On Thursday, the Miami Heat will begin their 2021-22 NBA season when they host the NBA champion, Milwaukee Bucks. After an exciting and promising preseason, the Heat seemed poised to make some noise in the Eastern Conference.
And so without sounding too much like a homer, it’s time to make some bold predictions for the Heat heading into the season. So, bookmark this and come back to remember that “I told ya so” or forget about if I’m really wrong (that’s happened once or twice).
And after you read it, go ahead and add into the COMMENTS some of your bold predictions for the season, but make sure you also tell us why.
Here we go...
BOLD PREDICTION #1 — Tyler Herro will win 6th Man of the Year Award
Herro had such a great preseason! Last year, Herro averaged over 30 minutes per game and 15.1 PPG. That’s close enough to warrant a conversation about him winning the award. Last season, Jordan Clarkson won the award averaging 18.4 PPG off the bench. Typically the award goes to the player averaging the most points off the bench.
Herro could be right there. If he makes the jump that we all think he can make, Herro could be in that range of averaging 18-19 PPG. In fact, some people have even suggested that Herro could be this team’s leading scorer — I think that is unlikely off the bench, especially knowing that we expect Bam Adebayo to take more shots and Kyle Lowry on board. But, it’s not impossible.
Derrick Rose and Joe Ingles were the other two finalists for the award last season. I think that if the Heat gives Herro the type of keys off the bench that allows him to have a green light, which seems to be the case, Herro could be the one earning the award this season.
And after he wins the award this year, we will be talking about how the Heat can move him into the starting lineup next season to maximize his talent.
BOLD PREDICTION #2 — Victor Oladipo will return and make a huge difference
Call me crazy, but I do think that Oladipo will take his time coming back, waiting until January before he is fully right, as there is nothing to gain by rushing back. But I do think that even though Vic won’t be coming back and averaging 20 points a night like he did in Indy and Houston, I do believe he will make a huge difference.
That huge difference can be 12 points a night, but his minutes could be replacing Max Strus in the rotation. We all saw the difference he made alongside of Jimmy and Bam from a defensive standpoint and that’s what this is about. Because a closing lineup of Lowry-Oladipo-Butler-Tucker-Adebayo is going to be a nightmare to score on. The switching capabilities and flexibility they will have will be tremendous.
Oladipo won’t be relied on to create, but rather to cut, slash and defend — that we believe he will still be capable of. Many don’t think that Oladipo will return to anything that is significant. I believe his return will be something that pushes the Heat to challengers against Brooklyn and Milwaukee in the East.
BOLD PREDICTION #3 — Bam Adebayo makes an All-NBA Team
This probably is the boldest prediction because it’s going to be really difficult to accomplish. With Adebayo fully playing center, he needs to be one of the top 3 players at that position. Last season, he finished 4th in center voting...a very distant fourth place.
Nikola Jokic, Joel Embiid, and Rudy Gobert finished comfortably ahead of him. I think this is the season Adebayo can make his way into this elite honor. Jokic and Embiid were MVP candidates and Gobert was a DPOY in three of the last four seasons including last year.
Do you see why this is a bold prediction?
Bam’s going to move his scoring to 20 PPG and get double-digit rebounds and also have around 5 assists per game — that won’t impress Jokic much, but with those stats coupled with his defensive ability — I think he can make it as a third-team All-NBA center. Bumping Gobert won’t be easy, but Bam is going to have the team to showcase his talent and I think he can do it.
Each season he has gotten better and people are taking notice of his ability even more. Maybe that can get rewarded in the voting as well.
Tell us your bold predictions!