2015-16 NBA Previews – Heat
The Miami Heat enter this season looking to improve upon a disappointing first season in the post-LeBron James era. A health issue to Chris Bosh had him sidelined for the second half of the year but his return along with the midseason addition of Goran Dragic and late season surprise by Hassan Whiteside has the Heat poised for a big year.
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Miami Heat Season Preview
Head Coach: Erik Spoelstra
2014 Record: 37-45
Heat Odds to NBA Title: 40/1
Heat Odds to Win Conference: 14/1
The Heat have a mix of players with lots of experience along with some young talent ready to keep up with the big boys. As the Heat learned last season, LeBron James is not easily replaced.
Replacing him with a mix of players who fill different roles is the best chance to do that.
In this league right now, protecting the rim is a big key to winning games. The Heat have plenty of that with Whiteside and Chris Andersen alone. In addition, Bosh, Udonis Haslem, and Amare Stoudemire provide some rim protection.
Another key to winning is having multiple viable scoring options. The Heat have plenty of scoring options.
Wade, Dragic, and Bosh all could be number one options. Rookie Justise Winslow could provide a scoring spark as well as he adapts to the league.
The Heat have depth and experience – both key parts of all of the Heat teams that have gone to the Finals during Wade’s time in Miami.
The expectation that Wade plays the full 82 game season is not a realistic one. But if he can play 60 plus games as effectively as he did last year, the Heat will be in good shape for the playoffs.
The hope is he can stay healthy by sitting out during back-to-backs or against weaker opponents and then be primed for a playoff run.
That is the hope but there’s no guarantee of that. Wade has been frustrated by injuries for years so it is realistic to expect them to become a problem for him again this year.
If he misses significant time, the Heat become a little less scary to the rest of the conference.
One issue that people were worried about when the Heat assembled the “Big Three” was how the ball would be shared. That didn’t prove to be too much of a problem as they became a fixture in the NBA Finals during that reign.
James is gone, Wade is injury-prone, and Bosh missed half of last season with a health issue. The Heat have a variety of scoring options and shouldn’t have a problem putting up points. But who will take the big shot?
Wade took it at times even when LeBron was still in Miami but he’s not the same player he once was. Bosh hasn’t always been a reliable late game option. Will they go to one of them or will Dragic take it for them?
It is not an overwhelming weakness to have but it is something to be worried about as the season gets going.
Heat 2015 Betting Prediction:
The Heat season win betting total is 47. The Heat won 37 games last year and missed the playoffs by one game. Based off of the current state of the East, 40 wins will probably get them into the playoffs. If the Heat stay healthy, they will compete for the top spot in the Eastern Conference.
They have all of the tools to be right there with Cleveland and Chicago.
Four teams in the East won more than 47 games last year and its fair to expect more than that will do that this year.
The Heat will be one of them. Look for the Heat to compete for the top spot in the Eastern Conference.
Heat Key Personnel Losses:
Shabazz Napier and Zoran Dragic.
These are not big losses for the Heat and neither one of them will be felt as Napier proved to be a big disappointment from what he was at Connecticut.
Heat Top Newcomers:
Justise Winslow, Gerald Green, and Amare Stoudemire.
Winslow has a lot of potential and the Heat are a great fit for him to learn. The Heat will rely on him and Green to contribute a lot of quality minutes to keep Wade fresh and healthy.
Stoudemire is nowhere near the player he once was but could provide a decent spark for the second unit from time to time.
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