Joe Paige | Sports Editor
Currently sitting at the top of the Eastern Conference is the Miami Heat who after getting knocked out the first round of the playoffs by last years championship Milwaukee Bucks head coach Erik Spoelstra has been keeping this newly constructed heat team above water amongst the water in the east, although this team has shown struggles early during the first half of the season lately have expressed great potential moving forward. Miami currently ranks sixth in the association averaging 25.8 assists per game led by Kyle Lowry averaging nearly 10 of them, he has been a magnificent fit and a much need boost to a Miami team that’s lacked 3pt playmaking directing their offense. Their perimeter game has also significantly improved especially thanks to the help of the third year jump of guard Tyler Herro who currently looks like a strong candidate for sixth man of the year averaging 20 points per game shooting near 40% from three mostly coming off the bench. The team has also gotten surprise contribution through rookies, draft, and free agent help such as guard Gabe Vincent, who played with the Nigerian national team in last years Olympics, who has been the substitute starting point guard when Lowry would be absent. Not to mention help recently from Duncan Robinson who they maxed early this season, and from undrafted rookie Ömer Yurtseven who has been a great interior presence.
A massive loss to their season so far for Miami has been without the consistent services of their core three Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo out after right thumb surgery about a month ago but back now, and Kyle Lowry. Bam Adebayo has averaged 22.3 points, 10.3 rebounds and 4.3 assists in 3 games without Jimmy Butler this season and is looking to lead this team without his two costars on this upcoming six-game trip where they hope to stay atop the eastern conference when they come out of it. If they show up fully loaded and healthy the Heat can look at any team in front of them and can confidently go into a game knowing they have what it takes to handle situations they previously weren’t capable of. Without forgetting this year’s usual array of teams with championship aspirations from the Brooklyn Nets or the Golden State Warriors, to the Chicago Bulls or the Phoenix Suns do not hesitate to throw the Heat into the mix because they certainly can contend with the other top teams in the NBA and can get further than many expect them to go in this upcoming postseason.