As the NBA season quickly approaches, Right Down Euclid will be previewing all 30 NBA teams, breaking down the strengths and weaknesses of each franchise. This preview will be focusing on the Miami Heat, who last year had a record of 66-16 and won the NBA Championship.
Team: Miami Heat
Coach: Erik Spoelstra
General Manager: Pat Riley
2012-2013 Record: 66-16
Place in Conference: 1st
Leading Scorer: LeBron James (26.8 PPG)
Key Additions: Greg Oden, Michael Beasley, Roger Mason Jr.
Key Losses: Mike Miller
The Heat will be looking to take home the Larry O’Brien Trophy for the third straight season. And once again, they will be the favorites at doing so. Miami starts this season missing only one real contributor from last year in Mike Miller. But they also brought in former No. 2 overall pick Michael Beasley and former No. 1 overall selection Greg Oden. Both of these players are wildcards but could end up paying dividends as Miami goes for the coveted three-peat.
Strengths: Pretty much everything. You name it and the Heat ranked in top 10 for it in 2012-13. Assists per game? Seventh. Three-point shooting? Second. Points per game? Fifth. Opponents points per game? Fifth. Steals? Yup, that’s right, third. I expect this dominance to continue considering all they did this offseason was add potential talent. LeBron and Dwayne Wade, even though he is aging, will still be a lethal one-two punch.
Norris Cole has only gotten better since his rookie year, and I look for him to combine with veteran Mario Chalmers to make a solid point guard rotation. Defensively, the Heat will still be a force to be reckoned with. Last year, opposing teams shot the ninth worst true shooting percentage against the Heat. They also had the seventh best defensive efficiency rating. The reason for their success stems mainly from the fact that Miami players bring the effort each and every night. With a guy like LeBron as the team leader, it’s tough not to.
Weaknesses: Rebounding, and that is it. They were last in the league in rebounding a season ago. If there is one knock on the Heat since LeBron joined, it is that they have never had a real post player. Joel Anthony, Dexter Pittman and Erik Dampier have all tried to be the interior player that they need, but all have failed and failed miserably. With no real height, Miami has been out-rebounded by teams almost for the past three seasons. It goes mainly unnoticed since they have had a wining percentage over .700 during that span. However, it could be different this year. It all depends on one man’s knees. If the seven-foot Oden can be healthy and even become a sliver of the player scouts thought he could be, the Heat may finally have found a legitimate post threat. Oden could fill the void and be guy who blocks shots and grabs rebounds.
2013-2014 Season Predictions: I would not bet against Miami repeating as NBA Champions. They still have LeBron, and as long as he is wearing a Heat uniform, I will consider them the favorites. They will win 60-plus games in 2013-14, and not only do I think King James will be team MVP, I think he will most likely capture the league-wide award as well. Sorry Cavs fans, the Heat will rule the East for at least one more year.