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The new-look Miami Heat nobody sees coming

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The Miami Heat's recent 92-81 victory over the Denver Nuggets in Summer League may have revealed Pat Riley's plan for the 2016-17 season.

Bart Young/

The way Miami Heat's Summer League team defeated the Denver Nuggets on Monday showcased Pat Riley's reasons for his choices of recent signings for the team.

The Heat attempted a Las Vegas Summer League high of 33 attempts from downtown, and converted 17 of them for a 51.5% average. No other team tried more than 27 treys in a game. In Miami's previous game, a loss, they chucked 22 long-distance shots.

The leaders in the assault were Rodney McGruder, 5 of 8 made, and Damion Lee, 5 of 7 successes. Those ten buckets alone resulted in 30 points for the Heat. Now the recent roster additions by Riley make sense.

Wayne Ellington, Luke Babbitt, Derrick Williams and McGruder are all long-range threats to drain shots from deep. Josh Richardson and Tyler Johnson showed promise as young gunners from downtown for the Heat last season. Both Goran Dragic and Josh McRoberts had their moments from beyond the arc, and may work to improve their 3-point game before the season starts. Should Chris Bosh be medically cleared for contact, he brings another viable 3-point shooter into the mix.

The prospective team for next season doesn't resemble last season's anemic long-range squad, and may surprise their opponents in 2016-17. Last evening's game displayed the willingness of Miami to totally remake themselves from the Heat's in-the-paint philosophy of 2015-16. The combination of rebounding and 3-point scoring was the difference in the Heat's gutty win in Game 6 over the Spurs in 2013.

Hassan WhitesideUdonis HaslemJustise Winslow and Willie Reed provide the Heat with grown-men rebounding prowess. Briante Weber, T. Johnson, James Johnson, Dragic and McRoberts snag rebounds with an athleticism that exceeds their lighter weights. The Heat can be a rebounding force because of their athleticism this coming season.

Miami has filled out its roster with 15 contracts, so there doesn't seem to be room for further additions of Summer League free agents. If any last-minute switches are made, the PIE (see note below) numbers give a clue who might be picked for further evaluation or move on to the Heat's D-League affiliate team the Sioux Falls Skyforce, who were the league champs after setting a league record for wins in a season.

Josh Richardson 15.33 23
Briante Weber 13.56 23
Okaro White 12.20 23
Victor Rudd 10.78 25
Rodney McGruder 10.38 24
Justise Winslow 10.33 20
Kevin Tumba 6.88 25
Michael Carrera 6.82 23
Juwan Howard, Jr. 6.33 24
Stefan Jankovic 5.67 22
David Walker 4.09 22
Chris Horton 3.00 22
Nic Moore 2.00 24
Damion Lee 1.80 23
Chris Obekpa 1.67 23

The one unsigned player whose numbers stand out is Okaro White, with a PIE of 12.20. Even though he is only 23 years old (young enough for upside improvement), he has two years of professional experience overseas under his belt. His PIE indicates he impacts the game beyond the traditional stats and finds many ways to win.

The sudden exit of Dwyane Wade leaves the Heat no choice but to mold the team with what pieces they do have. What will surprise fans is how different the next iteration of the Heat will look. The 33 attempts from beyond the arc versus Denver, shows the Heat will not follow in father prime's footsteps.

NOTE: PIE (Player Impact Estimate) is a simple metric that gives an excellent indication of performance at both the team and player level...A high PIE % is highly correlated to winning. In fact, a team’s PIE rating and a team’s winning percentage correlate at an R square of .908 which indicates a "strong" correlation. We’ve introduced this statistic because we feel it incorporates a bit of defense into the equation.