Miami Heat Season Preview: From “Almost Contenders” to “Decent at Best”

Miami Heat Season Preview: From “Almost Contenders” to “Decent at Best”

Goran Dragic, Hassan Whiteside

What an offseason for the Miami Heat. Dwyane Wade leaves, Chris Bosh might be retiring, Hassan Whiteside is staying, Pat Riley tries to make it all look good, and it all happened with Kevin Durant slipping through their fingers.

Well, that might be a bit exaggerating. Durant was never that serious about the Heat. During the regular season they looked like a great spot for him to land in. But things changed quickly for the Heat, losing the best player in the history of the franchise not called LeBron James (who they lost a year earlier), and then not really trying to stop Luol Deng and Joe Johnson from leaving. Signing Whiteside to a max deal was their one big move they can be happy about, but it’s one of those things that doesn’t really upgrade the team. It’s simply paying more to retain what you had.

So who are the 2016-2017 Miami Heat? No one really knows. Everything is very mysterious about Bosh. Is he coming back? Is he retiring? Last season he put up good numbers before the blood clot problems resurfaced. Without him, are the Heat even a playoff team? Not so certain. The Heat are putting a lot of faith in the hands of questionable players, and have a big roster they’re not sure how they’re going to trim down to 15 until it’s time.

Dion Waiters is the main addition. A player who showed the opposite of wise decision making on the basketball floor and in the negotiation room by giving up more money to leave the Thunder and join the Heat after he put himself in a corner. Can he work well with Goran Dragic in the backcourt? Maybe this cooperation will be the biggest thing the Heat’s season hinges on. There’s not a whole lot of creativity elsewhere on this roster. It’ll be interesting to see if Dragic shows unhappiness at some point just like he did with the Phoenix Suns when he decided the team isn’t going anywhere.

The Heat paid Tyler Johnson big money to stay and not go to the Brooklyn Nets. He’s another player who is expected to step up and match his new salary. Josh Richardson, Justise Winslow, and also Willie Reed and Derrick Williams. The Heat have potential, but from the main thing is that from a team that looked very certain and set on a plan and knew where it’s going, everything has been put into a mixer and no one really knows how the finished product will taste like.

Best Case Scenario

Making the playoff. Last season they were one game away from making the conference finals and pitting James and Wade against each other. But after losing so much experience, simply going back to the postseason and not missing it for a second time in three years will be a success. On a more individual note, the Heat actually find out they have depth, Whiteside adds a little bit to his one dimensional game, and Waiters finally plays like the player he thinks he is.

Worst Case Scenario

Bosh retires, Whiteside simply remains the same player without any upgrades, Dragic becomes unhappy fast, Tyler Johnson doesn’t take the next step, and Waiters overstays his welcome before the end of 2016. There’s a lot that can go wrong for the Heat this season, and some of it probably will.

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