Cover Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images


[In the 30 days leading up to the season opener, we'll preview all 30 NBA teams, from Tanking Teams to Lottery Leaders to Warriors Wannabes. Tanking Teams are fighting for the No. 1 pick. Lottery Leaders could make the playoffs, or they could land in the lottery. Warriors Wannabes are title contenders. Then there are the Warriors in a league by themselves. Team 1 in our preseason rankings is the Sacramento Kings. Check back every day for previews of every team in the NBA followed by our complete preseason rankings.]


Key Losses: Luke Babbit and Jordan Mickey. The Miami Heat did an excellent job retaining talent this season. Babbitt played in just 13 games during the 2017-18 season, averaging just under three points. Mickey looked like a solid rim-protector coming out of college but could barely crack the roster. 


Key Returns: Wayne Ellington, Dwyane Wade, and Derrick Jones Jr. The Heat could've had a bad offseason if it wasn't for retaining these players. Jones has promise as a former two-way player, Ellington has become a go-to scorer from behind the arc, and Wade is the face of this franchise. As he showed in the playoffs, he can still turn it on when he needs to. As ridiculous as it sounds, he could even get some Sixth Man of the Year votes. 

Key Additions: None...yet. 


X-Factor: Jimmy Butler. It may seem ridiculous since he isn't on the current roster, but he could be the player who decides this team's season. Butler is a dominant player on both ends and would pair perfectly with the system in Miami. As you could tell from Minnesota snapping their playoff drought last season, Butler is the kind of player who can propel a team from a Lottery Leader to a near 50-win team. In the Eastern Conference, adding a player like Butler would put the Heat in contention for at least the No. 4 seed. Putting him in the lineup pushes Wade to the bench, giving them one of the best bench units in basketball with players like Justice Winslow, Tyler Johnson, Kelly Olynk and Bam Adebayo.

​​Betting Odds: The Heat's over/under team wins total for the year is currently 41.5, and their odds to win the NBA Championship are sitting at +10000. If they acquire Butler, expect both of those to change. 


Get $20 with your first deposit on FanDuel. Join Now.