Skip to content

NBA Season Preview: The Miami Heat

Sep 29, 2010, 12:42 PM EDT

Thumbnail image for Heat_huddle.jpgLast season: 47-35, fifth seed in the East. Their reward for that? The Boston Celtics in the first round. Ouch.

Head Coach: Erik Spoelstra, who is one of the best young minds in the game and a Pat Riley protégé. Which means Riley is not going to go Stan Van Gundy on him this season (if he does the backlash will be insane).

Key Departures: Former No. 2 pick Michael Beasley (now in the basketball Siberia of Minnesota), Jermaine O’Neal (who could come back to haunt the Heat as part of the Celtics), Quentin Richardson (who could come back to haunt the Heat as part of the Magic, plus some other minor parts.

Key Additions: Don’t know if you heard, but LeBron James chose Miami. Hate the man if you want, he remains as good a basketball player as there is walking the face of the earth.

The Heat re-signed Dwyane Wade. They brought in Chris Bosh from Toronto, now people will see just how good Bosh really is (I’m not sure the general public gets it).

They brought in Mike Miller to be the sharp-shooting, floor-spreading guy they need with all those penetrators on the roster. They re-signed Udonis Haslem. They signed Zydrunas Ilgauskas to provide depth up front. The re-singed Joel Anthony to be the rim protector they need. The re-signed Carlos Arroyo. They brought in Juwan Howard and Jamaal Magloire to be the old guys on the bench.

Whew. That about covers it, we think.

Best case scenario: An NBA championship. Anything less and next summer be filled with “what’s wrong with the Heat?” stories. It won’t be the championship the Lakers/Celtics won, but the one the Heat lost somehow.

For that to happen: The Heat have to defend. They do not need to be the 2004 Pistons in defense, but they need to be good.

Look, they are going to score. The concerns about Wade/LeBron/Bosh being able to play together are overblown — these are not the crazy-high usage guys who never pass. All three are good teammates, guys who give up the ball (remember, when you climbed all over LeBron for passing to the open man with the game on the line?). This team is going to be an offensive force.

And all three are good defenders. The pressure that James and Wade can put on opposing wing players will be intense — the Heat are going to get turnovers and easy (occasionally spectacular) transition baskets.

But in today’s NBA, with no handchecking on the perimeter, Dwyane Wade can’t guard Dwyane Wade. The league’s best penetrating wing players are going to get to the rim, other teams will do it with crisp ball movement (see Jazz, Utah). In today’s NBA you need a big man to protect the rim and own the paint (and glass). You need Kendrick Perkins or Dwight Howard or (a healthy) Andrew Bynum to anchor that defense.

Joel Anthony is a shot blocker. He works hard and gets as much out of his game as anyone. He is still 6’9″ and other teams are going to try to exploit that. Not many can. The Heat have the talent to go stretches with Bosh at the center spot, to use Big Z, to get by just fine most nights. But there will be nights when the run into a roster like Orlando where they have a center and other big men to spread the floor making help defense much harder.

The Heat have a season to fine-tune the defense, to see what matchups and lineups work best. Because come the playoffs they will see teams that have the talent to go at their weaknesses and if the Heat have not figured it out they will pay.

More likely the Heat will: Be right in the mix for a title. Can they win it? The Magic 8 Ball says “ask later.” We don’t know. The legendary Lakers with Elgin Baylor, Jerry West and Wilt Chamberlain did not — this is no sure thing for the Heat. The Lakers, Magic and Celtics have the talent to hang.

But if the Heat can defend, if they get solid play out of Anthony and Chalmers and Miller, if they can stay healthy, yes they can get a ring. Both this year and several more in the next five years.

Prediction: 64-18, and the top seed in the East. (Forget the 72-win thing, you have to really commit to that and the Heat will commit to rest for the playoffs instead.) From there, it’s all about matchups and how far the Heat defense has come along.

  1. johnmaine - Sep 29, 2010 at 2:11 PM

    Giants vs. Eagles rivalry taken to a whole new level as things get a little heated. Video: http://bit.ly/923Bw5

  2. Zachariah Blott - Sep 29, 2010 at 2:18 PM

    Want to know how Miami and the other Southeast Division teams did this offseason? (OK, you already know about Miami, but how about the others?) Here’s a breakdown of each squad in the division plus a grade for each team.
    http://www.hoopskarma.com/hk/2010/9/28/offseason-team-grades-southeast-division.html

  3. Baird - Sep 29, 2010 at 2:23 PM

    69 wins. If the Cavaliers can win 66 with next to nobody besides LeBron then this team threatens to win 70.

  4. My Prediction - Sep 29, 2010 at 2:42 PM

    My prediction is that LeBron will strain his vagina and miss 32 games with his pussy in a cast. Chris Bosh’s father, E.T., will come from outer space to take him home. Dwayne Wade will just be his pansy self and not accomplish anything.

  5. My Prediction - Sep 29, 2010 at 2:43 PM

    My prediction is that LeBron will strain his vagina and miss 32 games with his pussy in a cast. Chris Bosh’s father, E.T., will come from outer space to take him home. Dwayne Wade will just be his pansy self and not accomplish anything.

  6. My Prediction - Sep 29, 2010 at 2:46 PM

    My prediction is that LeBron will strain his vagina and miss 32 games with his pussy in a cast. Chris Bosh’s father, E.T., will come from outer space to take him home. Dwayne Wade will just be his pansy self and not accomplish anything.

  7. My Prediction - Sep 29, 2010 at 2:51 PM

    My prediction is that LeBron will strain his vagina and miss 32 games with his pussy in a cast. Chris Bosh’s father, E.T., will come from outer space to take him home. Dwayne Wade will just be his pansy self and not accomplish anything.

  8. My Prediction - Sep 29, 2010 at 2:55 PM

    My prediction is that LeBron will strain his vAgina and miss 32 games with his pussy in a cast. Chris Bosh’s father, E.T., will come from outer space to take him home. Dwayne Wade will just be his pansy self and not accomplish anything.

  9. My Prediction - Sep 29, 2010 at 2:58 PM

    My prediction is that LeBron will strain his vAgina and miss 32 games with his pussy in a cast. Chris Bosh’s father, E.T., will come from outer space to take him home. Dwayne Wade will just be his pansy self and not accomplish anything.

  10. My Prediction - Sep 29, 2010 at 3:09 PM

    My prediction is that LeBron will strain his vAgina and miss 32 games with his pussy in a cast. Chris Bosh’s father, E.T., will come from outer space to take him home. Dwayne Wade will just be his pansy self and not accomplish anything.

  11. jimmy marlins fan - Sep 29, 2010 at 3:52 PM

    my prediction is that “my prediction” is a dumbass who can barely spell basketball, nevermind play the game
    the heat win 69 games ;-) and a title, this year

  12. jimmy marlins fan - Sep 29, 2010 at 3:55 PM

    my prediction is that “my prediction” is a dumbass who can barely spell basketball, nevermind play the game
    the heat win 69 games ;-) and a title, this year

  13. jimmy marlins fan - Sep 29, 2010 at 5:20 PM

    i also predict that lebrons vagina will bleed on me tonight

  14. Drew - Sep 30, 2010 at 1:07 AM

    Kurt Hein, are you really suggesting this Heat team is not as good nor committed than the Cavs team that won 66 games two years ago? Come on, the Heat are winning 70(+) games. They are playing for a gritty coach and GM. They have two prime guys who have yet to win a title. They are playing with a bullseye on their back. Every team is going to have to play out of their minds just to beat them. I’m going with 70-12. They can win even with tinkering lineups.

  15. Jack - Oct 2, 2010 at 3:32 AM

    Considering the weak free throw %’s of Howard (59%), Perkins (58%) and Bynum (72%, better but not good), the likelyhood that the Heat
    “center by committee” will use their combined 20 fouls-to-give to diminish opposing center’s offensive game is great. If Orlando, in particular is supposed to counter balance Miami’s big 3 with Howard’s dominance in the post, there would seem to be a flaw to that strategy (59% FT.) We need to remember that in last year’s regular season matchups with Miami Howard scored 7, 12, 17 and 10 points – hardly enough to offset Wade, James and Bosh. And that was with Joel Anthony and Udonis Haslem guarding him most of the time.

  16. Jack - Oct 2, 2010 at 3:34 AM

    Considering the weak free throw %’s of Howard (59%), Perkins (58%) and Bynum (72%, better but not good), the likelyhood that the Heat
    “center by committee” will use their combined 20 fouls-to-give to diminish opposing center’s offensive game is great. If Orlando, in particular is supposed to counter balance Miami’s big 3 with Howard’s dominance in the post, there would seem to be a flaw to that strategy (59% FT.) We need to remember that in last year’s regular season matchups with Miami Howard scored 7, 12, 17 and 10 points – hardly enough to offset Wade, James and Bosh. And that was with Joel Anthony and Udonis Haslem guarding him most of the time.

  17. Jack - Oct 2, 2010 at 3:35 AM

    Considering the weak free throw %’s of Howard (59%), Perkins (58%) and Bynum (72%, better but not good), the likelyhood that the Heat
    “center by committee” will use their combined 20 fouls-to-give to diminish opposing center’s offensive game is great. If Orlando, in particular is supposed to counter balance Miami’s big 3 with Howard’s dominance in the post, there would seem to be a flaw to that strategy (59% FT.) We need to remember that in last year’s regular season matchups with Miami Howard scored 7, 12, 17 and 10 points – hardly enough to offset Wade, James and Bosh. And that was with Joel Anthony and Udonis Haslem guarding him most of the time.

  18. silk32 - Oct 20, 2010 at 11:06 PM

    Lebron and Dwyane Wad received “hateful” messages over Twitter —> http://clicky.me/2ehs … At least one of the Twitter accounts was cancelled. The “Lebron-Bashing” has officially gone over the top.

Leave Comment

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

Featured video

Warriors vs. Clippers playoff preview
Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. L. James (3307)
  2. D. Wade (3222)
  3. S. Curry (3188)
  4. C. Anthony (3046)
  5. A. Bogut (2920)
  1. D. Williams (2734)
  2. R. Westbrook (2708)
  3. K. Durant (2653)
  4. D. Rose (2538)
  5. K. Love (2519)