Amid so much heartbreak for Miami sports fans thus far [looking directly at you Canes/Fins not so much after Campbell took over], it is exciting to see the new Heat squad take the floor for their preseason games. In anticipation of games now counting starting tomorrow, there are many positive things to look forward to for the upcoming 2015-2016 season but here are five:
1. Return of the REAL Kings of South Beach
Yes, all is well in South Beach. Chris Bosh is fully healthy and D-Wade resigned to stay home. With both All-Star leaders back, the Heat can hit the ground running this season with talent and stability. This team could never be the same without CB’s versatility and would never be the same without The Franchise. Their presence will be felt on the court disarming defenses and creating masterful plays like this one:
2. Added Depth
Without question, Pat Riley knew how to revamp last year’s roster with one key in mind: depth. Gone were the days where the stars would carry the heavy burden of gaining leads and the bench attempting to keep it. No, this roster is primed to create a continuous onslaught that will really scare many teams especially in the East. Beginning with a Top 100 starting five in D-Wade, CB, Whiteside, Dragic, and Deng plus the added veterans of A’mare Stoudemire, Gerald Green and the return of key role players like the Birdman, Chalmers, Johnson, Haslem (Mr. 305) and obviously McRoberts will definitely put defenses on edge. There’s much to expect from this renewed bench including such plays like these:
3. Young Guns Report
As if added veteran depth wasn’t enough, the Heat undoubtedly won the lottery on Draft night picking Justise Winslow and Josh Richardson. The focus is primarily on Winslow to not only develop his athleticism and scoring abilities further but also to be groomed as the potential heir to D-Wade, or at least his backup in the meantime. In only one year at Duke, he showed a tremendous presence on the court able to score and slash from different points, pass the ball seamlessly, and survey offenses with an innate defensive sense. In this section I also include Richardson as a good defender and potential scorer as well as Ennis who, if he gets his mind right, can uncap the massive potential to deliver points at will. But, coming back to Winslow, he has shown a spark already of what he can do:
4. The Wide World of Schemes
Having so much depth and youth, there is an endless array of units Coach Spoelstra can field. Obviously, the starting 5 as already said is easily in the Top 3 in the East and Top 10 in the NBA. But can you imagine such lineups as the All Bigs (Bosh, McRoberts, Whiteside, Andersen, and Stoudemire) or how about Fast and Furious (D-Wade, Green, Winslow, Ennis, and Dragic) or maybe Defense Central (Deng, Whiteside. McRoberts, Richardson, and Stoudemire/Andersen) or maybe Pick and Role Galore (Bosh, Dragic, McRoberts, D-Wade, and Winslow). I mean the possibilities are endless which again keeps with the exciting theme that teams cannot afford to let up on any variation of Heat squad they face.
5. Heat Nation Present
Every year is a roller coaster for a Miami sports fan. For the Heat, last year that roller coaster went around dives and unexpected turns. The Legone novela, Bosh’s health, McRoberts out for the entire year, no chemistry with the new role players, the coming of the Dragon and the emergence of The Great Whiteside all provided a sense of endless variation which honestly did not allow the Heat to gel at the right time to make a run for a championship, much less entry into the playoffs. This year is primed to be different. This year, barring any unexpected health complications, Riley has provided a certain stability to the entire roster with a formative identity on which to build on. And HeatNation is chomping at the bit to see this iteration of the Heat start the season with a bang.
So, HeatNation, are you ready? Are you fired up? Are you preparing to chant Seven Nation Army at the top of your lungs? You are? Then welcome to 28th season of Miami Heat Basketball!