As the 2014-2015 season quickly arrives, the NBA staff here at Sports Unbiased will be delivering you a complete preview of every team in the league. If you would like to check out individual team rankings and regular season win-loss predictions, check out the 2014-2015 Eastern Conference Predictions and the 2014-2015 Western Conference predictions.
Miami Heat 2014-2015 Season Preview
The Heat will begin the regular season without their top player and arguably the best player in the NBA —LeBron James. During the 2013-2014 season the Heat ranked No.1 in the Eastern Conference with a record of 54-28, however, the loss of LeBron in the starting lineup will more than likely result in unfavorable chances of the team reaching the NBA finals this year. Ray Allen is another key subtraction from the roster, but I still rank the Heat among the top-5 teams in the East due to several off-season acquisitions that should help keep this team alive long enough to make the postseason.
- Key Player Losses: LeBron James (SF), Ray Allen (SG), Rashard Lewis (SF)
- Key Player Additions: Danny Granger (SF), Luol Deng (SF), Shabazz Napier (PG), Josh McRoberts (PF)
My starting Five
Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade (when healthy) are arguably two of the top 15 players in the game and should represent their team as 2015 NBA All-Stars, but which player will emerge as the leader? Wade has taken a back seat role over the course of several seasons while Chris Bosh isn’t exactly known as a player who can lead a team to the promised land– as evident in his days in a Toronto Raptors uniform. Simply put, I just don’t have any faith in Bosh maintaining a high level of dominance on a nightly basis, still, the Heat have enough talent among their starters and role players to put numbers on the score board which should translate into a lot of wins.
The starting five looks solid and head coach Erik Spoelstra could go with either Luol Deng or Danny Granger to start the game. Deng offers more of a balance on both ends of the floor. He’s a solid rebounder, a proven scorer who make the most of any looks at the basket, and an underrated defender. Josh McRoberts adds more scoring depth at the back-up forward position, unfortunately, he may not receive medical clearance in time to suit up for the Heat’s season opener on Oct. 29 against the Wizards, as reported by the Miami Herald.
The Heat also have a chip on their shoulders, or “something to prove”, if you will. I believe Wade, Bosh, and Co. are on a mission to prove they can continue to be an elite team, even without LeBron James. Wade has been rumored to be rejuvenated and “looking forward” to entering the season without the same high expectations the team is accustomed to inheriting.
The Miami Heat have a few blemishes in their roster, primarily at the back-up center position. Defensively, Justin Hamilton could find himself relieving Anderson off the bench but I don’t think he offers much aside from picking up easy fouls, so expect Anderson to play even more minutes this season. Another uncertainty is the health of Wade. Can he perform like the elite player we once knew him to be or will his knees give out mid-season?
It should be rather obvious that the Heat may have lost their “free ticket” to the NBA finals, unless of course, Heat president Pat Riley adds more key players to the roster prior to the NBA trade deadline. The chances of another “Big 3” sighting in Miami are highly doubtful and perhaps fans should get used to the idea of a “Big 1 1/2”.
I’m sure we can all agree that the Heat will struggle offensively and defensively without LeBron. Bosh and Wade aren’t exactly 30 points per game type of players, meaning the Heat will have to rediscover their offense as the new roster is still a work in progress.
Overall, the Heat have a great opportunity to exceed expectations, but it will take a valiant effort from Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade, and head coach Erik Spoelstra. Can he motivate a team that suffered such a devastating loss during the 2014 NBA finals, not to mention the departure of their best player? The verdict is still out on the Miami Heat, yet they remain a playoff caliber team.