As the clock counts down to the NBA’s Trade Deadline on Feb. 6 at 3 p.m. ET., let’s break down each roster of the Eastern Conference’s top contenders. Check out the breakdown of the Raptors.
After going 39-42 last year and missing the playoffs, the Miami Heat have been among the most improved teams in the NBA. The arrival of Jimmy Butler has brought energy to a team that has been dominant at home. The question is whether the overachieving efforts of the Heat in the regular season can translate into the postseason.
Strengths: (1) The Heat are among the leaders in three-point field goal percentage. (2) Former starting point guard Goran Dragic has given the Heat a major spark off the bench and as a unit, the Heat reserves have been effective. (3) Bam Adebayo has taken a major leap on both ends of the court.
Weaknesses: (1) The Heat are a slightly below-average rebounding team. (2) Interior defense is thin if Adebayo gets into foul trouble. (3) Butler is a below-average three-point shooter and would be better served not taking as many from beyond the arc.
How they match up with the Sixers: Despite having trouble dealing with the Sixers size, the Heat match up well. Miami won two of the first three against the Sixers, including one game in Philadelphia and their outside shooting spread out the floor. Miami also played an effective zone defense, something the Sixers should see in the postseason.
Biggest need at the deadline: Health from Justise Winslow. When healthy, he is among the team’s top defenders.
Couldn’t hurt acquiring: A stretch four, who can hit threes and help the team with interior defense.
Players who could help at the deadline:
LaMarcus Aldridge, forward, San Antonio. His name has been linked to the Heat, but it would be extremely difficult to acquire him by the deadline. He is signed for one more season beyond this year, but his ability to stretch the floor and help the Heat defensively on the interior, is the best type of player the Heat could use.
Andre Iguodala, forward, Memphis. Unlike Aldridge, it would be a shock if Iguodala isn’t dealt. He hasn’t played all season because Memphis acquired him with the idea of dealing him (although the Grizzlies are better than expected and he could have helped them even more). Iguodala has Butler-type of intensity on defense, something that will be needed even for a Heat team that is fairly well locked in on D.
Andre Drummond, center, Detroit. With Drummond expected to decline a player option for next year, acquiring him would be a rental and still probably a steep price. It likely won’t happen, but he would provide an interior defender the Heat could use and he’s also one of the best rebounders in the NBA.
Robert Covington, forward, Minnesota. Covington is a strong defender and can hit an outside shot, but he didn’t perform well in his one playoff season with the Sixers in 2018. He is also owed more than $25 million the next two seasons, so acquiring him would be diffiuclt.