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ESPN Future Power Rankings forecasts the current Heat team at #18 over next 3 seasons

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Kevin Pelton and Bobby Marks gave their unvarnished opinion of all NBA teams for next three seasons and Miami had a middle-of-the-pack ranking.

NBA: Milwaukee Bucks at Miami Heat Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Can the Miami Heat prove Kevin Pelton and Bobby Marks prediction of the Miami Heat as a lottery team, on average, over the next three seasons wrong?

In their NBA Future Power Rankings, they have the Heat pegged at #18, which is lottery territory.

The Heat organization finds itself in the tricky spot of trying to improve a team that’s good enough to make the playoffs but not likely to contend. Miami must do that with limited cap flexibility after re-signing several free agents last summer. The Heat already project near the 2018-19 luxury tax, and if Goran Dragic and Hassan Whiteside pick up 2019-20 player options, it won’t get appreciable cap relief until summer of 2020.

Their grades in the different categories are,

  • Players - 19th
  • Management - 7th
  • Money - 20th
  • Market - 4th
  • Draft - 26th

With 16 teams making the playoffs, and their 19th ranking for the players, they see the today’s roster, on the whole, as lottery-grade material.

Heat fans believe otherwise, so it’s up to current guys to prove the writers wrong, and make Miami a serious contender in the next three seasons.

Next season the Heat’s chase for the crown lies on the shoulders of their top earners:

  1. Hassan Whiteside $24M
  2. Tyler Johnson $19M
  3. Goran Dragic $18M

Miami expected some players to have breakout seasons, much like Victor Oladipo and Giannis Antetokounmpo did for their teams, but now that hope lies in outperforming expectations in the playoffs.

If not, then management might realign the personnel for a more promising cast of characters to take the stage in the next three seasons.

In a zero-sum game where for every winner there must be a loser, for every battle the Heat engage in, the other side needs to leave vanquished for Miami to survive past an early exit in the playoffs.