There will be plenty of adjustments in both the offense and defense for the Miami Heat this upcoming season. Losing the best player on the planet forces your playbook to change quite a bit. Although the Heat were able to re-sign several key players like Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade, Chris Andersen and Mario Chalmers, it will still be a struggle for this current roster to maintain the high level of play this franchise has been accustomed to for the last four seasons.
Luol Deng was one of the first players signed in wake of LeBron James’ departure, and it was done in an effort to maintain conference contention for at least a few more seasons. Deng will not be able to replicate what James does on a nightly basis, but he is a hardworking player who is still one of the top 10 defenders at the small forward position. This is a major reason why the Heat pushed to sign Deng so quickly after James’ decision.
The re-signing of Bosh and Wade likely means the offense will flow through their hands. This doesn’t mean that Deng won’t have plenty of opportunities offensively, but his touches wont surpass what Bosh and Wade will typically get on a nightly basis. Deng flourished defensively under Tom Thibodeau’s tutelage in Chicago, and he will now have the opportunity to do so again with Erik Spoelstra in Miami.
Deng will be called upon to defend some of the best players in the league as the starting small forward for the Heat. Whether or not he is able to handle this responsibility could dictate how successful the Heat are throughout the regular season, and most definitely the playoffs.