Miami Heat Ranked Third Best Team in Eastern Conference in ESPN’s Power Rankings

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The Miami Heat are considered one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference heading into the 2015-16 season.

ESPN seems to agree—the Heat were not only ranked No. 10 by Marc Stein in his first power rankings of the season, they were ranked as the third-best team in the entire conference.

The two teams ahead of Miami in the East? The Cleveland Cavaliers at No. 2 and the Atlanta Hawks at No. 9.

The Cavaliers advanced to the NBA Finals in 2015, while the Hawks achieved the best regular season record of any team in the conference this past year.

Stein stated the following in regards to the Heat’s ranking:

“Can you be a rampant Goran Dragic fan and a Heat skeptic at the same time? Miami is the ultimate win-now team, but there’s no escaping the fact that the next minute Dragic, Dwyane Wade, Luol Deng, Chris Bosh and Hassan Whiteside share the court together will be the first. So many ways this can play out.”

Elite teams in the East from last season such as the Chicago Bulls and Toronto Raptors were ranked at No. 11 and No. 13, respectively.

There is no doubt that the Heat have the potential to match up with the Cavaliers in terms of sheer talent on paper. The difference between the two teams is that one is coming off of a 37-45 non-playoff season, while the other is a proven commodity, having made it to the NBA Finals last season.

As mentioned by Stein, the Heat’s projected starting five have yet to even play together. Looking at that lineup on paper is one thing, but seeing it on the court might be a whole different story.

Chemistry will be absolutely instrumental regardless of how star-studded the Heat’s starting lineup is.

We will see just how much chemistry this starting five has when Miami opens its regular season on October 28th versus the New Orleans Hornets.
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D.J. Siddiqi grew up in the heart of South Florida in Broward County. Growing up in South Florida during the late 90's and 2000's, D.J. witnessed the Pat Riley years where the Miami Heat faced off with the New York Knicks all the way to the painful late 2000's seasons where the Heat were a one-man team with Dwyane Wade. D.J. has closely followed the Heat over the past decade-and-a-half, and unfortunately witnessed Game 2 of the 2011 NBA Finals in person when the Dallas Mavericks overcame a 15-point deficit to knock off the Heat. D.J. has writing experience as a columnist with sites such as Bleacher Report and Rant Sports, and he is proud to bring his knowledge of the Heat and the NBA to Heat Nation.