In a league that boasts the presence of the Warriors, Cavs, and Spurs, somehow the Miami Heat are the hottest team in the NBA. Erik Spoelstra’s team has rattled off eight consecutive victories since the middle of January and, hilariously, Heat guard Dion Waiters was just named Eastern Conference Player of the Week.
How did we get here? Only two weeks ago, I wrote, “Are the Heat bad? Yes, yes they are” and I meant it. Sure, Miami was only 12-30 at that point and, even after this latest binge of victories, the Heat hold just a 19-30 record. In the same breath, Hassan Whiteside and company hold a -2.2 net rating that is, at worst, respectable and their record hasn’t been overly reflective of their actual level of play throughout the campaign.
Eight consecutive wins don’t magically make Miami “good,” and that also has to be said. This latest run from Waiters (24.2 points, 5.3 assists, 4.5 rebounds, 49.5 percent shooting, 51.3 percent from deep over the last six), is wholly unsustainable and the Heat could be back in the tanking conversation in a hurry by bunching together a few losses. Today there’s plenty of room for a tip of the cap in the direction of Spoelstra and his team, simply because no one would have predicted anything approaching an eight-game winning streak for Miami at any point during the season.
Can the Heat keep it up a bit longer? How do they rate in terms of the rest of the NBA’s 30 clubs? That and more in this week’s edition of our NBA Power Rankings.
Let’s get it going.