So the Lakers are the NBA Champs of 2020 but the Miami Heat forcefully stole a lot of the narrative with their underdog story to the Finals and in the Finals.
This report card is for the Miami Heat. A team that no one picked to make it this far, though my homie, TEK, said to watch out for them (On our first NBA Hoopla episode), I am sure this post season run clearly surprised him as well.
Decimated by injuries to key personnel, Goran Dragic, and Ban Adebayo, not to mention Jimmy Butler playing valiantly on who-knows-how-bad a twisted ankle. This series was close! 4-2 in the end but legitimately Game 4 could have gone either way! Let's put the Miami Heat under the microscope.
Note : Clearly we should have graded all teams after the Conference Finals, including the winners. Keep in mind these grades only reflect the NBA Finals series of 2020, Heat versus the Lakers. To rectify this oversight some, we will also provide an additional grade for the previous round.
See previous report cards for the Denver Nuggets and Boston Celtics.
Miami Heat Report Card. NBA Finals 2020
Jimmy Butler. A
This is the highest mark I have given to any player that ended the season with a loss for those that don't know. Better than grades given to the likes of Jamal Murray, Nikola Jokic, and Jason Tatum.
Jimmy Buckets, Jimmy Buckets what can we say? Homie left everything on the floor and then some. For me, a guy who likes a player competitive as F, and unselfish with the rock, the only knock I had for Jimmy was I felt he needed to look for his shot more!
The playoffs are hush-hush to injury severity and I have suspicions that dude's ankle wasn't right at all. Big homie kept this ship from going off the rails quick. Remember Game 1 was a blow out. Sweep was on the minds, no Goran or Bam, down 2-0. Homie single-handly drove this youngster heavy team to wins with his lead by example way. 2 monster triple-doubles? C'mon if you didn't watch some of this you really missed out. Homie played FULL games G. Gassed by Game 6 no doubt, when the Lakers took it to the next level. For ya'll that didn't know now you know Jimmy Butler. I was diggin' the style since the Bulls days, and don't forget who the Sixers handed the ball to last year to try and beat the Raptors. That was Jimmy B my friends.
Oh and that Celtics series: A. Dude did his above mentioned thing but had a lot more help.
Goran Dragic. Injured
I am gonna refrain from grading Goran here cuz really he only had one game this series. Props for getting back on the court for a morale boost in Game 6 but the Lakers were gangbusters, and a less than 100% anyone wasn't getting it done. My big question is, does homie comeback next year? La familia in Miami right? My heart hopes so but money and the vision for his role on this team will play a part. Loved this guy from his All-Star runs in Phoenix. Showed that grit already, glad he had a chance to showcase the whole bag in the Bubble. Homie has got lots left in the tank. Kendrick Nunn on the come-up.
Celtics series: A+. Celtics couldn't stop his scoring or his pick and roll with Bam. Clearly missed in the Finals.
Eric Spoelstra. B+
Yo just managing the clock for Jimmy I will give you this Grade. Creatively chose the right blend of players to 2 wins and a competitive series. Might not have had the personnel to make the adjustments needed to the Lakers due to the injuries.
'Spo reinforced his reputation as one of the best coaches in the league with this run, and deservedly so. Could possibly have gotten Robinson and Herro a few more open looks? Pickin' at details and the L cost him a few ticks.
Celtics series: A+. The zone clearly frustrated the Celtics, his wrinkle of putting the forwards at the top is brilliant. The pick and roll with Bam was a slam fest.
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Bam Adebayo. B+
Homie missed 2 games with injury. Clearly not 100% in the rest. Bam was gaining momentum the longer the series went and was one of the few bright spots in Game 6 that offered a counterpoint to the Lakers onslaught. Felt if they played through him more AD mighta fouled out, or be forced to sit. Tough loss for Miami, also faced his toughest matchup here as he was key the plan, 'Slow Down AD'. Got a taste of level up, playing the best big man in the league, and NO, it is not the Joker.
Celtics series: A+. The Block that won Game 1. Pick and roll dunk-a-thon. Game 6 where he went HAM to close it out, I remember homie bringin' it up the court multiple times in the 4th! Marvelled at this guy's play and growth this playoffs. Also, he won the skills competition right? We on board this bandwagon homie. Keep growin' your game!
Duncan Robinson. B
Yo if I be going with my heart I feel this grade is harsh. Dude played Robin to Jimmy's Batman in Game 5 yeah? Shootin' it in the eye of everyone including Lebron? I just can't dismiss the rest of the series though. Homie was not existent with the 3 Ball in games 1 and 2 but that is because the Lakers keyed in on him. That was Respect. Caldwell-Pope was on him like the proverbial fly to shit as were the rest of the shifty guards in the Lakers rotation. Clearly Vogel was not goin' to let homie get started and it worked.
Game 5 though yeah! Also for the second series in a row homie showed his growing capability on the defensive end. Still lots of work to do there but he ain't no chump at all. Ask the Celtics. Homie stood up! Takin' charges from LeBron? Word. These rooks in Miami somethin' to watch.
Celtics series: A-. 3 point shooting was hurtful all series. Showed he was not the defensive liability the Celtics thought.
Tyler Herro. B-
Didn't really see who was guarding homie as often as I noticed Pope on Robinson but I was expecting more, especially after the Celtics series. The Lakers had his number this time. Maybe Danny Green was doin' a lot more than missing big time shots? With 2 key players down, the Heat needed more from the rook everyone was talking about since the ECF. A gangbusters game coulda... Oh right, that crazy tear drop over Davis. For the intermittent sauce, I'll upgrade you over a C+
Celtics series: A-. Busted them up for a W. Consistent scoring threat to the C's. Stopping the Celtics? The Celtics couldn't stop him!
Jay Crowder. B
Dude did his thing this series which I think is solid. Think this Marquette brotha is a load on D, a gritty player that will mix it up in the trenches. Homie is doin' his job when his name pops on occasion. This series homie was hittin' his 3's. No one is stopping or has stopped Lebron.
Celtics series: B-. Homie couldn't hit his shots.
Kelly Olynyk. B
Pressed into active duty from the injuries. I thought the Canadian long hair acquitted himself capably this series but also showed his trademark deficiencies which clearly led him back to the bench. Not included as 'Spo shortened the rotation to 7, but before the injuries I was not expecting him to see the floor. Defense seems to be the problem. 'Spo clearly didn't like what he saw enough to keep him in even though dude was scoring at a decent clip.
Celtics series: DNP my memory says.
Andre Igoudala. B-
Well there was no stoppin' Bron this time around no matter how many years you have faced him. Looks like age has taken a step from Iggy. To me that's nothing to get too low about. Homeboy has had a great career. I felt homie could have contributed more, defensively, and even offensively. Wasn't homie a capable 3 option when needed for the Warriors all those years? Strangely Casper-like I felt this series.
Celtics series: B. Homie was hittin' 3's, and bein a disrupter as per his later career reputation.
Kendrick Nunn. A reluctant B.
Yo Kendrick what happened? You left your swag outside the Bubble? I'm a say a reluctant B, cuz you had a decent line in the first game they put you in the starting line up but it looked like it was the last thing you wanted to do! Like muscle memory of the playbook was driving you through the series to decent effect. It was strangely humorous to me your body language versus your actual performance. Think you also got tremendous upside but part of you wasn't there...
Celtics series: MIA. I think I saw sightings of dude.
Meyers Leonard. C
Homie I know talking, and overall energy are important to the squad but I feel your are in a dangerous position. I know you well from your Blazers days and your game hasn't improved. Not physical enough, lost on D. Your deficiencies are the same, and the reasons you do not see the court. An opportunity on the NBA's biggest stage was yours with the injury to Bam, and yet you somehow parlayed that into early substitutions and your familiar cheerleading role from the bench.
Dunno homie but put in BIG work this off season and not on that intermittent 3 you got. See if Jimmy wanna spend some drill time with you. Oh and my girl thinks your the hottest dude she's seen in the NBA Bubble, and it's kinda of sad for me to say to her, 'Check it, dude is gonna get run over and will be sitting on the bench in 5 minutes. You'll see.' No hate. Facts.
Celtics series: DNP.
See previous report cards for the Denver Nuggets and Boston Celtics.
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