Revealing our four most entertaining – and underrated – NBA League Pass teams of the 2019-20 season thus far
The NBA season is an 82-game grind. Storylines come and go. Trades are rumored and some eventually come true. The best way to stay locked into the on-court action is to find a couple – or more – teams to follow besides your No. 1 team.
The NBA season doesn’t truly begin until after Christmas. I hear this a lot, but I’m here to focus on four entertaining teams you should be watching every chance you get. These are my four entertaining – and underrated League Pass teams of 2019-20 thus far.
Now, the Miami Heat are far from some hipster team that no one is aware of, but they are playing elite-level basketball. And that elite-level basketball was far from the expectation for coach Erik Spoelstra’s club coming into the season.
However, a full two months into the season and Miami sits in the third spot in the Eastern Conference with a record of 25-10 with FiveThirtyEight projecting them to finish the season at 51-31. So much for projections, right?
The shift in who we thought this team would be and who this team really is comes down to multiple factors. First, the infusion of Jimmy Butler has gone better than originally anticipated. Second, rookies Tyler Herro and Kendrick Nunn have carved out permanent spots in the rotation with their contributions. And possibly most important of all, the emergence of Bam Adebayo.
Let’s start with Adebayo. The third-year man out of Kentucky is the biggest factor in morphing the Heat from playoff hopefuls to the exceptional ball club we see before us right now.
The 6-foot-9 big man is averaging career highs across the board: 15.6 points, 10.7 rebounds, 4.5 assists, 1.4 steals, and 1.2 blocks per game. He’s the engine for this team’s offense, continuously screening to free up shooters, and pushing the ball in transition after a defensive rebound.
In the same vein, the Heat’s two rookies, Nunn and Herro have been pleasant surprises as well. Nunn, an undrafted rookie from Chicago is second on the team in scoring (15.7) and has taken control of the starting point guard position. Herro is a shooting ace, who was drafted 14th in the 2019 NBA Draft. He’s shooting 39 percent from 3 – which is good for seventh amongst rookies who’ve played in at least 15 games.
Then we have Jimmy Buckets himself. The Heat’s prized offseason addition; they brought in Butler as a part of a four-team trade and signed him for four years, $142 million.
Butler has been an MVP caliber player in his first 30 games with the Heat. The Marquette product is leading the Heat in points (20.3), assists (6.6), and steals (2.0).
I want to highlight his assists numbers. Butler has – for a while now – been one of the league’s best scorers, both in pick-and-roll and in isolation. His most underrated trait: his passing.
Well, now it’s on full display with the Heat, where he runs a lot of sets with the intent to create for his teammates. His scoring and defense were factored into preseason predictions. The one thing that probably wasn’t factored in: his playmaking.
Miami plays an egalitarian-style of basketball which makes for an enjoyable League Pass watching experience.