Don’t look now, but the Miami Heat are still players in the Eastern Conference. The dust has settled after Miami got firebombed with the news that LeBron James was spurning his Miami brethren and taking his talents to Ohio on again. But after all the backlash, crying and talk of picking up the pieces, things are still looking pretty good in South Beach.
The last time I checked the Heat still have a formidable big three of Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade and Luol Deng. People forget that before Bosh came to Miami he was a stud. In his last year in Toronto he averaged 24 points per game and almost 11 rebounds. With the departure of James and an increased role for Bosh, I am willing to bet the former Georgia Tech star returns to similar numbers.
Wade is also another player who can flat out ball. Although he has become increasingly injury-prone and his knees seem to be failing him, I still think he has at least two or three more good years left in the tank. People say he is over the hill and can’t do it anymore, but last season he averaged almost 20 points per game on 54 percent field goal shooting — the best shooting percentage of his career. Wade has always been a beast and could score the basketball; he’s not just going to forget how to play the game because he has a couple nagging injuries that have led to him losing a step. Not to mention he is a three-time NBA champion and 10-time All-Star. Guys like Wade thrive on people writing them off.
Lastly, the Heat brought in Deng through free agency. He is a two-time All-Star who has had a very successful career, the majority of which was with the Chicago Bulls. He is only 29 years old and still has a lot in the tank. Deng plays both sides of the ball and brings a defensive tenacity and grit to Miami that is going to pay big dividends. The guy has been a winner everywhere he has played and on the Heat that should be no different.
With the signing of some key role players like Josh McRoberts and Danny Granger while playing in a weak Eastern Conference, the Heat may be closer than they think to contending for titles again. They may have lost the best player in the world, but this offseason wasn’t a complete failure.