We are on the verge of another season for the Miami Heat and so your staff of senior writers put their heads together to preview the season. What are we thinking could be in store for the season? Let’s take a look as we partner alongside the rest of SB Nation preparing for the season.
Last Year’s Record: 44-38
Key Losses: None
Key Additions: None
1. What significant moves were made during the off-season?
What a great question that needs such a short response! When talking about significant moves by the Heat over the summer, there are no additions to the team that stand out to make a difference (sorry Briante Weber). But we all agreed that the most significant moves revolved around the retention of two players: first Dwyane Wade, and second Wayne Ellington.
Wade’s return is significant for a number of reasons, but most notably he makes the Heat even more watchable to the average fan. Wayne Ellington’s return signals a good vibe that players want to be here — and Miami can still utilize one of the best shooters in the league to create offense with the second unit.
2. What are the team’s biggest strengths?
Both Brandon and Surya think that the Heat’s biggest strength is their continuity. Brandon said, “In a league that changes rosters like clothes, it’s a huge strength keeping the same guys together.” And Surya added the same sentiment, “It’s rare to see largely the same roster returning intact for a third straight season but the Heat front office, at least outwardly, has shown confidence that there will be enough inner growth from the Heat’s promising young core of Josh Richardson, Bam Adebayo, and Justise Winslow.”
On the other hand, Diego thinks that it is coaching. He said, “Erik Spoelstra is one of the best coaches in the NBA, with his skills of play-calling out of timeouts and helping players play above their previous output.”
3. What are the team’s biggest weaknesses?
All of us agree that the answer is on the offensive side of the ball. I think their weakness is that they do not have a single star (ahemm Jimmy Butler). Once they have someone of that caliber, the game changes for them I think.
Surya and Brandon say it has to do with the Heat’s offensive firepower. The Heat just can’t hang with the teams that have superior talent, despite our defensive efforts. “Too often we see the team go through stretches where they simply can’t keep up with an elite team that can rain 3s” says Surya. Diego added in the same fashion, “The Heat’s offense is still too anemic to keep up with the upper-echelon teams.”
4. What are the goals for this team?
All of us agree that the expectation for the team is to make the playoffs and the goal is to win a playoff series.
Surya has even loftier goals for the team saying, “With the East as wide open as it is, Miami has to aspire to finish in the top 4 and hope for a healthy season.” And Brandon says not reaching the second round would be a failure, “ The Heat have committed too much money to expect anything less at this point. While it’ll be nice to see some player development in Bam, Justise and Josh anything less than a series win will be considered a failure.“
5. Will the team make a major roster shakeup during the season?
I think the answer here clearly lies in the, yes they could (Butler scenario is proof), but rather will they?
Surya says, “Anything can happen and Pat Riley has said no one is untouchable on this roster. He might have said that to motivate them but the team needs to produce results or Riley will run out of patience.”
Diego added, “It’s possible. Pat Riley is always on the hunt for stars. He doesn’t have many appealing trade chips aside from players he’d like to keep (Josh Richardson and Bam Adebayo), though. But the Heat remain a superstar away from competing in the Eastern Conference, and Riley may not want to find him in the Draft. “
I don’t think they will. I think there is intrigue here to do it. But largely this season will be a farewell tour for Wade, enjoying that, and competing at the same time.
Brandon is at a crossroads, “It’s tough to say. Pat Riley obviously loves these guys and also spent a summer rejecting offers for Josh Richardson, but still it’s tough to predict what the Godfather will do. Anything can happen, and if there’s a way to make Miami more competitive you can be sure Pat Riley will try to make it happen.”