5 Reasons the Heat Will Surpass Expectations in 2014-15

With the departure of LeBron James along with the age of Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade, many have written off the new-look Miami Heat as serious championship contenders for the upcoming NBA season. While others still believe the Heat are an easy top 4 seed in the Eastern Conference, not one has picked Miami to hoist the Larry O’Brien trophy this coming June. Not only do the Heat still have Heat Lifer Dwyane Wade and perennial All-Star big man Chris Bosh, but they still have championship pedigree. Expect Miami to make some noise this year, and here are the reasons as to why.

5. Championship Experience and Motivation

Experience always bids well for players, because no matter the situation, they’ve been there before. Only one short year ago, Miami was facing a five point deficit with just 28 seconds remaining against the San Antonio Spurs and managed to pull back and even the series, eventually winning a second consecutive championship after a masterful game 7. Not only do they have experience, but motivation on their side as well. The Heat are coming off arguably one of the worst beat-down in NBA Finals history, and there’s no better player to bounce back from a low point than Dwyane Wade.

4. Savvy Veterans Coming Off the Bench/Off season Acquisitions

While the Heat were unable to land free agent G Kyle Lowry this past off season, they did make a nice splash by signing Luol Deng, who is essentially their “LeBron replacement”. Deng is a versatile two-way player, an elite wing defender and a capable scorer, averaging 16.0 points for his career. The signings of Josh McRoberts and Danny Granger were pleasant to the ears, as everyone in South Florida is now hoping Granger can regain his pre-injury form. While rookie Shabazz Napier is/will experience growing pains, adding him to back up Chalmers and possible Norris Cole was no move to bat your eye at.

3. Pat Riley

The Godfather, as some call him. Riley is a 9 time NBA champion as a player, executive and coach, and has shown an incredible ability to keep a team afloat the past several years. While he does not have the luxury of having the best player in basketball at his disposal to make pitches, Riley knows what he’s doing, and there is no one that can not deny that.  There has been many times in the past when a Riley led team proved the doubters wrong and became forces in the league and at times minus a star the likes of the departed James.

2. The Resurgence of Chris Bosh

While playing the role of “third wheel” the past four seasons, many now have doubts of Bosh’s ability to be a legit first option. Many forget that Bosh averaged 24 and 10 during his final season in Toronto, and was a force to be reckoned with at the power forward position. With increased touches and shots this season, there should be no reason Bosh can’t return to his 20 & 10 form. He has also developed a very reliable three-point shot, and a much improved defender.

1. The Return of “Flash”

Ah, now to the good part. After a sub-par performance in the NBA Finals, one which Wade looked heavy and slow, there are few people outside of Florida who believe he can still carry a franchise. While Wade is on the back-end of his prime(he’s 32, not 36), he’s still shown numerous flashes of “Vintage D-Wade” during the Big 3 era. Many forget that with Wade as the first option, the Heat were unable to reach the promise land in 2011, prompting him to take a step back and hand the reigns to LeBron James. Only four years ago. Wade averaged 30.2 points, 7.5 assists, 5.0 rebounds, 2.2 steals, and 1.3 blocks per game. While it’s a debate whether he should’ve been named MVP or not, he arguably had the best season of any player in the league that year. Now, with the increased doubt, scrutiny, and criticism, expect to see the old Dwyane Wade back. Miami is his city, his team again. Dwyane also has taken on a version of the paleo diet, and has slimmed down in the process, easing the load off his knees. Through 11 seasons, Wade has yet to let down the fans of South Florida(when able to play), and don’t expect him to start now.

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