The Miami Heat were a compelling team in the 2016 offseason. They seemed to be on the cusp of competing for the Eastern Conference title last season. These hopes were dashed as they lost to the Toronto Raptors in the playoffs. Many experts thought a few good moves in the summer would help the team compete in the East this season. Many pundits had their eye on Miami in the offseason.
One thing is clear after the summer. The Heat are starting over. The team has a different look. Dwayne Wade is the most obvious deaparture this season. The future hall of famer spent his entire career in Miami. When he left for Chicago, it became clear that GM Pat Riley was taking the team in a new direction.
Wade wasn’t the only veteran shooting guard that left. Joe Johnson headed west to play in Utah. The Heat also lost veteran forwards Luol Deng and Gerald Green to the Lakers and the Celtics respectively. Veteran PF Amare Stoudemire wasn’t much of a factor last year and decided to retire. The Heat would have been a pretty unstoppable if they had all of these players 5 years ago, but most of them were past their prime.
It isn’t really an addition, but the most important thing Miami did was retain the services of Hassan Whiteside. He is one of the best defensive centers in the NBA. Whiteside is the most important player on the team, thanks to the health concerns that are keeping Chris Bosh off the court. The Heat didn’t make a lot of big moves, so retaining a star defender is their de facto best addition.
The Heat did sign some players, although they were mostly role players and veteran journeyman. The biggest name that they signed was probably Dion Waiters. Waiters is a proficient scorer and should be able to make up some of the points lost with Wade and Johnson, but he has had some issues meshing with teammates in the past. They also signed former North Carolina Tar Heel guard Wayne Ellington for $12 million over 2 years, not a bad pay day for a player who has averaged 7 points a game for his career. He has yet to play this season thanks to injuries.
As you can see, the immediate future isn’t too bright for the Heat. The team’s starting five will look this during the 2016-17 season.
PG – Goran Dragic
SG – Dion Waiters
SF – Justice Winslow
PF – Udonis Haslem
C – Hassan Whiteside
The 2016-17 season is a rebuilding year for the Heat. The team’s starting lineup doesn’t blow anyone away on paper. They have lived up to expectations so far this season with a record of 4-9. Riley understands you have to be bad to become good again in the NBA. Mediocrity is a never ending cycle.
There are some positives for the Heat. Justice Winslow, the second year player out of Duke, has almost doubled his ppg. He is also leading the squad in steals. Coach Erik Spoelestra thinks he can help lead the team into a successful future. Whiteside is definitely the central focus of the franchise. The big man is leading the Heat in points, rebounds, and blocks this season. He has recorded an impressive 2.7 blocks per game.
All in all, The Heat are a solid defensive unit. I don’t see where the points are going to come from with this line up, though. It will be interesting to see how they further develop the line up in the future. They could make some trades during the season to acquire some assets.