo was named an All-Star this year for the first time in his career.
Despite ranking in the top-15 in both offense and defense, though, the Heat do face some questions once the “bubble” games begin.
3. How will the Heat's youngsters perform in their first playoffs?
Tyler Herro, Duncan Robinson and Kendrick Nunn will all be making their playoff debuts in 2020.
Even though the intensity isn't going to be as high as it would be with fans at the games, postseason basketball is still much different than regular season ball since half-court scoring is at a premium. Not to mention that defense is actually played and opposing teams know exactly what you're going to do since they have multiple days to scout.
Herro and Robinson have turned out to be great shooters for the Heat. Nunn appears he's going to be the franchise point guard in Miami, while Adebayo is the second-best player on the club after Butler.
The only way the Heat are going to make a serious run for the trophy is if Adebayo, Herro, Robinson and Nunn play at a high-level and don't let the jitters of playoff basketball get to them.
2. Will Goran Dragic's right knee hold up?
Goran Dragic's surgically repaired right knee looked pretty strong this season before games were suspended. The lefty was averaging 16.1 points, 3.1 rebounds and 5.1 assists in 54 games while shooting 43.7 percent from the field, 37.7 percent from beyond the arc and 76.9 percent from the free-throw line.
Dragic will be coming off the bench for the Heat since Nunn is the better player and starter. The veteran guard has plenty of playoff experience under his belt though.
However, since Dragic has been off since March, it's unclear if his knees are going to be ready to handle the burden of playing a lot of games in Orlando.
Even though the hiatus allowed Dragic to rest his knees, many players are concerned about getting hurt at Walt Disney World since they haven't been able to condition their bodies.
1. What type of x-factor will Andre Iguodala be?
In typical Pat Riley fashion, the Heat president pulled the trigger on a deal that brought former Finals MVP Andre Iguodala down to South Beach even when the Heat were already elite. Riley was also able to acquire Jae Crowder in the same deal.
The Heat have Butler, Iguodala, Crowder and Derrick Jones Jr. as their wing defenders. Iguodala averaged 4.4 points and 3.8 boards in 14 games with Miami following his trade from the Memphis Grizzlies, though. Those aren't exactly the numbers Miami envisioned it was going to get from Iggy.
It will be fascinating to see if Iguodala has anything left in the tank for the Heat at this stage of his career.