What a year it has been for the Miami Heat. 2015 was the first year since 2010 that we didn't see the team playing into June and in the NBA Finals. But there was still plenty of things happening. With 2015 coming to a close, and 2016 on the cusp, we thought we would take a look at all that 2015 brought to us through the Miami Heat.
The good, the bad, and scary. It was a year that will be remembered for many reasons. Let's take a look back at everything we saw.
Heat were 14-20 to start 2015
They weren't in great position. With the departure of LeBron in the summer of 2014, the Heat struggled out of the gate and were under .500 for nearly the entire season. Entering January of 2015, they sat at 14-20 but in contention in a struggling Eastern Conference.
Hello Hassan Whiteside
Yes, the Heat picked him up in 2014, but he wasn't seeing playing time until December, and then in January he really busted onto the scene! You remember his coming out game in Los Angeles against the Clippers? Even their announcers were astonished and thought the Heat had struck gold. Whiteside was catching lobs, scoring, rebounding and blocking shots. He went on to have another national exposure game with a triple double on ABC against the Chicago Bulls.
Whiteside found his way into the starting lineup. In a decision that seemed questionable -- picking up this unknown center and dropping veteran guard Shannon Brown, who was good friends with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. No the move seems genius. Whiteside provided a slimmer of hope in a season that seemed the be slipping.
Goran Dragic Trade
The Heat came out of the NBA trade deadline seeming like Pat Riley did it again. He was able to discard Norris Cole, Danny Granger, Shawne Williams and spare parts as well as some draft picks and turn it into Goran Dragic. Dragic clearly wanted out of Phoenix, and the Heat were able to get him. Although the biggest cost to them was their draft picks, the excitement of adding an All-Star and prized point guard to their roster was overwhelming.
The Heat had positioned themselves as the new front-runner to challenge the Cleveland Cavaliers in the East. They had a lineup of Dragic, Wade, Deng, Bosh and Whiteside ready to go right after the All-Star break and begin to gel in time for the playoffs.
Chris Bosh Hospital Scare
The very next day...Chris Bosh finds himself in the hospital. He had some pain and unusual feelings over his brief vacation after the All-Star break and went in to get it all checked out. What they found were blood clots on his lungs, a serious condition. Bosh was in the hospital for several days and was ruled out for the remainder of the season.
The Heat's dreams of seeing this new lineup would have to wait until next season, possibly. Bosh's health was the most important thing to him and the team. Now, the Heat would have to rely on Dragic and Wade to power the team, in a season that Wade missed 20 games overall.
It was the biggest turn from excitement to disappointment from the Dragic news to the Bosh news, 24 hours apart.
Beasley is back
On March 18, he returned. And by he, I mean fan-favorite Michael Beasley. His third stint with the team came with the loss of Bosh, and previously the loss of Josh McRoberts for the season. The Heat were short on power players. So Beasley came back from China to join the team. He fit in. He played well, but the Heat didn't necessarily.
Although you would think we could find room for him, it became clear that Beasley wouldn't return again, at least for now. Miami finished the season and missed the playoffs by a few games.
Justise Winslow gets drafted
The ping pong balls went their way. The Heat needed to stay in the top 10 picks of the NBA Draft to keep their pick or it went to the Philadelphia 76ers. They got the 10th pick. And then on draft night, they had the chance to take someone they didn't think they would...Justise Winslow.
After winning the NCAA Final Four Championship in his freshmen year, Winslow came out as a star product. He was slotted to be a top 6-7 pick. He fell, and then when Detroit had the chance, they took who the Heat thought they would get in Stanley Johnson. With the 9th pick, the Hornets wouldn't budge and took Frank Kaminsky despite multiple trade offers from the Boston Celtics.
So there set the Heat, with the chance to take a guy they didn't even work out because they thought he would be gone. And they took, and Pat Riley was excited about it. Winslow has been a great addition to the rotation.
Re-Sign Dwyane Wade
There was some thought Wade would go somewhere else. And when the contract disagreements became public, there was a bit of a scare, but Wade ultimately decided to stay home in Wade-County. He took a $20 million deal for 1-year to return to the Heat.
And we will go through it again next season.
And now the new season has begun. The Heat are off to a decent start and going into a new year they sit in the middle of the Eastern Conference playoff picture. A far cry from where they were a year ago. The team is healthy and learning each other. They aren't dominant, but they have potential.
That was 2015. What was your favorite moment from the year?