Just a few months ago, the Miami Heat were the darlings of the NBA, as they made an inspiring Cinderella run to the NBA Finals despite being just the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference.
So far this season, however, they have a dismal 6-11 record and are being forced to confront the real possibility that they may not even make the playoffs this time around.
Former Boston Celtics star Paul Pierce is one of those pundits who thinks the Heat will be watching the 2021 NBA Playoffs from home instead of participating in them.
“As great as the Miami Heat were in the playoffs last year, they will not make the playoffs this year Rach (Rachel Nichols). And we saw a play earlier in the show where [Nikola] Jokic got the ball and threw it full court,” said Pierce while on ESPN’s “The Jump.” “That’s not the Miami Heat team we saw last year – full of grit, full of grind like the Memphis Grizzlies. That team was built on hard work and toughness, and I have not seen that this year, and that’s why I don’t think they’ll make the playoffs.”
Granted, the Heat have been shorthanded for much of the season so far. Jimmy Butler and Tyler Herro, in particular, have missed a good chunk of the schedule.
However, the team’s problems run much deeper than that. Miami is currently only 26th in offensive rating, 22nd in defensive rating and 21st in 3-point shooting percentage.
Last year, the Heat were feared by many teams for their 3-point shooting prowess.
With roughly a quarter of the season in the books, the Heat will need to catch fire ASAP if they are to have any real hope of making the postseason.