The Miami Heat are No. 5 in the Eastern Conference and despite having a few difficulties in the past week, they are playing well after a slow start to the season. In a league that has created a culture of teams finding dependency on multiple star players on a team, the Heat continue to find ways to win without one.
Miami Heat Continue Success Despite Star Player
Staying the Course
Even though the Heat are 4-6 in their last 10 games, those six losses have come by an average margin of 5.3 points. Since the Heat sit near the middle of the East right now and clearly do not have any major team issues, staying the course and consistency is key.
One thing that is clear with this team is that every single game it is a team effort. Players step up when they are needed, which has been especially true after losing Dion Waiters for the season due to an ankle injury. Waiters was averaging 14.3 points per game.
Post All-Star Break
Last season, the Heat did a complete turnaround after the All-Star break, so what happens after this year’s break will be something to watch for. Granted last year they were 11-30 in the season’s first half, so 29-23 cannot look too bad for them. Unless they do a 360 in the opposite direction this year, it appears that in an unpredictable Eastern Conference, the Heat can make the playoffs with not as much uncertainty as last year.
Looking to the Team’s Future
However, the question is, just how much more success can they have without a, as Pat Riley says, “whale?”
Hassan Whiteside has not been as impactful as he needs to be for this team as of recent, lacking a consistent scoring effort. Against the losses to the Cavaliers and 76ers in the last week, Whiteside averaged just 6.5 points and 8.5 rebounds. In the Heat’s win against the Mavericks Jan. 29, Whiteside had 25 points and 14 rebounds. Granted, match-ups matter and players have standout games, but looking at box scores recently, it feels a little too inconsistent for a team that looks to him for some leadership.
That defines where the Heat find themselves at right now – finding players to step up enough some nights and really struggling offensively others. Although the team lacks a “star,” they have proved there is hope for teams without one to at least contend for a good playoff spot.
But do not expect Pat Riley to sit quietly once this offseason comes around.
All statistics are accurate as of Feb. 3, 2018.