NBA Preview 2014-15 – Miami Heat

The Miami Heat will enter this season full of questions. Gone is LeBron James, and the onus is on others to pick up the slack.  Can Dwyane Wade stay healthy and be the superstar he once was?  Can Chris Bosh get back to averaging 20 and 10 a night?  How will the newcomers fit in?  How will head coach Erik Spoelstra adjust now that one of greatest players ever is wearing a different uniform?

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The Miami Heat will enter this season full of questions. Gone is LeBron James, and the onus is on others to pick up the slack.  Can Dwyane Wade stay healthy and be the superstar he once was?  Can Chris Bosh get back to averaging 20 and 10 a night?  How will the newcomers fit in?  How will head coach Erik Spoelstra adjust now that one of greatest players ever is wearing a different uniform?

It’s easy to dismiss Miami sans James.  But in reality, this team can still win the East.  With Paul George out this season for Indiana, Cleveland being young and having to build chemistry, and Chicago’s star point guard Derrick Rose prone to injury, the Heat should not be overlooked.

It all starts with Wade and Bosh.  Wade actually had the most efficient year of his career last season.  But he only played in 54 games during the regular season.  He’ll have to get more out of his body this year if the Heat are to have a chance.

Meanwhile, Bosh will likely be the new focal point of the team’s offense.  Over the last few years, Bosh has inched further and further away from the basket.  The Heat will need him to be a force in the post this year.  Bosh can be dominant around the rim; but Miami didn’t need him clogging the lane with James and Wade around.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this Miami team is how newcomers Luol Deng, Josh McRoberts, Danny Granger, and rookie Shabazz Napier will complement the stars.  Deng obviously has huge shoes to fill at small forward, but he’s no pushover.  Spoelstra will assign Deng – who was voted to the NBA’s All Defensive Second Team in 2012 – to defend the opposing team’s best wing player on a nightly basis. Spoelstra is hoping there won’t be much drop off on defense.

McRoberts will spread the floor and provide toughness, and he distributes the ball well for a big man.  But he won’t help fix the team’s rebounding woes.  Granger’s ability is dependent on his health.  His game has deteriorated over the years because of injury problems.

Finally, the team brings back Mario Chalmers, Chris Andersen, Udonis Haslem, and Norris Cole.  James Ennis, Shawne Williams, Shannon Brown, and Reggie Williams are also potential contributors.

The Heat currently stand at 60-1 to win the NBA title and 20-1 to win the East.