Miami Heat Roundtable: Preferred Round 1 NBA Playoff Opponent

Trae Young #11 of the Atlanta Hawks dribbles against Jimmy Butler #22 of the Miami Heat(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Trae Young #11 of the Atlanta Hawks dribbles against Jimmy Butler #22 of the Miami Heat(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /
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Miami Heat
Tyler Herro #14 of the Miami Heat is defended by Isaiah Thomas #4 of the Charlotte Hornets(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

With the Miami Heat awaiting their fates, as far as who they will play in the opening round of the playoffs, there could be a ton of questions asked. After avoiding Brooklyn early and the harsher side of the Eastern Conference bracket, you have to wonder how Miami matches up with the three teams left in the mix for eight.

While any of the teams left present their own challenges, there has to be one that gives the Miami Heat and fans alike more calm than others. That’s the purpose today.

In the newest Miami Heat roundtable, we tackle the question. Who is the preferred first-round opponent?

Isiah’s Take (@IsiahCurryNBA) – Charlotte Hornets

Let’s clear this up, first. Out of the Heat’s three possible first-round opponents, it’s without question that the Cavaliers should be the least desirable.

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Miami has struggled in the past with Cleveland’s defense and length but the Cavaliers haven’t proven to be a reliable half-court offense, with the exception of Darius Garland. Another concern for Miami would be the likelihood that Jarrett Allen returns if the Cavaliers win the Play-In Game for the 8th seed after failing to upset Brooklyn on Tuesday.

Despite their situation with Cleveland, the Miami Heat hold a winning regular-season record against both the Hornets and Hawks. All year long, they’ve utilized their abilities to mismatch-hunt as Charlotte and Atlanta each finished at the bottom 10 in Defensive Rating.

As explosive of an offensive dynamo as Trae Young is for Atlanta or LaMelo Ball is for Charlotte, Miami has several weapons, primarily with Jimmy Butler, that can draw the switch and exploit that mismatch.

You can flip a coin between Charlotte and Atlanta, as the Hawks haven’t nearly met the high standards that were set last season. Nonetheless, if Miami managed to go unblemished and defeat Charlotte, 4-0, in their season series, it’s clear that they could certainly do it all over again in the opening round.