NBA Scout Reveals Analysis Of Heat-Nuggets Finals Matchup

Miami Heat, Denver Nuggets, NBA News
NBA Analysis Network

The Athletic recently spoke to an NBA scout to break down the Finals matchup between the Miami Heat and Denver Nuggets.

Even though the anonymous scout has great respect for the Heat, he’s picking the Nuggets to win the Finals. With both teams having depth, there will be an added pressure on superstars like Nikola Jokic and Jimmy Butler to set the tone.

“The thing that stands out to me is the role players for Miami have really been the heroes,” the scout said. “Not just the unsung heroes. Everybody wants to talk about them being undrafted and unsung. But this time of year, your superstars are supposed to perform. But those guys (who are role players) — Caleb Martin, Gabe Vincent, (Max) Strus — have been incredible. Even Kevin Love.

“But at the same time, so has Denver’s: KCP (Kentavious Caldwell-Pope) and Bruce Brown and Michael Porter (Jr.) and Aaron Gordon. They’ve gotten different types of contributions from all their so-called secondary players too. Because of that, if they wipe each other out, it may revert back to, ‘OK, now what are the superstars going to do?’

NBA NEWS & PLAYOFFS: Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets, Jimmy Butler & Miami Heat Updates

“If that does become the case, as well as Jimmy and Bam (Adebayo) can play, I’ve got to go with The Joker. Denver’s other players have been just as good. Nobody expected it from Caleb Martin, not to this level, or Max Strus. Not to carry them this far. But it’s been incredible. They’ve been phenomenal.”

The Heat are 12-6 in the playoffs, while the Nuggets are 12-3. Denver has been off since May 22, while Miami played a Game 7 on May 29.

NBA NEWS & PLAYOFFS: Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets, Jimmy Butler & Miami Heat Updates

One focus area the scout highlighted was the Heat’s use of zone defensive coverages as they try to contain Jokic and the Nuggets’ shooters. Denver’s counters to such an approach will play an important role in putting Miami in a bad position.

“But another reason I would lean Denver is it’s not going to be a giant coaching mismatch like it was this past series with Boston and Miami,” the scout said. “Spo (Miami’s Erik Spoelstra) will still do his thing. But Michael Malone has got a little more savvy to him. He’s got a little more adjustments and a little more he has seen and things he can do to counteract, in the zone, especially. The Heat’s zone defense might not be as effective if Denver shoots the ball like they’re capable of. But having a guy who can flash high and distribute the ball the way that Joker can, that could be huge.”

It will be interesting to see if the Nuggets are rusty in Game 1 of the Finals, which is on June 1.

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About Ashish Mathur 2193 Articles
Ashish is an NBA writer for NBA Analysis Network. He has been featured on many publications, including, ClutchPoints, Sportscasting and Celtics Wire. You can follow Ashish on Twitter @amathur25.