Record: 41 – 41 (9th in the East)
Season Ended: Missed the Playoffs
Bam Adebayo (PF/C)
Kelly Olynyk (PF/C)
A.J. Hammons (C)
Chris Bosh (didn’t play last year), Luke Babbitt, Josh McRoberts
Projected Starters (Last year averages)
PG: Goran Dragic (20 points, 4 reb, 6 ast)
SG: Dion Waiters (16 pts, 3 reb, 4 ast)
SF: Rodney McGruder (6 pts, 3 reb, 2 ast)
PF: James Johnson (13 pts, 5 reb, 4 ast)
C: Hasaan Whiteside (17 pts, 14 reb, 2 blk)
Kelly Olynyk (PF/C), Justice Winslow (SF), Josh Richardson (PG/SG), Tyler Johnson (PG/SG), Bam Adebayo (PF/C)
Major Story lines
Unfinished Business – Last year the Miami Heat made history. They started the season 11-30…. then went 30-11 to end the year. They actually tied with the Bulls for the 8 seed but lost the tie breaker. According to reports there were tears shed in the locker room after their last game. They brought back their key free agents with huge paydays to keep the core together around Dragic and Whiteside while adding big man depth which was an issue last year. The Heat come into this season on a mission to finish what they started in the second half of last season.
Goran Dragic – The first sign that the Heat are on the brink of something special is the play of Goran Dragic at Eurobasket over the summer. At 31 Dragic is still in his prime and after leading his country to the title and winning tournament MVP (scoring 35 in the final) he’s shown he is a winner.
Mike Predictions (50 – 32) (5th in the East)
- Whiteside is an All-Star, Dragic just misses – There is no doubt that the Heat will be making the playoffs in my mind. Whiteside should be at about a 20 and 10 with 2-3 blocks as well. A healthy Embiid will likely get the votes to beat out Whiteside but the coaches won’t leave this team without an All-Star. I’d put Dragic in also but I worry there may be enough established guards to hold him off.
Josh Predictions (40-42) (8th in the East )
- Hassan Whiteside makes the All Star game – I personally would’ve been fine if all 24 All Stars were chosen from the league as a whole, instead of still selecting 12 from each conference. However a dozen guys from the East still will need to be selected for the game and I think Whiteside is a good choice. He led the league in rebounds (14.1) and was 4th in blocks (2.1), while averaging 17 PPG last season. I think with the weakened Eastern conference, a similar performance will be enough to land him a spot in the All Star game.
- Whiteside is traded before the season ends – This seems a little contrary to my first prediction, but even if Whiteside has a monster season, Miami isn’t likely to win it all anytime soon. A big season by Whiteside might spur Pat Riley to capitalize on the big man’s momentum and send him off in exchange for some young players and/or future picks, thus letting the Miami rebuild officially commence.