When the question was posed to Chris Bosh “are the Heat any good” he responded “In theory,” and that is the perfect response for this team. On paper, they have a top ten or so Point Guard in Goran Dragic, a top ten Shooting Guard in Dwyane Wade and top ten players in both froncourt positions in Chris Bosh and Hassan Whiteside. Add to this the experience of Luol Deng, Josh McRobets, Amare Stoudemire and Udonis Haslem, the upside of Justise Winslow and the Gerald Green-ness of Gerald Green and this team looks like a top four seed on paper. Throw in one of the ten best coaches in the association and this team looks like a title contender. However there is a lot more to this team than meets the eye.
This preseason, the Heat have looked average defensively and even worse on the other end of the floor. Their offense has been boring and awkward, with the lethal Bosh/Dragic pick and rolls being as rare as a Tasmanian Devil sighting so far. The spacing has been awful and all the concerns regarding the lack of shooters have looked legitimate so far. Other than Bosh, they’re relying heavily on Gerald Green and Josh McRoberts to space the floor as no one else on this roster is a credible three point shooter unless Dragic is playing significant minutes off the ball. Miami were bottom ten in catch and shoots attempted last season and with the lack of shooters on this roster, this trend could continue. Three point shooting is one of the most pivotal aspects of todays game and if the Heat can’t space the floor, they will struggle to match it with the big boys. This team also played at the second slowest pace in the NBA, attempted the least Field Goals of any team last season and had the fourth longest time per possession in the league. To add to all these measures showing how slow the Heat’s offense was last season, the offense was stagnant and isolation heacy as well, with only the Kings and the Hornets having less points created from assists. I don’t doubt that with everyone back healthy Coach Spo will pick up the pace, but it is up to the players to be able to make good passes and create better opportunities for their teammates.
One positive for the Heat is that when Hassan Whiteside regains his health, the defence should tidy up and their rebounding should also improve. However this positive also doubles as a negative as the Heat overly rely on Whiteside and given he has played just half a season of good basketball and has shown to have some maturity issues, this is a risky course. Wade will miss 20 games this season, Deng will likely be injured given the minutes toll on his body throughout his career, Whiteside has maturity issues and key bench pieces Andersen, Haslem, McRoberts and Stoudemire are all old. This team needs to stay healthy and could fall apart quite quickly and quite sharply if it does not. This is a huge risk from Pat Riley and potentially, it could all come off and the Heat could come out of the East – nothing would surprise me – but with a ton of old guys, inadequate floor spacing and a slow pace, I see this team more as a 4-8 seed than a challenger for Cleveland’s Eastern Conference thrown.
Projected Record: 42-40
My Predicted Wins: 42-47
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