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NBA scout bets Heat will be a ‘lower seed’ playoff team

Jimmy Butler, Heat

An NBA scout would bet on the Miami Heat being a “lower seed” playoff team next season.

The Heat acquired four-time All-Star Jimmy Butler from the Philadelphia 76ers in a sign-and-trade deal this offseason. Miami traded Josh Richardson to the Sixers for Butler and also moved Hassan Whiteside to the Portland Trail Blazers for Meyers Leonard.

The Heat missed the playoffs last season. Butler, Leonard and promising rookie Tyler Herro are the new additions to the roster, while Bam Adebayo, Goran Dragic, Justise Winslow, James Johnson, Dion Waiters, Kelly Olynyk, Derrick Jones Jr. and Udonis Haslem are the key players returning from 2018-19.

“I think Philadelphia, Milwaukee, Boston, Brooklyn and Indiana are clearly better than Miami, and Toronto is modestly better,” the scout told Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. “I would bet on Miami being a playoff team, a lower seed. If they get to six, it would be a modest surprise. But they could just as well be ninth.”

Butler is a four-time All-Star and one of the best two-way players in the NBA. Last season with the Minnesota Timberwolves and Sixers, Butler averaged 18.7 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.0 assists.

Butler, though, will need Dragic and Adebayo to play at an All-Star level. The Heat are thrilled to have acquired Butler, but they know he can’t lead the team back to the postseason by himself.