Prior to the start of the 2014-15 NBA season, most journalists, analysts, and television personalities alike had written off the Miami Heat due to the departure of one LeBron James. NBA.com, ESPN, and Yahoo all attributed the Heat to a lower tiered ranking in the East, while attributing the new-look Cleveland Cavaliers a top seed in the conference.
Now seven games into the season, a lot of people are beginning to swallow their own words as the first couple weeks of play are beginning to indicate how the East will unfold. The current standings have the Heat sitting as the 3rd seed, while the Cavs are 8th, almost a complete reversal of what analysts had predicted prior to the start of the season. Although it’s too early to tell how the East will ultimately play out, we believe that when it’s all said and done, the Heat will finish higher on the totem pole than the Cavaliers.
Here are five reasons why the Heat will finish with a better record than the Cavs this season:
1. Battle Tested
When it comes to adversity, the Heat have been through it all. From being put under the microscope in their 2010-11 season, to being booed at almost every arena across the country, the Heat know how to to deal with the outside pressure. Dwyane Wade has been doubted countless times this year as to whether or not his injuries would prevent him from performing at a high level this season, while Chris Bosh has been repeatedly poked fun at in the media for his “softness” and inability to bang inside the paint.
What do the naysayers have to say now? D3 has now played in as many back-to-back sets this year (three) as all of last season, while his points, blocks, and assists all have increased. In the same fashion, Bosh’s averages have skyrocketed now with James playing elsewhere. With a higher usage rate, Bosh is currently averaging a career best 23.6 points, while pulling down 10.3 rebounds a game.
On the other hand, the Cavaliers haven’t hit a major roadblock yet, and when they do, who knows how the inexperienced team will respond. Neither Kyrie Irving nor Kevin Love has ever seen a playoff game in their careers, and playing in Minnesota and Cleveland has allowed them to sneak under the radar without any judgement. However, now that LeBron is on the team, the spotlight will follow. It will ultimately takes days, months, maybe years until the new-look Cavaliers get used to the media focused solely on their every move throughout the season.