The Miami Heat have had an unmemorable offseason, but that doesn’t mean that their 2018-2019 campaign will disappoint.
The NBA has found a way to make more of a name for themselves this summer.
Whether it’s LeBron James choosing to take his talents to the Los Angeles Lakers or an injury-riddled DeMarcus Cousins deciding to sign with the champions in Golden State; we’ve had a numerous amount of surprises around the league in a short span of time.
Not to mention the more recent news of Kawhi Leonard being sent to the Toronto Raptors in exchange for DeMar DeRozan – it’s been a fun summer for the league.
Although the Miami Heat seem to be one of the only playoff teams that didn’t make any moves. With their 2018 draft pick going to Phoenix in a trade for Goran Dragic a few years back, the only potential moves to make this offseason would be parallel.
Pat Riley and Eric Spoelstra decided that was the right direction to go. Re-signing sharpshooter Wayne Ellington to a one-year contract and pairing that with the signing of the high flying Derrick Jones Jr. turned out to be the plan.
While most fans may read the roster of Miami and think to themselves “complacency,” it’s actually quite the opposite. As generations grow, the sports world seems to become more and more impatient, wanting to “blow up” teams if one or two seasons don’t work out for a franchise with money tied up.
The Heat would disagree with that notion of them being complacent. They believe in developing a culture of hard work and grit, something that professional sports has lost over the years.
The Heat are full of players that, at one point, nobody in the NBA wanted. Now these players have multi-million dollar contracts and play together like a family. A family that has its ups and downs, disagreements, comradery, joy, but most of all this family has passion.
With this bedrock of culture, the Miami Heat have the opportunity to win the Eastern Conference – but how do they do this without any “superstars?”
Stick with your cards, even when everyone thinks your bluffing. In a league that seems to be exchanging players like its a video game, the Miami Heat should own who they are and shouldn’t change themselves for their naysayers, fans, media analysts, or anyone who disagrees about their approach to their culture.
But there are some questions that need answers. Besides a spectacular president of basketball operations and head coach in Pat Riley and Eric Spoelstra, what do the Heat really bring to the table beside grit and culture?
Currently, the Heat have one of the deeper rosters in the NBA. But depth doesn’t always equate to wins, so it’ll be up to Miami’s depth of youth and veterans to team together and blow open the East.
The Heat possess three young prospects in Josh Richardson, Justise Winslow, and Bam Adebayo – who quite literally all have the potential for All-NBA Defense in the near future (Richardson coming close this past season). Respectively, these three players are 24, 22, and 21 years old.
While those three can further a foundation already created in Miami by some of its forefathers, they can’t do it without some veteran help.
All-Star’s Dwyane Wade and Goran Dragic at the two guard positions have the ability to run it back in this LeBron-less Eastern Conference and surprise everyone. Wade is getting some much-needed rest this summer with the intention of re-signing soon, and Dragic has decided it best to stop playing overseas in Slovenia to rest his body after a long All-Star campaign this past year.
These two veterans, along with the ultimate veteran Udonis Haslem, have the ability to – once again – groom the Heat’s three young prospects to strengthen the core of this team. This may be the year where those three prospects tap into their potential and possibly even make way for another All-Star season from Dragic.
Most playoff teams have a few young prospects with gleaming potential and a few talented veterans, so what separates Miami from the rest of the weak Eastern Conference?
James Johnson, Tyler Johnson, Kelly Olynyk, Dion Waiters, Hassan Whiteside, and Wayne Ellington. All of those players averaged double digits in points per game this past season. In this case, depth can definitely equate to wins.
It’s easy to doubt a team full of “journeymen” and “overpaid” players in a league where All-Stars are getting paid between $30-40 million on playoff teams with depth issues. While the Heat have their cap spread out almost evenly all over their roster, star power has been in a problem in the past too – so this season will prove a lot for the future of Miami’s currently assembled roster.
To conclude, the NBA is looking at an Eastern Conference that is essentially wide open with LeBron James leaving. The top contenders will most likely be the usual suspects in the East, but the Heat will have the opportunity to use their family-like roster to dismantle the notion you need a “super team” to get to an NBA Championship.
Can the Miami Heat be the team to take down the super teams of the NBA?