No Miami Heat player was mentioned in the article “Which NBA Players Will Sniff 1st-Time All-Star Status in 2017-18?”
Unfortunately, not all of these 12 players will make the 2018 All-Star Game. The majority of them will watch the proceedings from afar since they're contending with established superstars who represent their respective conferences year in and year out.
Later on the Adam Fromal writes,
Some are continuing to improve upon their prior efforts and moving further along their developmental curves. Others are joining new teams and filling roles likelier to help them earn bigger numbers. Others still should finally get the recognition they've deserved for a while.
Six candidates were picked for the Western Conference, which saw an influx of All-Stars from the East. As the author notes, their chances for getting on the West All-Star team face an uphill battle displacing the NBA All-Stars currently on the team.
On the Eastern front Bradley Beal, Avery Bradley, Joel Embiid, Otto Porter Jr., Kristaps Porzingis, Myles Turner were his six candidates. Among them three are centers, who aren’t in style right now. And two of those three may be marginalized by playing for lottery teams, which Miami found out last winter.
Will any of the Heat players surpass the expectations of the nominees listed above? I believe the answer lies in how successfully Miami begins the season. Last season the 11-30 start diminished the stellar stats of the individuals. This year, rough starts by rival Eastern Conference teams could help a Heat player’s chance to play in Los Angeles.
That said, ESPN came out with their NBARank, #31 to #50. Goran Dragic (misspelled in a tweet on Luka Doncic as “Tragic”) was listed at #47 and Hassan Whiteside at #41.
Dragic did not receive a single All-NBA vote despite delivering a season nearly identical to 2013-14 when he was named third-team All-NBA and won Most Improved Player. Dragic remains one of the game's best at probing the paint, ranking third in the NBA in drives per game last season.
Whiteside remains somewhat of an enigma. Though he once again finished in the top five of voting for Defensive Player of the Year, the Heat were still better defensively with him off the floor. On/off court splits can be noisy, but this is now three straight seasons in which Miami's defense has posted a better defensive rating with it's anchor on the bench rather than on the floor.
Those observations do not bode well for either Dragic or Whiteside playing in Los Angeles come 2018. While Pat Riley lobbies for Hassan as DPOY (Defensive Player Of the Year), “Count Blockula” has potential to make a huge impact on the offense end, if he stops trying to get out of double-teams with inefficient jumpers 5 to 9 feet out.
FGA 5 to 9 ft
The table above shows Hassan made more attempts from that range than anyone else on the team. It also hints Dion Waiters won’t be an All-Star until he fixes his mid-range shot, which converts at a pathetic 27%. Defenders simply force Waiters into that zone, knowing he can’t do a Dwyane Wade step-back jumper.
Luckily with the Heat, Dion excels at kicking out to 3-point spot-up shooters. If Whiteside can follow Waiters’ example by dishing out assists to open teammates, instead of forcing attempts all by himself, Hassan might carry the Heat to post-season success.
Draymond Green gives a lesson on passing out of the post position. Coach Nick points out passes out of the post provide the best 3-point opportunities.
With Whiteside’s height and reach he see the floor from the post better than anyone on the Heat. His teammates have a responsibly to Hassan to move without the ball for wide open looks.
Before Draymond Green, the Utah Jazz used the Hall of Famer’s tandem of Karl Malone and John Stockton in pick and pops, instead of pick and rolls. Here “Postman” Malone acts as a facilitator for his team, rather than “dunking on people.”
What about other Heat players making an extreme jump this season? Justise Winslow was in the same draft class as Porzingis, Devin Booker and Myles Turner, who was picked 11th, right after Winslow. Josh Richardson seems to be forever on the cusp of a breakout season, as is Tyler Johnson. Kelly Olynyk was on a NBA All-Rookie team. Could James Johnson get the recognition he deserves at his age?
All their performances in the last 41 games were noteworthy enough to turn heads. How many of them will continue the fairy tale ending this time around?
Finally a plug on reddit for Bam Adebayo.
Lets assume, somehow, Bam averages 32ppg, 15reb and 4ast while leading the Heat to the Playoffs (totally realistic)... can he even receive MVP votes? Or maybe even win season MVP? Before you go nuclear with things like: "No, he is only elegible to win ROY you dumbass"... well Kareem has won season MVP in his rookie season.