After a wild off-season. Wait. After the wildest off-season I have been a part off. The NBA is back. Which means only one thing. The Heat is on. Or maybe it is warm. I am writing in reference to the Miami Heat.
LeBron James remains on his throne back in Cleveland. Dwyane Wade left for reasons that will eventually clear up when his honeymoon is over with Chicago and sadly Chris Bosh found himself not on a team that finally had his own name on it. Bosh believes he can still play and says he intends to.
The book on the “Run DLC”, “3 Live Crew”, “Trey Bien” last one the “Big Three” is officially closed. Arguably one of the most talented teams ever assembled. Only one player from that group that won two NBA championships remains, reserve player Udonis Haslem.
Last season the Heat finished 48-34, first in the Eastern Conference’s Southeast Division. Moreover a second round playoff exit to the Toronto Raptors. Pat Riley’s task of rising this team from the depths that it is in begins now.
Erik Spoelstra is one of the best head coaches to have at the frontline of this team. He will keep them focused during the long season and preach the defense mantra the Heat live by. However points are what goes on the scoreboard.
The present big three is point guard Goran Dragic, center Hassan Whiteside and small forward Justise Winslow. They may not be the first pick for franchise players however they fit the Heat’s template. Whiteside signed a 4-year 98-million dollar max contract that many believe was offered with hesitation because of his unpredictability.
I cannot point my finger to the leader on this team however Dragic would be my gamble. Dragic along with Whiteside is where I see the primary scoring coming from. Dragic can hang with the best of them in the division. He needs to raise his game more for the Heat to be competitive.
Pat Riley has shared in the local Miami Herald paper that he expects Winslow to raise his game and be the man now. Is he ready after a rookie season that averaged little more than six points per game? It is still to be determined. His shooting is where the Heat need him the most however it is still incognito.
The remaining roster includes an inconsistent Dion Waiters who can score. Josh Richardson and Tyler Johnson whose games are identical but can be valuable on the floor. Derrick Williams…hmm. Josh McRoberts is who may be called to fill Bosh’s roll. Haslem will cheer his hometown team from the bench some nights.
With that being said, I predict 37 wins and no playoffs for a healthy Miami Heat team. Miami cannot afford injuries since they are not deep enough. If so they can dwindle down to 28 wins. It may be a warm NBA season in Miami, cold is bad.