2019-20 NBA Team Preview Series: Miami Heat
Lynne Sladky, Credit:AP
The 2019-2020 NBA season starts October 22nd and to get you ready for tip-off, Off the Glass is previewing all 30 teams. Today we look at the Miami Heat.
2018-2019 Record: 39-43, 3rd place in the Southeast Division
Season Recap: The Heat ended up two games behind the final playoff spot in the East. Their season was dominated by the Retirement/Farewell Tour of their franchise everything, Dwyane Wade. Wade’s jersey swaps at the end of games became more important than anything going on with this team. The Heat struggled to score at times, but they maintained a top 10 defense all season according to Defensive Rating. They also lost key players to injuries throughout the season, most notably All-Star guard Goran Dragic missing 46 games. Despite not making the playoffs, the team saw real growth in some of their young players like Justise Winslow and Bam Adebayo. Winslow saw a great deal of time as a point guard and excelled in his role with career highs in points and assists per game. Adebayo also posted career highs in his per game averages.
Key Losses: Hassan Whiteside, C; Dwyane Wade, G; Ryan Anderson, F; Josh Richardson, G
Key Additions: Jimmy Butler, G/F; Meyers Leonard, C
Preview: The Heat wanted a star and they got a star. That star is Jimmy Butler. After a tumultuous season that saw Butler in conflict with everyone, he still managed to be the guy for the 76ers come playoff time. He was a huge reason that the 76ers took the eventual champion Raptors to seven games, losing on one of the craziest shots in NBA history. The Heat were also able to get rid of Hassan Whiteside and clear the way for Bam Adebayo. The Heat boast a team that has solid veterans, a star, and some nice young pieces. The playoffs are a definite reality for this Heat team. The Heat also have pieces that could be used to make a midseason move should they choose to. Namely, the expiring contract of Goran Dragic. While the Heat may struggle to score once again, they should defend like there’s no tomorrow. Butler gives them a definitive go to guy at the end of games that can create for himself and others. The development of Justise Winslow and Adebayo seems more important to the trajectory of this Heat team. If they are able to take a leap, the Heat will be a tough team in the Eastern Conference.
Player to Watch: Justise Winslow
Team X-Factor: Offensive Efficiency
Worst Case Scenario: Jimmy Butler realizes that this team is not the 76ers and has more in common with the Timberwolves and decides that he wants out once again.
Best Case Scenario: The young guys give Jimmy Butler enough support to push the Heat to a top four spot in the East and their defense makes them a difficult out in the Playoffs.
Actual 2019-2020 Prediction: 45-37, 1st Southeast Division