Miami Heat: How Will They Respond After All-Star Break?
There aren’t many events that are more exciting and more entertaining to watch than NBA All-Star weekend.
This year the game was held in Toronto, Canada for the first time in All-Star game history and the stars were all over the building. Drake was all over the scene during the weekend, as was Kevin Hart, Shaquille O’Neal and the biggest headline of the weekend, Kobe Bryant. Out of all of the stars on both rosters, and all of the celebrities in attendance, there was one particular player who we kept an eye on, Dwyane Wade.
The 13-year veteran in the league made his 12th All-Star game in his career. To think that Wade only missed the All-Star game once his career is a feat within itself. It also speaks to the longevity and consistency that he’s had during his professional career.
Wade, even at his advanced basketball age of 34, had a decent outing in front of his elite peers. Wade had a grand time as he finished with eight points, six rebounds and four assists on the night in a 196-173 loss. It was also enjoyable to see him throw alley-oops to his former Miami Heat teammate LeBron James.
— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) February 15, 2016
Speaking of teammates, Wade’s teammate, Chris Bosh was also selected to the roster. However, Bosh’s spot on the team was taken by Atlanta Hawks center Al Horford because of an injured calf strain.
For as good as it was seeing Wade play in the All-Star game, what can his teammates expect during the second half of their season?
Before the beginning of the year if you knew the Miami Heat would have two All-Stars on their team but would have the fifth-best record in the Eastern Conference, would you believe in them?
The Heat this season got to see Wade play out of his mind setting his teammates up in his twelfth All-Star game. That type of consistency that he’s been playing with his entire career is the reason Miami has three championships and multiple appearances in the Eastern Conference Championship game.
For as good as Wade has been this season, the final stretch for his team strictly relies on the consistency of his teammates. Wade can only do so much and it’s going to take an all hands on deck type of attitude if Miami wants to take their team to the next level.
“We’ve said we’re not there (championship contending level) yet, we know that…We’re not in that upper echelon yet…We’ve made strides but we have to continue to make strides.”
– Dwyane Wade
In order to make better strides, Miami will need Hassan Whiteside. He’s arguably one of the most important players on the team and Miami will need him on his best behavior if they want to win. Whiteside’s been dealing with immaturity, and anger issues since he’s entered the league but his teammates now more than ever need him to dial in and focus. The playoffs are only 30 games away and Miami needs his defense to galvanize them in the second half of their season.
Additionally, the one player this season on Miami’s roster that had flown under the radar when it comes to criticism is none other than Miami’s point guard Goran Dragic. This season Dragic’s impact in games has been significantly underwhelming compared to the type of hype that surrounded him before the beginning of the year. Dragic, for the most part, hasn’t looked completely like himself. This season Dragic is only averaging 12.2 points, 5.3 assists and 3.3 rebounds which are by far his lowest totals since he became a full-time starting point guard in the NBA.
In the second half of the season, Miami needs him to not only pick up the scoring but to also become a better defender on defense. Dragic isn’t the key to Miami’s ultimate success for a championship, but an increase in his production could get Miami deep in the playoffs. Dragic is one of the 15 best point guards in the league and maybe the second half of the season will remind him.
— NBA (@NBA) February 10, 2016
The Miami Heat sit at the All-Star break as the fifth-best team in the East. With two All-Stars on a team, that’s underwhelming. Maybe we’ll have to see if they can change their fortune, and get consistency from their team before it’s too late.
D’Joumbarey A. Moreau covers sports in Miami-Dade & Broward County. You can follow him on Twitter @DJoumbarey.