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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Indiana Pacers: Identity is important

Led by Tyrese Haliburton, the Pacers have established an identity as a fast-paced, ball-movement team that wears you out with miles.

Indiana’s first goal in every matchup is to set the tone. Once the terms of engagement are established, the Pacers are confident they can play their game better than their opponent.

By speeding up the Knicks in the second round, the Pacers contributed to wearing them out just as much as Tom Thibodeau’s minutes allotment. By the end of the series, New York was operating on fumes.

The Pacers lack in certain areas – rebounding and defense aren’t strengths – but they overcome those weaknesses with their strengths. Rather than be good at everything, the Pacers are great at a few things.

For the Heat, it’s not as important to be good at everything as it is to be elite at something

Miami finished the regular season fifth in defensive rating, 21st in offensive rating, 18th in rebounding percentage, 12th in 3-point shooting, 29th in pace, 10th in turnovers and 16th in forced turnovers. 

Even with the fifth-best defense, that unit wasn’t overwhelming in the same way as Minnesota’s or Orlando’s, and it didn’t necessarily feed the offense either. But when Miami is looking for something to be elite at, this is a good starting point. What can the Heat do to upgrade their defense in a way that gives them one of the best units in the sport and can lead to easier offense?