So, the Heat finished their preseason with four straight wins with a “marquee” win against the Spurs. What does this mean for Heat Nation? What takeaways can the fans hang their hats on? There are many that indicate this will be an exciting season but lets focus on 5:
1. CB1 Leading the Pack
Undoubtedly, much of the game schemes these past four years went through “He Who Shall Remain Nameless.” Now, Chris Bosh is asserting his presence as the consummate leader of this Heat team becoming a more dominant presence in the paint, choosing his point producing spots wisely, and facilitating his fellow teammates. As Bosh reintroduces himself to being the go-to player, the assertiveness he is demonstrating now will certainly shine further during the season:
2. Flash’s Resurgence
Many have speculated as to whether Dwyane Wade’s knees will hold up throughout an entire season. So far, those naysayers are keeping their comments a little more to themselves. D-Wade has consistently increased his point production during these games commensurate to his playing minutes. He seems more at ease and more flexible as he moves around the court even showing a greater confidence in shooting the 3-ball. Oh, and what about his eurostep? That, ladies and gentlemen, is still completely fine. Thank you for asking.
3. Ennis and Napier: The New Dynamic Duo
What if I told you that a team, in the same season, alongside a proven veteran Dynamic Duo, is shaping and developing their future Dynamic Duo? Seems farfetched but that is exactly what Heat Nation will see this season. The ascendancy of James Ennis and Shabazz Napier as important focal points of this team is incredible to watch. With Napier’s keen floor awareness and shooting ability as well as Ennis’s strong entries into the paint and ability to spread out the defense, this point guard-small forward combination will be a sight to behold for the coming years. I mean do rookies, even in preseason games, have the ability to do this at this point in their careers:
4. Deng and Granger: Veteran Skill
Complementing D-Wade and Bosh was a key point of emphasis for Pat Riley and in acquiring Luol Deng and Danny Granger he may, once again, be vindicated as a basketball mastermind. While still very early, Deng’s confidence on the court seems to be in tact coming off a bad year while Granger is steadily becoming the outside presence everyone wants to see. The development both will have under the Heat system will hone these veterans’ skills further.
5. We are Miami, We are HEAT NATION
We can pick apart every aspect of every player’s game but beyond that we should recognize that this HEAT NATION and #Heatlifer taglines are more significant than at any other time. After being in the spotlight for these past four years, the rest of the nation is looking for Miami to wallow in relative obscurity reminiscing about the good old days. Sorry, but that simply is not the Miami way. Miami and its citizen fan base are brash, cocky, arrogant, and extremely unapologetic. That’s who we are. And with the Heat front office completely in sync with that bravado, it is necessary to showcase HEAT NATION off to the Haters whether they like it or not. Others may feel offended and players may return to their no-name, small city markets, but the Heat are still 3-time World Champs, the Heat are still a world-class organization, and the Heat still play for the best city in the world. Deal with it, Haters.
Again, it is still too early in the season to make predictions, but one thing is extremely sure: This will be a fun Heat team to watch and HEAT NATION is along for the ride.