Miami will make the playoffs this year. But that doesn’t mean they are a top team in the league.
When you look at this team, they have talent up and down the roster. From the highly entertaining Hassan Whiteside to the tough and gritty Dion Waiters, this team will be in games this year. While they do not have that “star” to put them over the top, Miami has a bevy of solid vets and promising young players.
After missing the playoffs a season ago by a half a game, the Heat will be motivated to get back to the post-season, especially in the weaker East. But with all the talent Miami has, it was a weird offseason to say the least.
When Gordon Hayward hit the free agency market, Miami was one of a few teams thought to having a chance at the star forward. They went all out (like Miami is known to do) when he came for a visit, laying out banners all around the arena and even photoshopping his face in a Heats’ jersey on the team website. Many thought the Heat were front runners at acquiring Hayward, which would have thrusted the team to the top of the East. But at the last second, Hayward agreed to sign with his former college coach Brad Stevens and the Boston Celtics. That signing created a ripple effect for Miami.
The Heat drafted Bam Adebayo from Kentucky to help at the four/five spot. Miami then signed forward Kelly Olynyk, which did not make much sense, seeing as you already have Whiteside and Adebayo. On top of that signing, the team resigned James Johnson to a hefty contract along with Waiters getting a new deal. Guard Goran Dragic lead the way for Slovenia in the Euro-basketball Olympics to capture the title and the MVP (and packed on some height. So this was an eventful offseason to say the least.
Miami will need Whiteside to mature both personally and on the court if they want to maximize their talents around him. Waiters will never turn down a shot he doesn’t like and Dragic’s veteran leadership should keep this team atop the standing this year. Players like Tyler Johnson and Josh Richardson will still be relied on to grown as their minutes continue to rise.
If only Miami could unlock Justice Winslow’s potential, then they would have something on their hands.