The Miami Heat are in a weird situation right now. They don’t have a true superstar, any cap to get one, and the future picks stash looks limited, but they are a good team and should make the playoffs. They have been linked to Jimmy Butler, but it’s tough to see them getting one when they have reportedly refused to include Josh Richardson or Bam Adebayo in a trade. Their win total is at 40.5 and they look like a .500 team. That’s not a great place to be in today’s NBA.
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A big question with this team is Hassan Whiteside. He famously has had issues with effort and attitude throughout his career, but he seemed to have figured it out the last couple years. In 2017, he had career highs with 17 points per game and 14.1 rebounds per. Last season he was productive, but his issues took his minutes down and in the playoffs he was a non-entity only averaging 15 minutes per game. There are a ton of questions about him going forward. If he can return to being that dominating force we saw, this team could be quite good. There are reasons to believe he can as he’s said to have come into training camp in phenomenal shape. That said, the track record on this guy isn’t the best.
Josh Richardson’s potential is a subject of a ton of debate. There are those who think the Heat should just trade him for Jimmy Butler and be done with it, but the team believes in him and there are reasons to believe they are smart to do so. He’s improved across the board in every season and with his defense prowess, he could be this team’s future Butler or Kawhi Leonard. He could be an 18 PPG scored this season and if he can do that while guarding the best perimeter players in the league, he should be untouchable.
Another player that has tons of potential is Justise Winslow. There are a lot of people who think he’d be better off getting moved somewhere to continue his development, but I’m not sure that is the case. The team has been experimenting with him at point guard and his ballhandling is excellent for the position. He came into the league as an elite defender and improved his three-point shooting last season. I can see him being a big part of this team this season.
Which is perhaps the problem, they almost have too many players. Richardson, Winslow, Dwyane Wade, Dion Waiters, Wayne Ellington, Tyler Johnson and Goran Dragic will all need minutes and that’s before you get into the big men. Spoelstra really has his work cut out for him this season and that’s before you consider a potential trade.
This team is deep and they have a lot of players who could improve on last season. They will be a good defensive team and in the East, they should most definitely be a playoff team. I can’t see them finishing below .500 this year. With the current squad and the trade rumors, I like this team to easily go over. I just don’t see them going very far after that.
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