What the Heat can learn from the Boston Celtics championship run

The Heat and Celtics are bitter rivals but Miami could take some pointers from the 2024 champions.
Boston Celtics v Miami Heat
Boston Celtics v Miami Heat / Megan Briggs/GettyImages

You can learn from anyone, even your enemies. The Miami Heat and Boston Celtics have been rivals since the 2010s, but that shouldn't stop the Heat from taking notes from Boston's 2024 championship run.

The Celtics were the best team all year. There wasn't a dominant top-five player on the team carrying the load, but a squad full of versatile players who knew their role. Their front office was patient! The outside noise never crept in. Brad Steven deserves a shout. It takes humility to step down in a coaching role because you realized you weren't the guy. Humbleness pays off.

This was the ultimate brand of team basketball

The NBA is a copycat league. When Steph Curry's dominance started, the three-point shot continued to get taken at a higher clip throughout the league. Passing up good shots for great shots was emphasized after the 2014 "Beautiful Game" San Antonio Spurs. Ten years later, the Celtics upped the ante on that beautiful game style of play.

Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown are great players, but not in that Luka Doncic, Nikola Jokic, Giannis Antetokounmpo tier. Instead of constantly having one superstar take over, they played as a unit. Boston consistently put out lineups with five plus-shooters with Jrue Holiday, Derrick White, Porzingis, and Al Horford on the floor next to the Jays (Tatum and Brown). These guys can all make plays off the bounce, too. The spacing was impeccable and something the Heat and the rest of the will try to replicate.

Instead of depending on Jimmy Butler to keep saving the day, a more egalitarian style of play would be better on the eyes and net more potent offenses. The Heat don't have the personnel like Boston, as it's hard to hit on star wings in back-to-back drafts (Brown in '16, Tatum in '17). Bam Adebayo shot the ball much better last year down the stretch. If he comes into next season like he ended, the Heat will have a spacing five-man. That's step one to the Heat putting out lineups of five players who can dribble, pass and shoot.

Patience is key

The narrative around the Jays was that they needed to break up. For years, that's all you'd hear about Boston. I was in the camp of "get them a point guard first." Marcus Smart was a key clog who assisted Boston in multiple deep runs, but he's never been a dependable floor general.

Instead of overreacting and moving the Jays after some colossal failures, the Celtics' front office stayed the course and bought in Jrue Holiday to help run the offense. Tatum and Brown took massive playmaking strides to take pressure off Holiday as well. Their front office stayed down until the right moves were made that would allow them to come up.

The Heat are in a similar predicament with Tyler Herro. He's always in the trade machine, as he presumably has the most value on the team (Bam is not on the market). You still move Herro if it nets a return that would immediately put Miami in championship contention. Until that deal is on the table, I appreciate the patience the Heat are displaying. We aren't giving away Herro for just anything -- the move has to be right.

Team building is a puzzle that Pat Riley and company could finish.

The right move for Herro would put the Heat in the upper echelon of the East. Snagging Donovan Mitchell, Trae Young, or Lauri Markkanen would make the Heat's offseason stand out.

Either of those pieces fits like a glove in Miami. We need Mitchell's and Young's ability to make plays for themselves and others. Markkanen's floor spacing would be critical next to Bam. Boston just showed us how vital team building is. They were patient and put perfect pieces around their stars.

Derrick White and Jrue Holiday are hellacious on-ball defenders who clean up off the ball, too. They fly around rotating defensively, and you can't leave them on offense. They're a perfect fit with the Jays. Horford and Porzingis stretch the floor and allow Brown and Tatum to get wide-open drives to the cup.

Brad Stevens is the mastermind behind this cohesive team. He's a former coach turned front office member, just like Godfather Pat Riley. Riley is very capable of putting a solid product on the court that gels together. It wasn't all sunshine for the Heat last year, but I believe Riley and Co. will build out the team properly as we move into the Bam Adebayo era.