NBA insider says Miami Heat don’t have firepower to compete with 'top-tier teams' in Eastern Conference - Heat Nation

NBA insider says Miami Heat don’t have firepower to compete with ‘top-tier teams’ in Eastern Conference

Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jimmy Butler Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Heat have struggled out of the gates in the 2022-23 season, going just 10-12 in their first 22 games. They currently sit in 11th place in the Eastern Conference and are right outside a play-in tournament spot.

They have seemed a bit overmatched in games against the top Eastern Conference teams like the Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers. Miami has also lost two games already to the Toronto Raptors.

Many believe the team is done being a contender, and NBA insider Howard Beck recently shared his belief that the Heat don’t have enough firepower to compete with the elite teams in the conference.

“Listen, I love what the Heat have done in this mini era since acquiring Jimmy [Butler],” Beck began. “They’re tough as hell, they share the ball, they do all the little things to win games. The problem is, they have to do all of that at the highest possible level, every night, because they just don’t have the firepower of the top-tier teams. And there’s a hard limit on how many games — or how many playoff series — you can win if you don’t have an elite scorer or two. The Heat don’t. They can’t match Giannis [Antetokounmpo] or [Jayson] Tatum or [Joel] Embiid or [Kevin] Durant, or even Donovan Mitchell. And with the rise of the Cavs (and potentially the Raptors), I don’t see the Heat cracking the top four in the East again with this core. Butler is 33, with a lot of hard miles on him. [Kyle] Lowry is 36. The clock is ticking. That run to the Finals in 2020 was inspiring and memorable. But that was their peak. I just don’t see the Heat finding the elite scorer they need to make another run before these guys are done.”

It’s definitely tough to hear that the Heat might be done being one of the best teams in the conference. Just last season, they claimed the No. 1 seed in the conference and made it all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals before falling to the Celtics in seven games.

Injuries to key players have hampered the team recently, and it has yet to go above .500 during the early parts of the campaign. Many believed that the November home win against the Phoenix Suns would jump-start the season, but Miami is just 3-5 since that game.

Reinforcements are on the way, however. Butler is expected to make his return for the Heat on Friday night against the Celtics. He has missed Miami’s last seven games.

Bam Adebayo has stepped up in a big way in Butler’s absence, averaging 24.3 points, 9.5 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game on 52.8 percent shooting from the field over his last six appearances. He’s taken another leap on offense and constantly being aggressive.

After facing Boston on Friday, Miami was travel to Tennessee to take on the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday. It will then return home for a three-game home stand.

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