Ranking 4 potential Heat Play-In opponents by threat level

Taking a look at which Play-In teams would be the smallest and biggest threats to the Miami Heat.

Indiana Pacers v Miami Heat
Indiana Pacers v Miami Heat / Megan Briggs/GettyImages
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More threatening: Philadelphia 76ers

Joel Embiid’s injury has thrust a once-promising 76ers season into a tailspin. What once looked like a team poised for a top-four seed and deep playoff run is at risk of slipping into the play-in tournament.

But for Sixers fans, there’s a promising update on the Embiid front. It appears he is targeting a return in the first or second week of April, according to reports. Or, just in time for the play-in tournament.

Heat vs 76ers, Jimmy Butler vs Joel Embiid, Erik Spoelstra vs Nick Nurse… It’s not quite the potential Lakers vs. Warriors play-in matchup out West, but it’s juicy.

The Heat are 2-1 against the 76ers this season, including Monday’s short-handed loss without Butler, Herro, Nikola Jovic or Kevin Love. Both of Miami’s wins came against the Sixers without Embiid. So we haven’t seen these teams play each other at full strength.

Perhaps the first time could be with the highest stakes on the line. A loss by either team would be a disappointment considering the expectations they had to begin the season. 

The only reason the 76ers aren’t higher in this ranking is because of the uncertainty around Embiid’s health. If Embiid returns to anything close to the MVP-caliber player he was before his knee injury, the 76ers would have by far the best player on the floor, and the Heat would be in a lot of trouble.