Miami Heat: Team Awards for the 2020 Season
With the remainder of the 2020 NBA season hanging in the balance, I thought I’d take a moment to reflect on the Miami Heat’s phenomenal year. With the possibility that we will not be able to see the Heat’s magical run play out, here are my Miami Heat 2020 team awards.
Team MVP: Jimmy Butler
On June 30th, 2019, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski announced that Miami was finalizing a sign-and-trade with the 76ers for Jimmy Butler. The 30-year-old Butler immediately embraced #HeatCulture and took over as the heart and soul of the Heat. Butler entered a Miami locker room filled with young and unproven players in need of a leader, filling the role to perfection. Posting 20.2 points-per-game along with career-highs in both rebounds and assists, Butler provided the spark that this young Heat core needed. Butler improved the players around him, as the likes Bam Adebayo, Tyler Herro, Duncan Robinson, Kendrick Nunn and Derrick Jones Jr. were guided by Butler’s veteran presence. Without Jimmy Buckets, the Miami Heat would not be the title contenders we saw.
Most Improved: Bam Adebayo
What a season for Bam Adebayo. The third-year center developed from his reserve role behind Hassan Whiteside into one of the league’s premier big-men. Adebayo’s 5.1 assists per game ranks firmly in second among all centers, only trailing the Nuggets’ crafty Nikola Jokic. Bam’s larger role caused his point-per-game average to nearly double along with a rebounds-per-game increase of 3.2. With a combination of elite court-vision and playmaking ability for his size, along with the defensive skill that held league MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo to just thirteen points, Adebayo’s ceiling is sky-high.
Best Rookie: Kendrick Nunn
After going undrafted in 2018 and being waived by the Golden State’s G-League affiliate in 2019, Miami took a chance on 24-year-old Chicago native Kendrick Nunn. Nunn opened the eyes of many in the Heat’s final preseason game where he recorded a whopping forty points against the Rockets’ star-studded backcourt. Nunn carried his hot streak into the regular season, breaking the NBA record for the most points scored by a undrafted player in their first 5 career games. Nunn’s 112 points through his first five games were also the most by any rookie since Kevin Durant’s 2007 rookie season. Nunn finished the year with three of the four Rookie-of-the-Month awards handed out by the NBA along with an exceptional 15.6 points-per-game. If you asked me if I had any doubt that this kid has a bright future ahead of him, I’d tell you that I have “Nunn”.
Biggest Surprise: Duncan Robinson
Duncan Robinson for three! No one could have predicted that the undrafted Michigan product would go on to break the Heat’s team record for 3-pointers made in a season this year, connecting on 243 attempts in just 65 games. Robinson played a huge role in Miami’s magical season, tying the Heat record by making ten three-pointers in one game along with a streak of 50 consecutive games with a made three pointer. His lethal shooting ability has been a driving force in guiding Miami to the league’s highest three-point field goal percentage at 38.3%. Hopefully, should the season return, Robinson’s shooting helps the Heat make a deep playoff run.
Biggest Disappointment: Justise Winslow
In a season filled with success and breakout stars, disappointments were hard to come by for the Miami Heat. However, the man dubbed “Point Justise” by many was one of the players who could fit the bill. Winslow, who has been plagued by injuries since he was selected with the 10th overall pick in the 2015 Draft, suffered through an injury-plagued year where he could not return to action for Miami. After a concussion and back issues caused Winslow to miss all but 11 games, Miami shipped him to Memphis in a three-team deal that landed veterans Andre Iguodala and Jae Crowder. While giving up on Winslow was a tough pill to swallow, Iguodala brings some much needed championship-pedigree to the locker room.
Best Performance: Jimmy Butler
December 3rd @ Toronto: 22 Points, 13 Rebounds, and 12 Assists in an Overtime Victory
When Miami traveled to Toronto in a December battle for the East’s second seed, Jimmy Butler dominated. In a tense back-and-forth contest that saw the Heat blow a six-point lead with just two minutes to go, Jimmy Butler answered the call. Miami came out firing in overtime, opening on 9-0 run where all nine points were scored by Butler. This run guided the Heat to an 11 point-victory and the highly-coveted second seed.
2/20: Bam Adebayo (28/19/7),
12/10: Duncan Robinson (34 Points, 10-14 from 3)
Written by Mikey Pirtle (@Mikeypirtle)