By Santiago Archieri
Between a very disappointing start for the Dolphins, and the Marlins being the same old Marlins for yet another season, Miami fans are starting to get excited for the start of a new Miami Heat season.
As for me, I am an optimistic, die hard, annoying Heat fan, who has been looking forward to media day for weeks because that’s how much I miss the Heat. But it is time to be a bit more realistic, as last season I thought they were serious contenders in the Eastern Conference, and the Heat ended up being 10 games under .500 and being in the lottery.
What an awful season it was for Heat fans. First, we lost Josh McRoberts for most the year, then our newly-maxed out Chris Bosh has a health scare that takes him out for the year.
We find a giant gem called Hassan Whiteside, who smacks his hand against the rim and isn’t 100% after that game.
And to top it off, we had Dwyane Wade resting up, taking care of his hamstrings and knee, and I am not even naming all the injuries that kept numerous other players out. There was one point in the year when the Heat were scrambling around looking for players to be a suit up for a game. The Heat had to dig deep into their rotation, and even then, the Heat were just a few games from reaching the final playoff spot in the East.
The Heat hit the offseason with a lot of work to do. After eventually landing the 10th spot in the NBA draft, the Heat were able to take the exciting young man out of Duke University: Justice Winslow. The next step was bringing back Dwyane Wade and Goran Dragic. Dragic took a pay cut to stay, and after a lot of trolling, Wade signed a one year deal to stay in Miami.
The projected starting line-up for the Heat this season might be the most complete 5 in the Eastern conference, and quite possibly in the NBA. Hassan Whiteside played at an All-Star level after he was given a starting job, and is already a name floating around for possible defensive player of the year in the upcoming season.
Chris Bosh is one of the best power forwards in the league, and the number one option for this team. Luol Deng had a quiet season, but did show some glances of life while he had some nice games, and still put up decent numbers. Dragic is a complete point guard, who had a rough season before joining the Heat, and I would go as far to say that he is the best point guard the Heat have had since Tim Hardaway (sorry Chalmers). And to complete it, we have Wade, who of course happens to be “washed up”. Wade was third in the East in scoring, extremely efficient from the field, and still an important player last season- helping shut the doubters down.
The bench has also drastically improved. Winslow should be fun to watch, McRoberts is back healthy, Amar’e Stoudemire is looking to bounce back from some bad seasons, Gerald Green has some uber-athletic skills that will bring everyone to their feet at the American Airlines Arena, and Chalmers is going to be much more valuable in a bench role.
So what now? I’m not here to preach that the Heat will go 99-0, including a win in the All-Star game, and that there will be another parade down Biscayne Boulevard.
But if the injury-bug doesn’t infect Miami again this season, the Heat is set to be atop the Eastern Conference, contending with the Cavaliers for the top seed.
Cover Photo Credit: Keith Allison/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)