The Miami Heat are basketball’s most successful anomaly. Void of fearsome rim protection and top-notch rebounding—two ingredients that are normal necessities for any title-contending team—the Heat instead have LeBron James, the closest thing to basketball perfection we’ve seen in nearly 25 years.
James allows the Heat to scheme differently than every other team in the league. They can go small with him at power forward and play super fast on both ends. They can also go big and play him on the wing with two other rangy frontcourt players (likely Chris Bosh and Udonis Haslem) who help space the floor and compete on the glass.
The Heat is all about pressure. They blitz pick-and-rolls and harass ball-handlers on the perimeter. On offense, they turn the rock into a bolt of lightning, spreading it around until an open shot is created.
What’s one way they’re still like every other team? Some of Miami’s five-man units are more effective than others. Here are their five best, in order by how effective they can potentially be regardless of the opposition.