Before the start of the previous season, the city of Miami was heartbroken when the prodigal son, LeBron James, divorced Miami and returned home due to feeling he had gotten all he could out of Miami. In this frenzy the Heat almost lost its franchise in Dwyane Wade and starting forward Chris Bosh. Bosh was offered a max deal from the Houston Rockets, which is near his hometown. Wade was offered way more than what Miami could give him by the Chicago Bulls, his home team. It seemed that there was an ongoing trend of players returning home. Who could blame them, most people would love to play professionally for their hometown. The heartache in Miami started to subside with the retaining of Wade and Bosh. The franchise also added some skilled players and veterans to help cement the team together in players like Deng, Green, Dragic, and Stoudemire. Last season the Heat struggled with a plethora of injuries which ultimately kept them out of the Post-season brackets. However, this year Miami fans are optimistic with the improvements to the roster that we can be a solid contender.
With the preseason almost over, the Miami Heat are already showing signs of emerging as playoff and maybe even championship contenders. Team President Pat Riley has done a phenomenal job of signing free agents and drafting rookies in order to bolster this roster. The starting five in itself is intimidating to any opponent. Now its up to the veterans and coaching staff to drive this team to its full potential.
There were several problems that attributed to Miami not making the post season last season. These factors include: Dwyane Wade’s health, inefficiency from bench players, and injuries. Just last year, Miami took a bullet to the heart when Chris Bosh was diagnosed with blood clots in his lungs. However, with the solid additions of Justise Winslow, Amar’e Stoudemire, Gerald Green, , Goran Dragic, Josh McRoberts, and others, this team is right back on track to make a title run. Not only does this team now have a dependable bench to rely on, but Miami now has someone who can replace Wade due to his health. Gerald Green is a very good offensive talent but the Miami Coaching Staff is more focused on helping him invigorate his skills on the opposite side of the ball. One thing is for sure that Miami now has a bench that can fortify a post season run.
Return of the Flash
Wade has been showing signs of his former self. I know we’ll never see “The Flash” in full form but during the games against Charlotte and San Antonio, he was quite acrobatic. He and Bosh were in sync almost like he was with LeBron in years past. Wade is going to miss at least 16 games this upcoming season….that’s irrefutable. With that said he has done a great deal to take the pressure off his knees such as losing weight, changing his diet completely, and going through all kinds of surgical procedures. I predict a solid 25 points, 4 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and 2 steals per game for Wade. Also, as for being arguably the best shot blocking guard in NBA history, he will be a bully to some of the younger players that decide to test him in the paint. Wade has a good two more years left in him, and Miami fans like myself would love to see the Flash show flashes of his former self this NBA season.
Chris Bosh is the X-Factor
Last year the Heat’s starting forward was the powerhouse of the franchise. He averaged 21 and 7. Chris Bosh, surprisingly, has grown into one of the most versatile forwards on defense in the league. Obviously, without Chris Bosh Miami wouldn’t fare so well. With Bosh paired along with Hassan Whiteside and Loul Deng makes for a pretty frightening front court. Bosh being on the floor allows for the playmakers to get into space and score because the defenders will constantly have to keep watch on the slithery Chris Bosh. Players in the league have always envied the way Chris Bosh plays. His face-up style consists of his ability to slip-and-slide right through defenders along with the ability to shoot from mid-range. Now he is one of the best 3 point shooters at the big man position. It’s understandable why Miami offered Chris Bosh a HUGE max deal over the Houston Rockets. His value is unprecedented and will always be appreciated in Miami.
In the recent year Miami experienced a plague of injuries. Mario Chalmers recorded a total of 80 games played, the most on the entire roster. He started at two guard for a while averaging 10 points, 4 assists, and nearly 2 steals per game. On top of that Dwayne wade sat 20 games and Chris Bosh missed half the season with blood clots. The franchise didn’t acquire Dragic until the trade deadline in February. Here are some critical areas where Erik Spoelstra needs to emphasize improvement: three-point percentage, offensive rebounding, interior defense, and protecting the ball. These numbers improved when Goran Dragic signed on and while Whiteside was going through his dream like run.
Let’s see how Miami has added and removed pieces to cultivate a more embellished performance…
The re-signing of Wade and Dragic was prudent. Wade and Dragic have developed a chemistry and can contend to be one of the most intimidating back-courts in the league. With the return of Bosh, Deng, and McRobers, Miami has more depth at the big man position. Slashing guards will think twice before driving into the lane while Whiteside is lurking there. Luol Deng is a versatile defender that was a crucial component to bring back. As for the rookies, Richardson and Winslow seem to be the future of the Miami Heat based on the way they’ve played during the preseason. The looked especially good in the game versus the young and talented Orlando Magic. Josh Richardson had 18 points while Winslow record 12 points. Even though Pat Riley is not one to believe in rebuilding and adding young players through the draft, he did a remarkable job this year in stealing Winslow and adding the low-key Richardson.
If the Heat can stay healthy this season, the defensive potential is astounding. With crafty guards like Dragic and Wade alongside the versatile big man Chris Bosh, Miami’s offense efficiency should skyrocket. Heat fans should expect a stellar year for the Heat since the departing of LeBron a season ago. It may be bold, but I feel that when playing at their best Miami is right up there with the Cleveland Cavaliers and the defending NBA Champion Golden State Warriors talent wise. We’ll just have to wait and see if the organization can live up to the hype.