Heat 2019-20 Season Win Total: What to Expect From Jimmy Butler & Co.
Photo credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Jimmy Butler
- Prior to the 2019-20 NBA season, Matt Moore (@HPBasketball) analyzes each team's win total odds.
- Below, Matt provides a case for the over and under + gives his confidence rating for the Miami Heat's win total this year.
All odds as of Friday. Check out PointsBet, where Action Network users get an exclusive 200% deposit match (deposit $50, bet with $150).
Miami Heat Win Total
The Case for the Over (42.5, DraftKings)
Great coaching, capable NBA players, the weakest division and a superstar in Jimmy Butler.
The idea is that for a team that’s gone over three of the past four years, adding Butler and a newfound sense of identity around him, coupled with getting to play the Hawks and Hornets eight times alongside an East schedule — that’s a recipe for a team to finish solidly above .500.
There are some, including ESPN’s Zach Lowe, who have put them in discussion for the 3-seed even.
The Heat bring an array of skills to the table. They have passing and range at the 5 with Kelly Olynyk, athleticism and finishing with Bam Adebayo, veteran offensive playmaking with Goran Dragic, Butler’s all-around brilliance, perimeter takeover skills from Dion Waiters and cult hero Tyler Herro.
Justise Winslow’s development as a point guard creates the possibility of super-big lineups with a lot of upside. The Winslow-Richardson-Waiters-Olynyk-Bam lineups crushed last season (123 Offensive Rating, +14 Net); if you take that formula and insert Butler for Richardson, they should be supernova, the theory goes. They’re deep with interchangeable parts. The Heat don’t lack for any particular skill.
They’re competent, they’re experienced, they have a guy to take over games and the bar is effectively “better than .500.”
The Case for the Under (43.5, PointsBet)
I have so many questions. So, so many.
OK, so the Winslow-at-point thing had a lot of really promising signs. I went back and watched every possession with him at point this summer, and it’s obvious why it works: Winslow’s size created problems for defenders, and oftentimes teams were freaked out by that approach and didn’t have a plan to counter. That likely changes this year.
Winslow is a willing and capable floor-setter and passer, but much of what he did was very rote mechanics. He ran the sets and executed what was called for, but there was very little in the way of improvisation. Butler mitigates that, for sure, but there’s also a decent chance that with a little more film study applied that teams will be better prepared to counter what made those lineups go.
Then there’s Butler. Teams with Butler playing 35 minutes per game or more (including last year’s Wolves) have hit the under five out of the last six seasons. There’s a lot of noise in there, from the Bulls’ roster management and coaching to the Sixers’ improvement after adding Butler last year. It’s just that that number is worth at least considering.
Butler just turned 30. Two executives with prospective interest (who were unlikely to sign him) noted research their teams had done on former Tom Thibodeau-coached players after 30. The results, given the insane workloads earlier in their careers, were not good. There’s real reason for pause.
The Heat have a diversity of skills, but that also entails a diversity of weaknesses. They’re not great shooters, finishing 21st in eFG% last season, and they were 26th in turnover percentage. It’s also tough to find exactly what they’re specifically great at. Butler is an example of that issue.
He’s a great defender, a great individual scorer, a great shooter and a really underrated, pretty-great passer. He’s also not elite at any of those skills. He’s not the defender Paul George is (despite his reputation), not the creator LeBron is, not the shooter Klay Thompson is.
He’s exceptionally versatile, but he’s somehow neither a top-level creator nor elite as the tip of the spear. He’s just really great at a lot of things.
The Heat roster is also collectively weird. Adebayo is a central part of their formula, but he’s not a guy you throw the ball to and say, “go get a bucket,” nor is he a top-level shot-blocker. Olynyk is hugely important, as any plus-minus analysis shows, but you can’t really identify what makes that the case. Winslow shot 37.5% from deep last season, which is great. You have to wonder if it’s sustainable, though.
The Heat also have the ninth-toughest opening schedule. If things are rough to start the year, how is Butler going to respond? He’s not exactly a reliable locker room guy.
- The pick: Under 43.5
- Confidence: 1 out of 10
I’m on the lower side on the Heat. Much of it is based on my skepticism towards Butler. If you regard Butler as a 1st-team All-NBA level guy, you should probably side towards the over. This number feels very sharp to me: At 44.5 I like the over, as I think they’ll likely finish with a ceiling of 44 and a floor of 40. At 42.5, it enters stay-away range.
Don’t overlook the possibility of in-season changes. They tried to move Goran Dragic over the summer already, and there’s a sense around the league that Pat Riley is at least within range of talking about retirement. That might spark major changes. Butler is really the X-factor here, and your evaluation of him should fuel your bet. For me, it’s an under.