As the calendar flips into September, Chris Bosh was spotted, with a large contingent of Miami Heat players, getting ready to make some noise for next season. Along with three-time champion Udonis Haslem and the Slovenian point guards, Goran Dragic and Beno Udrih, Bosh provides an experienced presence on the court.
Add to that mix Erik Spoelstra, the head coach of two title-winning teams, Dan Craig, the record-breaking coach of the Sioux Falls Skyforce, and the Godfather himself Pat Riley, who knows a thing or two about winning, the Miami Heat have the ingredients to remain factors in postseason action.
Spo: Our program requires work...commitment...discipline. It requires guys wanting to get better.https://t.co/AVMvzlsYCn— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) August 23, 2016
Dion Waiters, as the possible starting shooting guard, brings his knowledge of the culture of elite teams by playing alongside LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook to Miami. He knows exactly how they achieved the toughness to win games at the highest level. At 24 he's in the prime years of his career and ready to apply what he learned from being in the locker rooms with some of the best talent in the NBA.
What happened with James in Miami can serve as a blueprint for the other new additions, such as Derrick Williams, James Johnson and Wayne Ellington, on how to reach the next level. James only previous appearance in the NBA Finals resulted in a sweep by the Spurs. The Heat taught him the ingredients to capture the title. Perhaps Miami will unlock the newcomer's potential also.
Compared to last summer's older roster, this season's squad pushes the pace the of practices up a notch. Sprinting against Williams instead of Amar'e Stoudimire gives entirely different results. Last season the Heat relied on veteran skill sets. This season the team is more in tune with the new NBA and NBA 2K17, who feature young players such as Ben Simmons and Karl-Anthony Towns.
After joining the Heat, Bosh changed his post-oriented game in Toronto to the quintessential stretch 4 that is so popular today. His mentoring players on how to adapt their style of play to what the team needs gives Miami an edge few other teams possess. Under his tutelage players, such as Willie Reed, are developing the knack for outlet passes from the paint to the Heat's newly added 3-point threats. Who could ever forget Bosh's pass to Ray Allen in Game 6?
Winslow mentioned the departure of Dwyane Wade shook him. Bosh and Haslem provide this season's role models as Justise prepares to fight for a possible spot on Team USA in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Having the strength of an ox at 20 years old and the footwork of a defensive stopper, Winslow could become a scoring machine in the painted area as the Heat's best post player.
Pat Riley and the Heat organization use the data from these practices to see how Bosh's body handles the rigors of intense non-contact training. With medical staff and facilities close by, these results help everyone make an informed decision with Bosh's safety the top priority. True to his word Riley and Bosh won't be rushed and will announce their decisions only after all the facts are in.
A starting five of Dragic, Waiters, Winslow, Bosh and Whiteside form legitimate contenders for a playoff spot. But will Bosh be able to withstand the rigors of a full NBA season to lead the Heat to the playoffs? Only time will tell.