It's almost time for basketball, and you know what that means? Power rankings and basketball predictions are surfacing, only for most of them to be disproved come the start of the highly unpredictable and injury-filled NBA season.
Whatever the case, in most power rankings it looks like the Miami Heat have improved significantly from where they were placed last year.
For example, Marc Stein of ESPN has the Heat picked as his #10 team, which is obviously better than last year's #20 finish. Regarding Miami he says:
"Can you be a rampant Goran Dragic fan and a Heat skeptic at the same time? Miami is the ultimate win-now team, but there's no escaping the fact that the next minute Dragic, Dwyane Wade, Luol Deng, Chris Bosh and Hassan Whiteside share the court together will be the first. So many ways this can play out."
Stein's worries regarding the Heat are justified, last season was painful for all Heat fans and the team alike as injury woes completely destroyed any chance at a playoff berth. Still it's worth analyzing Stein's comments, especially as the pre-season approaches.
Miami is the ultimate win-now team
This is 100% true, all contracts point to the fact that Pat Riley will once again use his legendary recruitment skills to try and land a free-agent superstar in the 2016 offseason, however the roster he's helped build is ready to compete right away.
Firstly, Chris Bosh is healthy which is not only a relief to Heat fans, but his family as well. I expect him to have a very good season especially since he'll be killing it with Dragic in the pick and pop. Dwyane Wade has no choice to but to play like a superstar after choosing to bet on himself with a one year contract. With that being said he's also the most rested he's been in five years, so that will help. If it doesn't Gerald Green will act as a Wade's replacement, it helps that he and Dragic play off each other very well. Miami also has Amar'e Stoudemire who can act as a powerhouse for about 10-15 minutes a game. Finally, the Heat have a budding superstar in Hassan Whiteside who will look to continue the dominance he displayed last season.
Dragic, Wade, Deng, Bosh and Whiteside share the court together for the first time.
This is very exciting considering the amount of pure talent in the starting line-up. Dragic will of course be the game manager, but can also score at will in the key and from beyond the arc. Wade showed last year why he's still one of the best in the game, and is incredibly reliable in crunch time. As long as Deng's shooting has improved, he will be a huge force on offense, however he is also one of the best defenders in the game and that will surely help. Bosh and Whiteside should be able to play off of each other very nicely especially when considering Bosh's range, this will allow for some incredible floor spacing giving Dragic the best opportunities to create playmaking opportunities for his team.
As I mentioned earlier it's hard to predict anything regarding the NBA season, professional sports are unpredictable (just ask the Dallas Cowboys) however this should still be a fun season for the Miami Heat. While the team was borderline unwatchable at times last season, this year's Heat have the very makings of a blockbuster action film all that remains to be seen is whether or not they can deliver.