4 Lessons the Miami Heat can learn from the final NBA playoff teams

Minnesota Timberwolves v Philadelphia 76ers
Minnesota Timberwolves v Philadelphia 76ers / Tim Nwachukwu/GettyImages
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The Miami Heat may have had a gap year but the NBA never stops evolving. As the Heat prepare for a pivotal offseason, it’s important that they not only reflect on what went wrong this past season but also look at what is working for the league’s most successful teams.

Here’s what the Heat can learn from the remaining four teams in the playoffs: the Minnesota Timberwolves, Dallas Mavericks, Boston Celtics and Indiana Pacers.

Timberwolves: Size matters

Two seasons ago, the Timberwolves looked at where the NBA was trending and made the controversial decision to trade for Rudy Gobert. The deal was widely panned and hitched Gobert with Karl-Anthony Towns. The Timberwolves doubled down by re-signing Naz Reid.

But team president Tim Connely knew that, to make it out of the West, the Timberwolves would have to get through Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets. He was right, and a year later the Wolves beat the Nuggets in seven games to advance to the conference finals.

It’s easy to get hung up on Minnesota’s frontcourt size, but they also have size at every position. Anthony Edwards is built like a tank and has a 6-foot-9 wingspan. Jaden McDaniels, the team’s starting small forward, is 6-foot-9 with a 7-foot wingspan. Their three primary bench players are 6-foot-5 Nickeil Alexander-Walker, 6-foot-9 Reid and 6-foot-9 Kyle Anderson.

The Heat, meanwhile, are positionally small. Bam Adebayo is undersized at center, Nikola Jovic, though 6-foot-11, is light in the caboose. Terry Rozier and Tyler Herro is a small backcourt and even Jimmy Butler is only an average size for his position.

This goes beyond moving Adebayo to power forward – which may or may not be feasible if the Heat can’t add the proper shooting. But if Bam is going to be undersized at center, it means the Heat need to be larger at the other positions.