2020 has been a year unlike any in modern history. That statement rings true in reference to the world of basketball as well.
The idea of “the bubble” seemed preposterous when the players made their way to Disney’s Wide World of Sports in Orlando on July 7th, but ultimately the proposition has been wildly successful. There have been zero positive COVID-19 tests in two months, with only four teams left before a champion is crowned.
The Cinderella of the ball, if you will, has been the young Miami Heat. Lead by free agent signee Jimmy Butler, the Heat have punked Indiana and number one seed Milwaukee on their way to a 2-1 series lead over Boston in the Eastern Conference Finals.
I choose to write this now because I want to remember these guys just as they are in this moment.
20 year old Tyler Herro has meshed with this squad unimaginably well, and if the 2019 Draft had a redo, I have a feeling Mr. Herro doesn’t slide to the 13th pick. Homeboy is a bucket with a handle, size, and bounce. Not to mention coming from a Calipari system at Kentucky that empowers their players not to shy away from good looks.
Bam Adebayo is coming off his first All-Star selection and is the glue that holds this whole deal together. A walking double-double, Bam saved game one against the Celtics with a historic block of Jayson Tatum at the rim with no time remaining. Nicknamed after Bamm-Bamm Rubble from the Flintstones, his playstyle is pretty much exactly what you’d imagine.
Duncan Robinson looks like a guy one would hoop with at the local Y, until you take a closer look. This guy has a hairpin trigger for a release and good length to switch everything but the center on the floor. I expect this guy to lead the NBA in three point percentage in a season before his career is done. He’s that good.
Jimmy Butler brings the attitude that a young, impressionable, team like Miami absolutely has to have. Think Johnny Lawrence from Cobra Kai standing in front of a group of kids, preparing to teach them Karate with Guns & Roses bumpin’. That is Jimmy Butler in the Miami Heat locker room.
The edge these guys play with, lead by NBA champion head coach Erik Spoelstra, is intoxicating. There’s no arguing calls with the stripes, only with the opposing team, met by straight aggression from the tip to final buzzer.
Oh, not to mention, the culture is anchored by GM, and also hall of fame coach, Pat Riley. Veteran presences from Goran Dragic, Andre Igoudala, and Jae Crowder solidify this team as solid. It is a strange concoction, but when the Heat are firing on all cylinders, it is a site for sore eyes in a ISO riddled game, that’s filled with missed threes.
I don’t know if Miami can finish Boston off and advance to the Finals, and I really don’t know if Miami has the talent to challenge LeBron James & Anthony Davis if they get there. But, what I do know is, in the words of the great Jim Carrey from Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, “I can’t see anything I don’t like about.”