After missing the playoffs in the 2016-2017 season, the Miami Heat will look to rebound and make a big push for the postseason this season. Since last season, not much has changed for Heat. The Heat resigned some of their top players like Dion Waiters and James Johnson. They have also added some new players that will be counted on to make big contributions. Miami signed former Celtics center Kelly Olynyk to a four-year/$50 million contract. They also drafted former Kentucky Wildcat Bam Adebayo with the 14th overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. With the offseason over, it’s time for the Miami Heat to make their mark in the Eastern Conference and try to make a deep run in the playoffs. Here are five things you can except to see from the Miami Heat in the 2017-2018 season.
Hassan Whiteside selected to his 1st All-Star Game
The Miami Heat’s starting center Hassan Whiteside is a top five center in the NBA and one of the top players in the Eastern Conference. The 7’0” center out of Marshall has become one of top defensive players in the NBA with rebounding and shot blocking ability. His offense on the other hand, hasn’t been as great as some of the other centers in the league like Anthony Davis or DeMarcus Cousins. This season should be different as the talent level in the East isn’t the same and Whiteside has worked on offense to elevate his game. Whiteside should not only be an All-Star but could make a case for being a starter depending on how well he plays offensively. Expected Hassan Whiteside to average about 20.6 PPG, 13.7 RPG and 2.8 BPG.
Heat finish inside the top five of the Eastern Conference
In the 2016-2017 season, the Miami Heat finished in the 9th place of the Eastern Conference and just missed the playoffs by one game. That shouldn’t be the case for the Heat this season as they have pretty much kept the same team and have added some valuable pieces to its roster. The Eastern Conference will be not as competitive as it has before with some of its top players leaving to the West. The Heat should have a really good season and pretty much ease their way into the playoffs. Finishing inside the top in the conference should be pretty realistic as they finish behind the Cavaliers, Raptors, Celtics and maybe the Wizards. This is should be a much more enjoyable season for Heat fans to watch.
Goran Dragic leads the Heat in PPG
The Miami Heat are a pretty decent offensive team ranking 16th in the NBA in offensive efficiency last season. Point guard Goran Dragic was the Heat’s lead scorer last season as he averaged 20.3 point per game and that trend should continue this season. Dragic is an underrated point guard who hasn’t received a lot of attention like he received when he was with the Suns. Expect Dragic to average around 22 point per game as the Heat’s offense improves and the Eastern Conference lacks a ton of star power. It also wouldn’t be too farfetched if Dragic was selected to his first All-Star game. It will tough for him to get selected with point guards like John Wall, Kyle Lowry and Kyrie Irving in the Eastern Conference. I don’t expect him to be named an All-Star but he should definitely be in the conversation.
Miami Heat could have top five bench in the NBA
While some fans might not think having a good bench is important, the Miami Heat could have one of the best benches in the NBA ad maybe the best in the East. The Miami Heat bench is full of pretty solid role players like James Johnson, Tyler Johnson and Josh Richardson. The Heat might not have the most impressive starting lineup but they are a very deep team that could count on some of their top bench players to score 15 points. By the end of the season, James Johnson could be one of the finalist for the Sixth Man of the Year Award. He has become one of a fan favorite and a guy the Heat can always count on. Miami’s first round pick Bam Adebayo could also contribute off the bench as he was one of the elite defensive prospects in the 2017 NBA Draft.
Miami Heat make deep run in the postseason
Last season, it was going to be tough for the Heat to make the postseason due to the loss of some there best players with a bunch of new faces. This season, it’s not a matter of whether Miami makes the playoffs or not. It’s more of where will the Heat place in the standings. The Heat were one of the hottest teams in the NBA towards the end of the season and they are one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference now. The Miami Heat are a well-coached team that has great chemistry and does everything good enough to make a long in the playoffs. Miami probably won’t win the Eastern Conference and go to the Finals but they’ll be a tough team to beat in the playoffs. It also wouldn’t be too surprising if they play in the Eastern Conference Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers.