Thanks to a myriad of injuries, chemistry issues, and players being inserted in and out of the lineup the Miami Heat found themselves on the outside looking when the NBA playoffs rolled around. The team went from one of the best in the league, into a below average team in the span of eight months.
The bright side is though during the process Miami found Hassan Whiteside, they traded for Goran Dragic, and they drafted Justise Winslow and Josh Richardson in 2015.
However, this next eight months will be significantly different for the Heat because this team has reloaded with a lot of talented players that will make an impact for this franchise. It might be very difficult to say, or even see at this point, but this Heat roster could be the deepest one in the last ten years. Here are five reasons why this is the deepest Heat team in the last decade
Your HEAT put on a show tonight and all for a good cause. Roll the highlights >>https://t.co/dvSNhN0eTr
— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) October 16, 2015
1. The Starting Lineup
Most teams rely on their starting lineup to bring in a lot of points for the team. This Miami Heat roster will be one of those teams because the starting lineup that they boast legitimately has four players that could make the All-Star game this year. Dwyane Wade, Goran Dragic, Hassan Whiteside and Chris Bosh are still playing with the best years ahead of them and their individual talents combined with the coaching of Erik Spoelstra will put them all in a position to exceed greatness.
This lineup in all actuality is one of the most balanced that Miami has had in a long time and that includes the rosters with LeBron James, and Shaquille O’Neal. From numbers one through five, all of them have the ability to score around 12-22 points per game and that’s not a sentence many teams in the NBA can say.
The HEAT bench really enjoyed this one. https://t.co/nVoA34Et3h
— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) October 18, 2015
2. Depth at Center
During the time that LeBron James was in Miami the only two positions that needed to get upgraded were the point guard position and center position. Now that Hassan Whiteside has emerged into the steal of a century and he’s playing in a Heat jersey, it gives Miami the necessary depth at a position they’ve been weak at for a few years.
Whiteside alone is an upgrade but the fact that Miami now also has Chris Andersen, Josh McRoberts, and Chris Bosh to also help pick up the slack on the interior is a blessing that many teams don’t have. Those are three capable centers who can play 15-20 minutes a night. Additionally, don’t forget about Udonis Haslem. At 35-years-old Haslem is the all-time leading rebounder in franchise history and he’s still able to produce in spurts. Let’s also keep in mind that Amar’e Stoudemire also is on the roster and he’ll be able to spell at either the power forward or center spot.
3. PG’s Rule the World
How could we not talk about everyone’s favorite position, point guard?
The point guard situation is the best it’s been at since Tim Hardaway was on the roster back in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. Goran Dragic is low-key one of the best point guards in the game and he’ll bring a ton of excitement to fans. Furthermore, his backups are also big time players too.
Whatever it is that Pat Riley did to find Hassan Whiteside worked, because he also brought along Tyler Johnson out of nowhere as well. Johnson last season played a lot because of the injuries to Dwyane Wade and because of the Norris Cole trade. What Johnson did last year and this summer in the summer league was earned himself the backup point guard role. Johnson’s a big scoring guard that excels at getting into the paint and finishing at the rim. Sound familiar?
Johnson like Dragic thrives at getting penetration and he’ll only get better learning from one of the best in the game.
Tyler being Tyler ⬆️ pic.twitter.com/IAq91nOxHc
— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) October 19, 2015
4. Wade’s Replacement
Who’s going to replace Dwyane Wade? Who’s going to replace Dwyane Wade? He’s almost out of his prime and he can’t stay healthy.
That hoopla was all the talk that occurred over the summer when people realized that Wade couldn’t stay healthy last year. This year Wade won’t have to worry about a replacement and neither should you. However, what Wade should look forward to is someone off of the bench who can get him off of the court and give him an extended rest in order for him to come into the game fresh and ready to produce.
Say hello to the No. 10 pick in the draft, Justise Winslow. Right now Winslow is listed as a small forward in most lineups but with his skill set its only a matter of time until he starts to play the two guard position. At 6’5 it’s pretty difficult to play against players that are 30 pounds heavier and three inches taller at small forward.
In addition, the Heat also picked up swingman Gerald Green who’s more than just a dunker. Green has come down to Miami to play better defense in order to win himself and his teammates a championship.
5. 15 Deep
The biggest sign that the Heat have a mini All-Star team on their hands is the fact that there bringing so many talented players that were starters last year off of the bench.
Gerald Green was a key contributor to the Phoenix Suns success in the last two years and has been a big time player in the league off of the bench as well. Josh McRoberts himself was a starter on a playoff team for the Charlotte Bobcats and now has to come off of the bench because of the depth on this team.
Even Mario Chalmers is forced to come off the bench and he was a starting point guard for two championship teams. Justise Winslow on most teams in the lottery would start at the two or three but because of the veteran leadership on this team he’ll have to have his growing pains come from bench splinters.
James Ennis, Josh Richardson, and Chris Andersen might have to wear suits on the nightly because this team is already stacked with 12 players able to play. Either way, it’s a good problem to have many horses in the stable.
D’Joumbarey A. Moreau covers sports in Miami-Dade & Broward County. You can follow him on Twitter @DJoumbarey.