After an unprecedented turnaround of a season last year, the Miami Heat will look to have a more successful start to the season and hope to make the playoffs come April. The Heat went from 11-30 in the first half of the season to 30-11 the second half, but fell short of the playoffs after losing the season tiebreaker to the Chicago Bulls. Although they did not make a lot of moves this off-season, the team looks to continue that late-season success from last year and turn it into a better start for the 2017-18 season.
Countdown to NBA Tip-Off: Miami Heat Season Preview
What Worked Last Season
Just a few weeks into 2017, the Heat won 13 games straight, including a win at home against the Golden State Warriors. The team began to gain momentum and consistency, which they lacked early in the season. They did not make any moves or changes that led to the 30-11 turnaround. It has simply become a question of whether this team really has what it takes to do well and they just struggled early, or if it was a lucky fluke. After a quiet off-season while maintaining the core group from last season, it seems Pat Riley believes it to be for real.
What Needs Improvement
One of the biggest setbacks for this team is they are young and do not have a lot of experience as far as postseason basketball and veteran leadership. After losing Dwyane Wade last summer and Chris Bosh because of injury, the Heat are still redefining where they are at after only Udonis Haslem remains from the Big Three era.
The Heat kept low after failing to pick up any “whales,” as Riley likes to say. The team hoped to get Gordon Hayward, who eventually decided to head to Boston. Heat fans on Twitter then had hopes for Kyrie Irving, who would also end up with the Celtics.
The Heat did pick up Kelly Olynyk from Boston along with drafting Bam Adebayo out of the University of Kentucky. As mentioned, they also retained most of their team from last year, including Dion Waiters and James Johnson. They will also have a healthy Justice Winslow — someone who has potential if he stays healthy.
After last seasons’ late efforts were cut short, the Heat are expected to make the playoffs this year, especially considering how dismantled the Eastern Conference became this off-season. Hassan Whiteside could make his first All-Star appearance this season and Goran Dragic is coming off an impressive summer performance after leading Slovenia to the EuroBasket championship.
This team might not have any huge stars, but they are not willing to give up easily, and that is worth something considering how the competition in the East has changed. As long as everyone stays healthy, the Heat could be looking at somewhere around a fifth-place finish in the East.
MIAMI, FL – MARCH 31: Hassan Whiteside #21 of the Miami Heat in action during a NBA game against the New York Knicks on March 31, 2017 at AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Ron Elkman/NHL/Getty Images)