Andre Iguodala makes the Miami Heat legit contenders in the East

NBA Golden State Warriors Andre Iguodala (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
NBA Golden State Warriors Andre Iguodala (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images) /

With the addition of Andre Iguodala at the NBA Trade Deadline, the Miami Heat should be considered legitimate contenders in the East

The Miami Heat have been the surprise team of the East this year. Coming into the year, most believed that Jimmy Butler would be enough to get this team to the playoffs, but that a second-round appearance was most likely not possible.

However, the Heat now sit at the four seed in the Eastern Conference standings, just two and a half games out of the second spot. Still, people seemed to believe that the Heat weren’t serious contenders, but instead a solid team that gave consistent effort throughout the regular season.

No one has truly believed throughout the course of this season that the Heat could really go up against the likes of Milwaukee, Philly, or even Boston. Then, the Heat managed to land former NBA Finals MVP Andre Iguodala in a trade with the Memphis Grizzlies.

More from Sir Charles In Charge

Andre Iguodala has had an interesting year. Just one year removed from losing in the Finals to Toronto as a member of the Golden State Warriors, Iguodala found himself on a young Grizzlies team. It was clear that at this point in his career, Iguodala did not want to play for a young and upcoming team.

Iguodala chose to sit out this season and basically wait to be traded. This worked out well for him in the end, as he now sits a member of one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference. And don’t forget, the Heat also managed to pick up Jae Crowder in this trade as well.

Crowder is a defensive-minded player, who has experience deep into the playoffs. A playoff experienced core of Iguodala, Crowder, and Butler surrounded by young talent in Adebayo, Herro, and Nunn is a scary sight for other Eastern Conference opponents.

The Eastern Conference is strange this season. Not that the conference isn’t strange every season, but this year is different because the conference is not what we expected. The Bucks own the East right now, yet Giannis Antetokounmpo has shown in the past that he can be game-planned against when the playoffs roll around.

Giannis has developed more of a 3-point shot this season that should make him much more deadly when the playoffs come around. Who is left to challenge the Bucks in the East? Well, most thought that the 76ers would be the biggest threat to the Bucks this season, but that has just not turned out to be the case.

Philly is missing the 3-point shooting of JJ Redick this season, and they are missing the clutch factor that Jimmy Butler brought down the stretch last year. Simmons and Embiid have not yet proven that they work together on a title contender, so it is hard to put them as the top competitor to the Bucks in the East.

The reigning champion Raptors have also been quite the surprise this year, doing much better than expected with the loss of Kawhi Leonard. We can expect that the Raptors will be a solid playoff team with the amount of talent and experience that they return. The one downfall of the Raptors is they lack a person that can take over a game.

Pascal Siakam and Kyle Lowry are both great players, but neither has proven to be someone that can go back and forth with the great players of the NBA. The Indiana Pacers are similar in this aspect. They have a good team with great chemistry, but they just lack that superstar talent that can take them to the next level. The Boston Celtics have this type of player in Kemba Walker, but they failed to address very important needs at the trade deadline. Picking up a Steven Adams or Clint Capella could have really put the Celtics into the second spot in the East.

That leaves the Miami Heat. This is the one team in the East that addresses all the needs in order to be a title contender. They have great experience in Jae Crowder, Jimmy Butler, Goran Dragic, and Andre Iguodala. They have excellent perimeter shooting, terrific defense, and team chemistry that is obvious any time you watch them play.

Andre Iguodala and Jae Crowder really add to the defense that this team will have. Butler, Crowder, and Iguodala are all elite defenders that will be able to stop some of the top talents in the league come playoff time. Bam Adebayo‘s size and presence may be enough to slow down Giannis slightly if they should meet in the playoffs. Not that Giannis can ever be stopped, but if he can be slowed down enough to stay in the game, Jimmy Butler is good enough to close it. Butler is one of the more underrated closers in the league and was a big reason the 76ers almost took down the soon to be Finals champions in seven games last playoffs.

NBA: 5 biggest losers after the trade deadline. dark. Next

Personally, I still believe that the Bucks will make it out of the East, but sometimes the simplest choice isn’t the correct choice. There are only a handful of teams in the East that are good enough to even compete with the Bucks this season. Now, with Andre Iguodala and Jae Crowder added to an already overachieving Miami Heat, they may be the favorites to contend with the Bucks this May.