Miami Heat would consider a top-four seed as a success this season. That means beating out the front runners, such as the Toronto Raptors, Washington Wizards, and Milwaukee Bucks for those spots. The more games quality teams in the Eastern Conference below Boston and Cleveland lose, the better for Miami to sneak into a top-4 playoff spot.
Luckily for Miami, the Celtics and Cavaliers are in a different division, than the Heat. The Raptors, the Wizards, the Bucks, the 76ers, the Pistons, etc. each have to face the Cavs or the Celts at least 4 times during the season. One more loss each against the stronger Cavs and Celts, could add up to a higher seeding after 82 games for the Heat.
Beating out Cleveland and Boston isn't in the cards for Miami this season, so any help they can give the Heat in knocking off other teams could make a difference, however slight it is. The biggest challenge for the Heat remains taking care of business against the other 12 Eastern Conference teams. And to a degree winning as many games as possible versus teams in the stronger Western Conference.
This summer Gordon Hayward choose to join the Celtics, who were without Kyrie Irving at the time. Since Irving made it clear he wants to be the alpha player on “his” team, Hayward may not be pleased going from his alpha status on the Utah Jazz team, to play second fiddle in Boston.
Because Gordon didn’t sign up for that role in Boston, the Irving trade may not go down smoothly in the Boston locker room. The NBA’s players regard for the stability of Pat Riley has grown with the Pacers-Lakers tampering problem and now the possible ego clashes in Bean Town due to the dramatic trades, with many popular players booted out of town. The lure of Heat Culture continues to grow throughout the league.
With the Kyrie distraction behind, Miami can focus on proving the 30-11 run wasn't a fluke. In less than two months Heat fans will be enjoying regular season games in American Airlines Arena, hopefully with a fast start this year.