As of January 14th, the Miami Heat are sitting at 14th in the Eastern Conference. I almost feel just as bad for Miami supporters who’ve stuck with it, even after Lebron James left.
Last year, the Heat outplayed team expectations while finishing 48-34 with the third seed in the East. Fans were tricked into thinking the team was better than it is, and that they would play the same, or perhaps better the next year.
Right now, they (still) have the restless and tireless Chris Bosh, the young star center Hassan Whiteside, the average point guard Goran Dragic, and a solid young core of Justise Winslow, Josh Richardson, and Tyler Johnson. Besides that, not too much else. And to be frank, the Heat could be foolish and to bolster their roster in hopes of making the playoffs, or they could do the ideal thing and begin the rebuild.
Nostalgic Heat fans will shudder at the idea of a Heat team being without a single remnant of the Big Three, who won three-straight championships. Bosh, who’s dealt with consecutive years of blood-clotting, will be gone next season. It’s a smart move, and it seems to be inevitable. Last year, Bosh sat out from the All Star Break, all the way until the end of the playoffs.
Heat executives hoped that Bosh be able to play this year, but again, his clotting problems have forced him from playing a single game. In late-September of 2016, Heat’s team president Pat Riley stated that Bosh’s career with the Miami Heat was over. Bosh won’t be resigned to Miami next year, and his career in general is still undecided. This move, however, will save the Heat millions of dollars.
Any team would want a young player like Hassan Whiteside. His upside is huge, he averages almost 18 points and 14 rebounds per game. Not to mention his 2.2 blocks per game, meaning he is no pushover on the defensive side either. He is a great player for the Miami Heat to build around. Enough said.
RT this for Hassan whiteside #NBAVOTE @youngwhitesidepic.twitter.com/muCrh9ho71
— Ashly Ariza (@ashlyariza) January 6, 2017
Justise Winslow, the second-year player out of Duke, could potentially be a star. Please key-in on the word “could”.
Last year, he shot 42% from the field, and scored just over 6 points per game as well. Not too bad for a rookie. His 68% at the free throw line was a bit worrying, but nothing that couldn’t be worked on. This year, he only played 18 games before injuring his right shoulder, he underwent surgery to repair for what was a torn labrum, which would end his season. His numbers in those 18 games were concerning, though. His shooting all across the board was significantly worse, and for a small forward, 61% shooting from the free throw line is simply bad. Winslow did start in fifteen oof the eighteen games he played — averaging double figures in scoring. It’s critical that he must work on his shooting touch when he comes back in the offseason.
#Heats‘ Justise Winslow with four assist in the first quarter.#HeatIsOnpic.twitter.com/JPoNY4iHaq
— Darius Cole (@DColeSports) December 30, 2016
Goran Dragic should be traded. He’s played well, much better than his regular career numbers. Moving him before the deadline could mean receiving more than he is worth, and if the Heat plan on starting a rebuild process, they should get as many high draft picks as possible to get young, cheap talent. Maybe then, in three years, Miami could play good basketball around Whiteside and a bunch of young, blossoming players.
If the Miami Heat don’t start rebuilding sooner than later, they are going to ruin what could be a short rebuilding time. For most teams, it takes up to five years to rebuild and start making the playoffs consistently again. For Miami, it could be a shorter period of time if they simply play the cards correctly. And as for Heat-fans, I hope that they don’t squander their chances.