Miami Heat Season Preview
The Miami Heat won the NBA Finals only two years ago. If you were not alive at the time and somehow developed enough brains to understand the NBA at the age of two, you would barely believe that this team made the playoffs. Anyway, here are your Key Losses that trump the Additions followed by some commentary.
Last Years Record: 44-38
Key Losses: James Posey, Jason Kapono, Gary Payton
Key Additions: Anfernee (Penny) Hardaway, Smush Parker, Daequan Cook
1. What significant moves were made during the offseason?
Jason Kapono can not only knock down the three with regularity; he is the closest thing to a Miami Playboy since Thunder Dan Majerle. The guy won last year’s three-point competition will be making Toronto hot and leaving Miami with a cooler winter beyond the arc. Letting go of Kapono and Posey will force Dwyane to chuck up more threes and taking him out of his main game, which is driving to the hoop, creating openings for other players, and making amazing shots that end up on SportsCenter highlight segments.
Smush Parker was an interesting move. Penny Hardaway was an even more interesting move. Smush will probably get more playing time than Penny. Will he be able to step in for some important minutes? Los Angeles did not seem all that upset to let him go. Will the Heat be able to incorporate him into their offense? Will he step up and hit some threes? Can he handle the ball when J-Will is on the bench, or will D-Wade have to run the offense in those situations?
2. What are the team’s biggest strengths?
The two biggest strengths for the Heat are experience and continuity.
Four out of the five starters were in the original starting lineup in 2006/07. Antoine Walker has been in the fold for a few years now and should realistically understand his role in the offense/defense and be able to step up in place of James Posey. Even though the starting lineup is creeping up in age, the fact that this group has played together as a unit for a bit of time should allow them to win some big games against younger, talented teams. Remember that everyone in the starting lineup has a championship ring. They know what it means to be a champion, which is a definite advantage when playing newcomers to the league.
3. What are the team’s biggest weaknesses?
What is not a weakness for the Heat?
Since I do not have the time to type 5 pages and you do not have the patience to read it, I will just cover one weakness – Antoine Walker. I mean the guy was supposed to be this huge pick up for the Miami Heat, and thus far has gone from a guy the Heat would rely on in clutch situations to a guy relegated to coming off of the bench to a guy who misses easy layups. Not to mention, he is also constantly getting ridiculed for being overweight. Fifteen percent body fat just is not going to cut it in the NBA. Maybe Shaq can enlist Walker in his fat camp.
4. What are the goals for this team?
The goals for the Heat include keeping important veterans with histories of injury problems (Wade, Shaq, Mourning) healthy throughout the season, making the playoffs with those veterans able to play productive minutes, and hopefully getting at least one round of home court advantage.
Beyond that, the team should be focused on continuing to develop Dorrell Wright and begin to mold Daequan Cook. Wright looked great in his limited amount of minutes last year, and definitely seems to be a starting player in the near future. The Heat could surely use a young stud to complement Dwyane Wade and the old guys on offense. Also, White Chocolate (Jason Williams) has been plagued by injury problems in the last few years, and I personally have no faith in Chris Quinn. Cook knows how to play with big-time players after being part of a team that included Greg Oden and Mike Conley, Jr. Will he be the next starting point guard for the Heat? Time will tell.
5. Could the Miami Heat ever top their Golden Oldies promotion?
The answer is obviously no. Absolutely nobody holds the house down like Richard (his favorite food is roast beef, after all – he must be in heaven). And Frances got a new pair of dentures for the 2007/08 season.
But the Heat are definitely giving it their best to come up with a new promotion to shock and awe Jimmy Buffett and friends. Introducing: Miami Heat Anthem Idol. I hope that you are not too interested in competing for the chance to sing the National Anthem…the deadline for entry has expired. But do not worry about your Miami Heat. They are saving money on paying actual performers to sing the anthem so that they can clear up cap space to pay Shaq’s contract.
Predicted Record: 41-41. The Wizards will take over the #1 spot in the Southeast. If the Heat make the playoffs, it will be largely due to Dwyane Wade carrying the old guys (the other Golden Oldies) and young unkowns – on his back.