Nothing like winning games for the Miami Heat to start grabbing attention by fans and media alike. The controversial Stephen A. Smith lists the Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics in a class by themselves among the Eastern Conference teams. Asked which other teams stand a chance against them come playoff time, Smith names the Heat as a potential pick.
After what the Cavaliers did to Heat in their two match-ups this season, that is a bold prediction. Adding a difference-maker by Feb. 8, without blowing up the team, could radically change the picture for the playoffs.
With only one first-round draft pick for three years, any trade has to consider what a one-season rental would do for next season, and the two thereafter. In a best case scenario Hassan Whiteside manages to buy into a winning at-all-cost mentality, Bam Adebayo becomes a force of nature, Josh Richardson drops his music obsession for a few months to focus totally on basketball.
Let’s not forget on how a healthy Rodney McGruder and Justise Winslow could contribute to add quality depth to the team. The second half will be much tougher as teams bring their “A” games against Miami, and more watched on TV and streaming media.