Interestingly Pat Riley will be 80 years old before Justise Winslow will be 30 years old. The mantra of the Miami Heat being in the win-now mode is very real.
This season has a sense of urgency for many members of the Heat's roster, whether they are Heat Lifers or newly signed members.
- Does Dwyane Wade still have the all-star talent to bring a championship to Miami?
- Can Udonis Haslem contribute enough to collect his fourth ring?
- Will Mario Chalmers and Chris Andersen survive the trade rumors?
- Are Chris Bosh and Josh McRoberts healthy enough to play at an elite level?
- Did Amar'e Stoudemire make the right decision in signing for a veteran's minimum?
- How will Gerald Green's gamble pay off in June?
- Will Hassan Whiteside fulfill his All-Star potential this season?
- Was Justise Winslow a steal at 10th pick in the draft?
On paper the Miami Heat have as good a chance as anyone to capture the crown this season, with a combination of a talented starting five and deep bench:
Starters: Dwyane Wade, Goran Dragic, Chris Bosh, Luol Deng, Hassan Whiteside
2nd Unit: Gerald Green, Justise Winslow, Josh McRoberts, Amar'e Stoudemire, Chris Andersen
The talent level on the second unit as well as the reserves make giving ample rest time for the Heat players a luxury few other teams can match.
No NBA team can survive 100 games (including playoffs) without a quality replacements, because injuries and fatigue set in during the long season. Even LeBron James took two weeks off mid-season and was still exhausted by the time the NBA Finals rolled around.
This season the Heat can have a line-up that features a physically intimidating look with a front line of Whiteside, Stoudemire, McRoberts and Winslow as a shooting guard. These guys are big, strong and can pound the glass with the best of them.
Winslow is only 19 and still growing and getting stronger as he ages. Add the motor of Green, Dragic, Josh Richardson, and possibly Tyler Johnson, the Heat will have an exciting combination of strength and speed.
Looking further along, as Pat Riley approaches the end of his career, the Heat could transition from Wade's and Dragic's team to Hassan Whiteside's team and to Justise Winslow's team.
Fortunately the Heat have promising talent to sustain a winning tradition for years to come. For now, their depth can prove handy during a long and grueling NBA season.