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What are the best and worst case scenarios for this Heat team in the final stretch?

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The Heat are at a crossroads as they enter the final stretch, so what are the best and worst case scenarios? The HHH team discusses in this roundtable.

NBA: Phoenix Suns at Miami Heat Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Heat are at a crossroads. Tank for a lottery pick, or push hard for the playoffs. We all know the Heat won’t purposely tank. It’s not part of the Heat Culture they’ve established and as long as there is some sort of a light at the end of the tunnel, they’re going to do whatever they can to reach it. But it’s going to be tough baring a complete collapse of the Pistons, Magic or Hornets.

So really, what is the best and worse case scenarios for the Heat in this final stretch. I asked the team and we had a variety of opinions.

Surya Fernandez - HHH Site Manager

Best Case Scenario

Either the Heat go on a huge run and avoid the top two East teams in the playoffs or they lose a bunch of games to go into the lottery with more ping pong balls and get lucky with a top 5 pick. There is no middle ground when it comes to a “best case” scenario for a team that has been wildly inconsistent all season long. Boston and Indiana look vulnerable and would still be heavily favored to beat them, but if the Heat are healthy and on a roll it would be an entertaining playoff series. Miami still has plenty of tough games left so they’ll need to play like they did against Golden State for the remainder of the season for that to have a chance of happening. If it’s not happening, “rest” the veterans.

Worst Case Scenario:

Miami continues the “one step forward, two steps back” trend and stays fighting for a last playoff spot hovering around .500. Either they squeak into the postseason and promptly get dispatched in 4 or 5 games by Milwaukee or Toronto, or they get a mid-first round pick because they had few chances of moving up in the draft as one of the “better” lottery teams.

Brandon Di Perno: - HHH Senior Writer

Best Case Scenario:

The Heat are able to hit a stretch like in years past and everything comes together. They start displaying elements of last season’s grittiness, and heart. They stop stinking up the second halves of games, Goran Dragic returns to full health and is able to co-exist with Justise Winslow. They begin playing to their potential and stop dropping key games against sub .500 teams. They enter the playoffs on a run, and ready to make noise. Dwyane Wade gets the send-off he deserves in some round of the playoffs.

Worst Case Scenario:

The Heat don’t change anything. They continue to blow close games and fall deeper into the standings. The season transitions fully into a Wade send-off tour that ends in Brooklyn. We look back at this season as a blown opportunity. The Heat falls into the lottery and maybe luck into a future superstar.

Though the consolation doesn’t seem so bad, it’s going to be more than hard watching this team lose games.

Matt Pineda - HHH Senior Writer

Best Case Scenario

The Heat get completely healthy and are able to put together their brand of basketball, winning while getting some help from others. Realistically, the best case scenario for Miami is grabbing the 6th seed in the East, and ideally matching up with the Indiana Pacers. Although the Pacers are playing well, of the top seeds, they are the most vulnerable to a first round loss.

Worst Case Scenario:

The Heat continue to play mediocre basketball and stay just competitive enough to have the 9th seed, miss the playoffs and get the last pick in the lottery. We’ve been there before and it resulted in Bam Adebayo. If the Heat are going to miss, it’s better to miss big.

Diego Quezada - HHH Senior Writer

Best Case Scenario

The Heat return to their level of play from December -- the breakthrough part of the season for Justise Winslow -- and claw up the rankings into the playoffs. Even in this best-case scenario situation, the Heat would likely fall in the first round, barring a major injury. But at least Dwyane Wade would have a proper send-off with a brief playoff run. Wade had some spectacular performances in the 2010 first-round series against Boston and last year’s series against the Philadelphia 76ers -- two times we wondered whether those would be the last times Wade would play in a Heat uniform.

Worst Case Scenario:

The Heat continue their uneven, dreary play over the last two months and end up in that dreaded ninth spot in the Eastern Conference. Miami would therefore have no playoff experience to gain or a meaningful chance at a high draft pick (even with the lottery reform changes taking effect). With three years of middling finishes, including two of the last three years of finishing with the ninth-best record, Pat Riley sees no easy way to rebuild his team.

Last Word:

So what do you guys think is the best/worst case scenarios for Miami? Do you agree with us? Discuss in the comments below.