Was Miami's Cinderella run to the Finals a sign of things to come, or was it merely the result of luck amid an unusual season?
No matter your opinions on the bunch, or where you believe they rank next to other Eastern elites this upcoming season, folks are skeptical about what they saw in Orlando a few months ago.
According to ESPN's Zach Lowe, many around the association consider the Heat's run nothing more than a fluke.
“There are skeptics around the league who consider Miami’s run to the Finals something of a fluke — the product of the bubble’s strangeness,” Lowe wrote. “There is no question Miami’s militaristic culture steeled the Heat for the isolation and all-basketball, all-the-time environment of the bubble. That environment took a toll on other teams.”
Basically, not everyone is sold that Miami can replicate the success they had last year. With all the oddities teams and players had to endure in the 2020 postseason, it threw in a lot of curveballs that ultimately impacted performance.
While the Heat deserves monumental credit for taking care of business and making it as far as they did, things won't be as easy this time around. With strengthened challengers like Brooklyn, Boston, and Milwaukee, the competition will be ready for battle and, this time, there may be no "bubble" quarantine to mess with the status quo.
Needless to say, it'll be up to the Heat to prove they really are a team to fear in the East. This season will go a long way in cementing that status but, until then, they'll have to swallow the doubts and skepticism.