The Miami Heat lost LeBron James and what had seemed to possibly be a dynasty was gone. Last year Miami wanted to prove they could compete without LeBron and injuries plagued the team all year long. This year things changed and the team stayed relatively healthy, with Wade playing the most games he has in a season since 2010-11. Then there is Chris Bosh who has a very scary issue with blood clots who the Heat will miss dearly. The Heat will more than likely be without him for the entire playoffs so others must step up.
The team has a lot of offensive deficiencies that would not be so noticeable if Bosh was still in the picture. They have pretty much zero spacing ranking 27th in 3pt percentage and good teams will make it really hard on them to get in the paint. Their saving grace has been their defense which ranks 7th in the league and that is led by Hassan Whiteside. Whiteside might be obnoxious to some, but the man knows how to defend the rim, averaging almost 4 blocks a game. Their best defensive lineup includes Dragic-Wade-Winslow-Deng-Whiteside and is honestly my personal favorite of theirs and I hope we see the lineup out there a lot this season. Oddly enough it is also their fastest lineup which leads me to believe the team should possibly pick up the pace a bit.
Their is the acquisition of Joe Johnson this season that had Heatnation so excited for the postseason and it easy to see why. The Heat’s offensive efficiency for the year is 104.2 and jumps up to 114 when Joe Johnson is on the court. The spacing he brings to the team is invaluable to a team that is severely lacking in 3 point shooters. His 41.7% from deep keeps defenders honest and allows other guys to operate a little bit more. Another player you may not know of is Josh Richardson who is shooting a ridiculous 46.1% from deep and do not be surprised if one of these two are in the game at all times. Joe Johnson is in the 93rd percentile in spot up and Josh Richardson is in the 84th percentile. The two will be used more than we have ever seen them before so do not be surprised to see them light up a team that does not respect them.
I hope we see Wade’s game hit another level in the postseason, because the more I look at the numbers for type of plays, Bosh ranks at the top of almost everyone for the team. The team needs someone who can take over late in games and we all know Wade is capable of doing that, it is just a question of whether or not he can do it in volume. He has been shooting 16 shots a game and I honestly want to see that number rise to 18 or 19 shots.
They face the Charlotte Hornets who they tied to season series with 2-2. The Hornets are no pushover and will push Heat to a limit I think they need to be pushed to before facing the teams in the later rounds. The Heat can make it to the conference finals this year and that is where I have them going. The team needs to be much better than they have been this year and I believe they can. I have them winning the series against the Hornets in 7, and it will be a close series.