As a site, we ranked all the NBA teams from worst to best for our release of season previews. Day twenty’s release of a season preview ends up being the new look Miami Heat. I will provide a recap of their past season, an offseason recap, and then finally the season preview all of us fans are eager for.
Last Season’s Record: 37-45
Playoff Status: Missed Playoffs
The first season without LeBron James was not a favorable one for the Miami Heat. Dwyane Wade, Luol Deng, and Chris Bosh all spent good chunks of the season dealing with injuries. We are all thankful Bosh’s was not life threatening, and he will be able to play again this upcoming season. Even throughout these unfortunate mishaps, Miami did have some positives things happen during the season. Hassan Whiteside emerged as a dominate interior post player for the Heat, and as long as he is not a one year wonder, Whiteside will give Miami a nice advantage over teams. Goran Dragic was also acquired at the trade deadline. Miami brought him in for a last attempt at a playoff run, but it was too late for Dragic to make a difference. Heading into a long offseason, Miami had a few questions that needed to be answered. The biggest one was retaining the unrestricted free agent, Dragic. Miami had a busy offseason cut out for them, and we will know take a look out how they performed, and what to expect for next season.
Miami had previously traded away their 2015 NBA Draft pick to the Philadelphia 76ers, however it was top ten protected, and come lottery night, Miami got lucky, and got pick ten. Frank Kaminsky was a big name associated with the Miami Heat, as they looked for more offense, and a player capable of stretching the floor. Miami did not get the chance to select Kaminsky, as the Charlotte Hornets snatched him up. Once Miami appeared on the clock, Justise Winslow, a player previously thought to be a top eight selection was now still on the board. Miami did not hesitate, as they added the young, defensive minded player to their perimeter arsenal. Winslow had a relatively slow summer league, but with his primary role this upcoming season being a backup, Winslow will have time to adapt to the game, find his offensive groove, and provide perimeter defense. In the second round, Miami selected Josh Richardson, a shooting guard out of Tennessee. Richardson will really need to impress during training camp, as his spot is not going to be guaranteed. If he does make the roster, Richardson will provide depth, and some scoring abilities off the bench. The addition of Justise Winslow helped Miami be a big winner on draft night, and have a great building block/replacement for Dwyane Wade as he ages.
After a successful draft, Miami went into the offseason with a few holes to fill, mainly their lack of quality depth. Goran Dragic was the biggest offseason signing, as they gave him a maximum contract extension. Dragic will help keep Miami a deadly scoring unit, as well as being a great facilitator. Miami was lacking perimeter explosion this past season, so they went out and signed Gerald Green. Green is a high-flyer, who will never disappoint you with his dunks. Green also has the ability the stretch the floor, and be a perimeter player. With the questions surrounding Wade’s health, Green can step-in and be a starter, and not let the offense miss a beat. Next up for Miami, A’mare Stoudemire. Stoudemire has never been the same since Phoenix, but as a backup to Chris Bosh, he will be able to be a huge X-Factor for Miami. With Stoudemire providing 9-11 points per game off the bench, Miami is closer to filling their depth, and being able to contend with Cleveland. Shabazz Napier was traded to the Orlando Magic for a future draft pick, and although Napier only played one season for Miami, Miami did not see potential in him, and will now let the rebuilding Magic test him out. Miami filled both their major holes this offseason of Dragic, and depth, so that makes this offseason a pretty successful one for Miami, and they now look like formidable contenders in the Eastern Conference.
Heading into the 2015-2016 season, Miami is all over people’s boards. Some have them as a top three team in the East, while others have them around the sixth seed. With questions about chemistry, it is easier to think they will be a sixth seed, but an offseason together should help them gel, and be a force in the Eastern Conference. Miami also gets to start the year off healthy, and new depth to keep those key starters rested. The starting five of Dragic-Wade-Deng-Bosh-Whiteside has very few weaknesses, and will light up the scoreboard. The bench is also very potent in Green, James Ennis, Josh McRoberts, and Winslow. You also have the veterans of Chris Anderson and Udonis Haslem, who will provide veteran leadership and proven skill sets. Miami’s biggest weakness is their backup point guard, Mario Chalmers. As long as he can stay consistent during the season, Chalmers will be a positive asset for Miami. So now looking at this roster blended perfectly with defense and offense, it is hard not to get excited about their potential. Miami will likely need a few games to build that chemistry we talked about earlier, but once they find their groove, I think they will be a top four team in the Eastern Conference. Chicago and Cleveland will likely finish better in the regular season, and I would not count out the Washington Wizards either, but once playoffs start, Miami is the one team LeBron does not want to face. Miami will be a fun team to watch this coming season, as they look to try and add another Larry O’Brien Trophy to their collection.
By: Mac Crowe, @Mac_Truck17