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Irving going West opens door for Waiters’ All-Star team bid

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Eastern Conference would lose another All-Star should Kyrie Irving wind up in Western Conference.

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NBA: Philadelphia 76ers at Miami Heat Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Eastern Conference lost All-Stars Jimmy Butler, Paul George and Paul Millsap. Kyrie Irving might join them in the Western Conference this season.

The Boston Celtics gained All-Star reserve Gordon Hayward at the cost of four players, including the Miami Heat’s Kelly Olynyk. Overall three Eastern Conference teams lost key players: Atlanta Hawks, Indiana Pacers, Chicago Bulls, and the Cleveland Cavaliers might lose their All-Star guard. Any way you look at it, four teams ahead of Miami last season had, or could have, significant roster moves this summer.

The Charlotte Hornets and Philadelphia 76ers are projected to replace the Hawks and Bulls in the playoffs, leaving Miami on the outside with 39 wins. I believe with all of the upheaval in the East, if the Heat stay healthy, they have a good chance to top last season’s 41 wins, and become a top-4 team in the East at the end of the regular season.

Dion Waiters sees himself as a top-5 guard in the NBA.

The flight of talent gives him a chance to prove it. The general consensus of the Heat as a bunch of role players puts a giant chip on their shoulders, but perhaps an All-Star will surprisingly emerge out of Miami.

A friendly rivalry exists among the players for being next in line for star status. Justise Winslow and Hassan Whiteside each believe they are the best 2K players on the team. Hopefully that rivalry translates to the real world of winning games in the NBA.

When pressed as to who is the most skilled 2K player on the Miami Heat, Winslow’s answer might surprise you.

“I honestly think it’s me,” Winslow says. “If I put in the time and the effort, I could be the best 2K player on the Heat.”

Brandon Knight’s ACL tear weakens the Phoenix Suns chances for post-season action. We’ll see how unforeseen injuries this season could affect the Heat’s rivals in the East. For instance, the 76ers have a history of their rookies going down with foot problems. That factor may have more to do with final standings than any other item. Miami’s roster depth may be the deciding factor over the long season.

Pat Riley being Pat Riley, could also shake things up before, or even during the season with his patented surprise moves.