Miami HEAT Season Preview: Crank Up The HEAT Style
By: Pedro Heizer
The 25th season of Miami Heat basketball will kick off October 30th as the Defending NBA Champions face the Boston Celtics at the American Airlines Arena in a night where LeBron James will finally receive his elusive first championship ring, and Dwyane Wade will add another one to his collection.
After yet another terrific offseason orchestrated by Heat president Pat Riley, the Miami Heat were able to sign one of the biggest sought-after free agents, Ray Allen.
Allen comes to the NBA Champions after spending the past five seasons with the Boston Celtics. Allen rejected a two-year $12 Million deal by Boston and came to Miami for much less.
Not only did Miami sign Ray Allen, but they also landed his former teammate from Seattle, Rashard Lewis.
Unlike the previous championship offseason back in 2006, the Heat got better this time around with the additions of Allen and Lewis. Both are lethal from beyond the 3-point line and they will join Mike Miller, James Jones and Shane Battier and let threes rain from downtown at the American Airlines Arena this season.
Below is the 2012-2013 Season Preview:
- Mario Chalmers
- Dwyane Wade
- Udonis Haslem
- LeBron James
- Chris Bosh
During media day, Bosh said he was finally at peace with the idea of playing center for the Heat. Personally, Haslem would be much better off in a starting role like he used to be before the Big Three and having players like Joel Anthony and Dexter Pittman come off the bench would be a huge boost for the team.
Probably the shocker everyone reading this sees is the fact Ray Allen on the bench. Well, Ray Allen will be a reserve for the first time in his career, but that’s the sacrifice he wanted to make in order to join the defending champions. This in no way means Allen will only play with the second unit, he will clearly play with LeBron, Bosh, and Wade but having him start would hurt the team.
Most people out there want to move Wade to point guard and have Allen be the starting shooting guard but that’s not a good idea. Wade is not a point guard, he tried that his rookie season and it didn’t work out. They tried again in the Beasley era and it failed once again. Wade is a shooting guard, and one of the best, so don’t fix what’s not broken.
Chalmers has earned his spot as the starting point guard of the team and so putting anyone else but Chalmers at the helm would not be a good idea. Yes, LeBron will handle the ball most of the time and Cole is a better player for the run-and-gun offence Miami likes to run, but Chalmers is a hard-nosed defender and is not afraid of taking the big shot if Coach Spoelstra calls his number.
- Ray Allen
- Shane Battier
- Norris Cole
- James Jones
- Mike Miller
- Joel Anthony
- Rashard Lewis
Significant Off-Season Additions:
- Ray Allen
- Rashard Lewis
Significant Off-Season Losses:
- Ronny Turiaf
- Juwan Howard
Man on the Hot Seat: Dexter Pittman
It’s no surprise that the Miami Heat organization is frustrated with the development of Dexter Pittman. There was a time where people in the organization thought Pittman would be the center of the future for Miami but so far he has not stepped up to the plate when he’s given opportunities.
During the offseason, a Heat official said the team was disappointed in Dexter Pittman’s summer league work and “this is a crucial training camp for him. But the slate is clear.” Pittman has a guaranteed contract ($854,389) and seems likely to stick but has been assured nothing.
He must prove to Coach Erik Spoelstra and the rest of the organization that he’s the man for the job. He needs to be the Dexter Pittman that played with the Texas Longhorns.
The bitter taste of the 108-66 debacle to start the 2006 NBA season to the hands of the Chicago Bulls is still in the mouth of many Heat faithful. In fact, that entire season was a mess and it felt like the Heat were still hungover from the championship they won the previous season.
This time around things must be different. Wade and Haslem, the only two players remaining from the 2006 championship and the debacle the year after, need to set the tone early and show the team that a championship hangover is something they can’t afford this time around.
Yes, this Miami Heat team is a very different one from the one that won it six years ago, and that will work to their advantage but Miami needs to get out of the gates guns blazing versus the Boston Celtics on October 30 and they can’t let up one minute this season. It’s like Chris Bosh said at media day, “We will now have an ever bigger target behind our backs.”
2012/13 Record: 68-14 (1st seed in the East, 1st in the southeast division)
Playoff Prediction: Beat Oklahoma City Thunder in NBA Finals (4-3)
Yes, the Los Angeles Lakers got much better this offseason with the shocking additions of Steve Nash and Dwight Howard, the Lakers are now a force to be reckoned with in the Western Conference. But, Oklahoma City in my eyes, at least this season, are the team to beat in the West.
Just like with Miami two years ago, the Lakers will need to gel together. Rome wasn’t built in one day, the Lakers will have their growing pains much like the Heat did two seasons ago. Can the Lakers make it to the finals? Of course. A Lakers/Thunder Western Conference Finals will be one of the most exciting series to watch. But to me, Oklahoma City has been together for a very long time and they will once again meet the Heat in the Finals.