Why Miami Heat are hotter than you think

JP Pelosi Columnist

By JP Pelosi, JP Pelosi is a Roar Expert

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    There’s no need to worry, Miami Heat fans. Despite the setback of losing your All-Star big man for the season, something’s still simmering in south east Florida.

    Sure, Chris Bosh would have been great for the playoffs. But with his recent illness, you start to appreciate life is bigger than basketball.

    And that sentiment just might be what’s spurring Bosh’s teammates on as the NBA heads down the home stretch, with Miami well in contention.

    Yes, they remain below .500 at the time of writing this article, but this is the Eastern Conference, where losing basketball can still sell-out stadiums.

    If there’s any team that should be forgiven for such a record, it’s the Heat. There’s certainly been some change in Miami lately, not least of which at the most important position on the floor – point guard.

    The point has been one of the Heat’s achilles heels in recent times, right up there with transition defence and an annoying penchant for stuffing around with their uniform designs. But we won’t hold that against them because even more traditional teams like the Lakers and Celtics have jumped on that bandwagon to nowhere.

    So a motley crew of point part-timers go to the bench and in comes professional playmaker Goran Dragic.

    If you haven’t seen Dragic, you’re probably picturing a 6-5 heavy with from central Europe with a razor sharp haircut. But Dragic is quite the opposite – light, speedy and crafty. He looks a little delicate, but he’s tough as anybody out there. You think Birdman’s hard? He’s got nothing on Dragic.

    Teaming up the young Slovenian with Dwayne Wade was a stroke of genius by Heat general manager Pat Riley. Miami officially has one of the best passing backcourts in the NBA now, where Dragic is the regular set-up man, and Wade has extra space to issue the sorts of clever dishes we sometimes forget he can make.

    And haven’t you noticed how spritely Wade looks with Dragic alongside him? He’s 33, but the combination of the Miami sun and savvy point-guard play seems to have reinvigorated him. It’s almost as if he’s suddenly realised this club has a chance to make some noise come the playoffs.

    Wade also knows Miami still has the tools to do so. Think about their depth: Luol Deng is so versatile at forward. His defence and scoring punch can’t be underestimated. How about Hassan Whiteside? He’s a pogo stick. A rebounding and blocking freak. And unbelievably, because nobody had heard of him before the season. His energy and presence in the middle might be the difference for Miami in the playoffs.

    The role players aren’t too shabby either. Adonis Haslam, Henry Walker, Mario Chalmers – you know the names. More recently, there’s been Tyler Johnson. Altogether? Well, to paraphrase Hubie Brown, “I mean, come on!”

    Now all we need is Miami to win a few more games before April and for the Cleveland Cavaliers to drop a few, and we’ll get an opening round bout for the ages.

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    The Crowd Says (4)

    • March 10th 2015 @ 10:09am
      astro said | March 10th 2015 @ 10:09am | ! Report

      Think some perspective is needed here…

      Look at Miami’s recent wins…they’ve beaten the Knicks twice, Lakers, Orlando, Philly, Phoenix and the Kings in OT. All non-playoff teams and tankers.

      The “spritely” Wade has missed 18 games this year, is limited to 30mins a game, and as we know from last years playoffs, basically can’t make it through back-to-backs any more. But at least he’s only on the books for $16 mil next year and not $20 mil!

      Also, Miami has no depth. None. They just signed Beasley for god’s sake! That’s how desperate they are for bodies…Birdman and Udonis Haslam are in semi-retirement. Henry Walker has played 8 games. Mario Chalmers is shooting 28% from 3. They’re a disaster!

      Look, I love Dragic. And Whiteside has been incredible, and I think everyone hopes he keeps going. But Miami are a non-playoff team in the horrible East or at best, the 8th seed who would be swept by the Hawks in round 1. They are not ‘hot’ now, nor will they be anytime soon. They have no first round draft pick next year. They still have Halsem, Chalmers and Anderson on the books for a collective $12mil next year. Deng is owed $10mil and has posted career low numbers this year, and is clearly not the defender he once was. They will have to pay Dragic and Whiteside (who many teams will chase), and we still don’t know about Bosh’s health.

      The fantasy of Miami vs Cleveland is just that…

    • Columnist

      March 10th 2015 @ 2:34pm
      JP Pelosi said | March 10th 2015 @ 2:34pm | ! Report

      Clearly not a Miami fan then? Appreciate you detailing all these figures here but I go by what I see. In a pretty competitive conference, Miami has shown some fortitude. Nobody’s saying they’re Atlanta but I think they move the ball very well and will be a handful if they make the playoffs. Don’t forget that Dragic is also new and still working himself into the flow. He’ll only get better.

      And while you might think all those role players are past their prime, they play just that – a role. Combined they provide some pretty significant depth of talent. I don’t think you have to have 12 guys to have depth …. 6 or 7 quality players can provide a team with the depth needed to succeed. And that’s all I was meaning.

    • Roar Guru

      March 10th 2015 @ 3:24pm
      Tony Loedi said | March 10th 2015 @ 3:24pm | ! Report

      Two big “IF’s” are required for maimi to be competitive next year- Bosh returning at full health and dragic signing with the heat. If either one doesn’t happen they will struggle again but otherwise they have a very solid starting 5

    • March 11th 2015 @ 1:44am
      express34texas said | March 11th 2015 @ 1:44am | ! Report

      Miami does look a little better now in the past few weeks, but they’re only 6-6 in last 12 and 6-9 in last 15. They haven’t beaten a playoff team in a month and a half. The East is only competitive because the conf. is awful overall. If you’re struggling to make the playoffs in the East, nobody is going to worry about you, especially when your best player is out for the season. Having depth is minimum 8-9 guys who can contribute on a consistent basis. That’s one reason of many why I don’t see ATL doing anything in the playoffs. They have 3 low-level AS at best, and after their top 6, they have basically nothing. It can work in the regular season in a weak conf., but playoffs? Maybe they’ll prove me wrong, but history isn’t on their side.

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