In the battle to make the playoffs, getting there is half the battle. The rest of it is positioning, and that’s about to become clear to the Miami Heat.
Before this season began, most projections agreed that the Miami Heat would be a fringe playoff team. Maybe a little better, maybe worse, such is the nature of these fringe teams. It wouldn’t have been a big surprise to see them get, say, the seventh seed, nor would it be surprising if they ended up missing the playoffs by a couple of games.
It turns out the Miami Heat are a whole lot better than anybody expected at the beginning of the year. They sit in second place in the Eastern Conference at 27-10, five games behind the mighty Milwaukee Bucks, and 1.5 games ahead of the third-place Boston Celtics.
With such drastic improvements, expectations have risen.
No longer satisfied to just sneak into the playoffs, the Miami Heat need to prioritize their seeding in order to maximize their expectation in the postseason. After all, even the best teams can’t necessarily handle a vicious playoff gauntlet, round after round against top opponents, and the Heat aren’t quite on that threshold yet.
The Heat need to ensure they maintain a death-grip on the second seed they currently possess in order to give themselves a fighting chance to make a deep run in the playoffs. Without it, they may fare well, but it gives them their best chance by far.
We’ll go over the two main reasons for this.