The wonderfully written site, CelticsBlog, asks us to do a preview for the Miami Heat every year. I give it my best shot, and even include an alternate logo below. Chicks dig alternate logos.
Team Name: Miami Heat
Last Year’s Record: 15-67
Key Losses: Ricky Davis (to the Clips), Earl Barron (overseas), Alonzo Mourning
Key Additions: Mario Chalmers, James Jones, Jamaal Magloire (potentially), Shaun Livingston
The Future: Michael Beasley
1. What significant moves were made during the offseason?
No move was larger than taking Big Time Beasley with the #2 overall pick. But outside of the draft, I think the Heat will be happy with bringing one of its hometown boys back to the Sunshine state. James Jones, formerly of the U, has outperformed since entering the league and Miami hopes that he continues to be a solid role-player. Only problem is that he will be out three months with a ruptured tendon in his right wrist. David Padgett out of Louisville, while not a high NBA pick, was an interesting free-agent addition. I always thought that he was a solid PF in college, and should be able to pick up some important minutes since another newcomer, Jamal Magloire could be missing some time. Magloire has a broken left hand, which could leave him on the bench for at least eight weeks. What the hell is up with the Heat? Do they like picking up players with hand problems? Next addition will be Peewee Herman.
2. What are the team’s biggest strengths?
You cannot mention Miami Heat and strength in the same sentence without putting Dwyane Wade’s name somewhere in there. The man is the Miami Heat. He was not healthy last year, and you saw their final record. The team will live and die according to how well Wade plays and if he remains healthy. The Matrix (Shawn Marion) will undoubtedly be a main ingredient. He is going into his ninth year and needs to play with some passion and youthfulness. Cook and Chalmers with Wade and Marion should create a solid backcourt…but then, there’s the…
3. What are the team’s biggest weaknesses?
The Center position! Shaq is gone, and we are all mourning the departure of Mourning. Magloire was brought in to suck up some big minutes and be a large presence in the key. Too bad he will be out of the picture for a while. For all the praise I give Padgett, he cannot defend Dwight Howard or get a board over Ben Wallace. That leaves Mark Blount and a guy named Joel Anthony. Nervous yet? And Udonis is not exactly the toughest and biggest power forward in the league. The Heat desperately need help in the big-man category.
4. What are the goals for this team?
Those that are not yet hurt need to remain healthy. Even though Magloire is hurt, the Heat have a pretty formiddable starting line-up. No team is going to take Wade/Marion/Beasley lightly. When all three are in the game at the same time, it will be a very fun team to watch…especially if the Heat wake up and let Cook or Chalmers run the offense instead of Chris Quinn. When James Jones and Magloire come back and if the rest of the team stays healthy, they could get far in the playoffs…even as a deep seed. So the goal is just to make the playoffs with a healthy team and go from there.
5. Why have we forgotten about Dorrell Wright?
Actually, I have not. I love Wright. He has tremendous talent, but has never been able to seem to learn the offense and get in position on defense. I hope the coaches are busting his ass this offseason, because I would love to see Wright take on a larger role with the team.
Predicted Record: 42-40 (I am confident that the Heat will be much better than last year, but it seems nearly impossible to go from the NBA’s worst team to a top 4 team in either conference. The Heat should make the playoffs, but as a 6-8 seed).