The Miami Heat's addition of Joe Johnson further makes the return of Chris Bosh this season more unpredictable than ever. Personal medical information is private by law, so his situation needs to be treated in a confidential manner on a day-to-day basis.
Johnson's arrival gives the Heat a solid chance to remain a playoff contender, with or without Bosh. The team with Johnson has a different personality than the ones which included Bosh, Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, and yes even Mario Chalmers, Chris Andersen, Michael Beasley.
Looking at the present squad's playoff experience, it has a blend of players who have been through the rigors of postseason play, where national attention is the norm, and those who will be new to the after-season stress test.
YRS = Prior NBA experience to 2015-16 season
PS = Play-off season experience
GP = Games Played
GS = Games Started
Joe Johnson and Amar'e Stoudemire have longer careers than either Wade or Udonis Haslem. Being part of winning cultures in the NBA is the norm for those four veterans, while surprisingly Bosh and Luol Deng missed the postseason action about as many times as they where in it. Other than the rookies, the five other players have been on lottery teams most of their careers.
Gerald Green and Goran Dragic have never been starters in a playoff game, so just being in the opening lineup would carry a special meaning for them. For Hassan Whiteside, Tyler Johnson, Justise Winslow, Josh Richardson being in the postseason spotlight for the first time might be the start of a new chapter in their basketball careers, or just a brief day in the sun. Only time will tell.
Josh McRoberts is a tweener who has been mostly on good, but not great teams. Heat fans hope that he can reach his full potential during the playoffs, where, for each series, win four games or go home is the rule. During his best year with the Indiana Pacers, in the 2010-11 season, he started 51 games, shoot 55% from the field, 38% from the 3-point line, and averaged nine rebounds per 36 minutes. Perhaps the lift in his legs has diminished, but he has proved can shoot and score at an NBA level when he decides to play aggressively.
The Heat have shown their resolve and toughness in Bosh's absence, but questions now remain to be answered in the the coming days as to whether or not it will be permanent. Who loses minutes if Bosh does reappear in April? Or do the Heat have enough talent to survive first and second round challenges without Bosh? With two roster spots available who can the Heat squeeze in to give the team a full compliment of 15 players Pat Riley promises to do?
Will the veteran savvy of Wade, Haslem, Johnson, and Stoudemire overcome father time? Can Dragic step up to seize the moment in only his second postseason appearance ever? Can Deng carry through his outstanding performances since the All-Star break? Will Whiteside finally get the recognition he craves by maturing enough to carry the team with the considerable skill set he possesses? Will the rookies surprise everyone by performing at peak levels beyond their years? Can McRoberts make a difference with his ability to assist, score and rebound? Does Green get a chance to redeem himself and return to his early-season form?
As seen in the Boston Celtics game on Saturday, the Heat sometimes are their own worst enemy by stopping their momentum by handing opponents the ball through turnovers: bad passes, steals, 24-second violations. In the Chicago Bulls game, the Heat did not have a single turnover in first quarter and scored 36 points. In the second quarter Heat turnovers lead to easy Bulls baskets and lost the battle for those 12 minutes. We'll see if they can overcome their own self-defeating moments with season on the line.
Each of the players have their own personal motivation to reach the playoffs, varying from defying age to new beginnings. Can the Heat summon the pit-bull within them to fight for a win every single game, even against teams like the Suns or 76ers ? Will Bosh be on the team to contribute?