With the 2021-22 NBA season finally arriving, it’s particularly insightful to gauge how NBA and Miami Heat fans are feeling now that the games actually count.
With the latest round of SB Nation NBA Reacts results, it’s clear that even though the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks returned this season with their roster largely intact and other playoff teams like the Miami Heat brought in reinforcements this offseason, it’s still the Brooklyn Nets who are the team to beat in the Eastern Conference.
In the full results, the Miami Heat actually came in third with 5% of the votes — a significant drop after the Bucks with 34%. But hey, (given the huge sample size of one game) it’s becoming clear that the Heat present a bigger threat in the East than perhaps some fans and pundits anticipated.
Over in the Western Conference, the sheer star power of LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony may be the reason why most fans are siding with them to win it over the likes of the Utah Jazz and the Phoenix Suns — who reached the NBA Finals against the Bucks. The Denver Nuggets tied at 11% with the Golden State Warriors, understandable given that fans will want to see how Klay Thompson, who hasn’t played an NBA game since June of 2019, looks when he is finally expected to make his long-anticipated return to the hardwood hopefully by the end of the year.
Fans still haven’t seen No. 1 overall draft pick Cade Cunningham out on the court with the Detroit Pistons yet, he sprained his ankle during training camp and didn’t play in the preseason or in Wednesday’s season opener. Nevertheless, he edged out No. 2 pick Jalen Green of the Houston Rockets with 31% of the votes.
Lastly, in the MVP race fans are liking Luka Doncic of the Dallas Mavericks, giving him the slight edge as the season begins with 23% of the vote over the NBA Finals MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo who finished with 20%. Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler may or may not be included with the players grouped under “other” with 11% of the total votes, but we all heard those MVP chants last night so let’s get them in the mix next time Heat fans!
Remember, to vote in the Reacts surveys and have your voice heard each week, sign up here.