Former Miami Heat guard says team won’t reach this season’s NBA Finals but ‘maybe’ 2nd round'
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Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

Former Miami Heat guard Avery Bradley doesn’t believe that the team will make it back to the NBA Finals in the 2023-24 season.

Instead, Bradley believes that the team will “maybe” make it to the second round of the playoffs. Bradley also doesn’t think that Miami will be able to knock off the Milwaukee Bucks now that the team has seven-time All-Star guard Damian Lillard.

“I don’t,” Bradley told Betway Insider when asked if he thinks the Heat could win the title this season. “I feel like they will maybe get to the second round of the playoffs. I don’t want to just say no, because Erik Spoelstra is such a good coach and when it comes to playoff basketball, he’s just able to really get the guys to lock in, and his game plan is going to be on point. He’s going to prepare the players and put them in position to be successful. But I just feel like the Bucks with Damian Lillard – it’s hard to beat those guys. They’ve been able to beat Milwaukee in the past, but not this year. Not with Dame, it’s just not happening.”

Bradley did not have a long tenure in Miami, appearing in just 10 games for the team in the 2020-21 season. He ended up finishing that season with the Houston Rockets after he was traded by the Heat in the deal that brought Victor Oladipo to Miami.

Even though the Heat made the NBA Finals in the 2022-23 season as the No. 8 seed in the East, Bradley isn’t sold on the team contending this season.

The Heat did lose a couple of key pieces from last season’s team, but they are hoping their current group can show enough growth to help close the gap.

Gabe Vincent (who signed with the Los Angeles Lakers in free agency) and Max Strus (who landed with the Cleveland Cavaliers in a sign-and-trade deal) both played big roles for Miami last season, so it’s possible that Bradley has concerns about those losses.

The Heat have gotten off to a bit of a slow start this season, going 2-4 through their first six games. They did pick up a win over the Washington Wizards on Friday night to take a step in the right direction.

While Bradley may be counting Miami out, the team has been extremely successful since Jimmy Butler joined the franchise ahead of the 2019-20 season.

With Butler on the roster, the Heat have gone to the NBA Finals twice and Eastern Conference Finals three times in just four seasons.

The team will look to prove Bradley wrong with another deep playoff run this season.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.