2008-2009 Miami Heat Season Preview
2008 Miami Heat preview from the Maddux Sports experts. In addition to the free previews Maddux also provides FREE NBA DAILY PICKS.
Last season, the Miami Heat (15- 67) were as cold as could be. Two years ago the club won it all, last season they could barely win a game. Miami was 29th in offensive efficiency and 25th in defensive efficiency. It was a precipitous fall from prominence to nothingness. Super front-man Shaquille O’Neal was simply diminutive in 2007- 2008. Dwayne Wade and Alonzo Mourning were both injured and Shawn Marion and Marcus Banks, acquired in the O’Neal trade, also got injured after coming to Miami. The season was simply a disaster.
From start to finish, the Miami Heat were simply out of it. Blame O’Neal’s malingering; bad luck when it came to injury and the underperformance of an entire team for their deplorable season. Slow paced, unable to score, rebound or defend and coached by an extremely frustrated Pat Riley, the Heat could do nothing but lose. New coach Erik Spoelstar, who has worked his way up through the Heat ranks, has been mentored by Riley and was handpicked by him for the job.
The Heat drafted well, choosing ready-to-play forward Michael Beasley and guard Mario Chalmers. Beasley has double-double potential and Chalmers looks to have the maturity to contribute instantly. James Jones brings a sweet three-point shot and five years of experience to Miami. Yakhouba Diawara will provide defense upfront and rebounding prowess.
The frontcourt looks to be soft with O’Neal gone and the Heat hoping to fill the paint with new guy Mark Blout. At seven-foot-even and 250 pounds, the forward center doesn’t really possess the chops to command the rim. Last season, he played 22.3 MPG, averaging 3.8 RPG. Vets Shawn Marion and Udonis Haslem and rookie Beasely will share playing time. Exactly how this combo will work out is unknown. Marion, a double-double guy with 10.2 RPG and 15.4 PPG, will be motivated by his free agency. Haslem is a good shooter, hitting 47% from the field, and a decent rebounder. Beastley offers a fine shot and the potential to average 18 to 20 points per game.
Last season, guard Dwayne Wade was limited to 51 games. In 2006, he was the NBA Finals MVP. For the past two seasons, he’s had a tough time staying healthy. Last year, he averaged 24.6 PPG and 6.9 APG. He hit just 27% of his threes. The athletic and savvy Wade is overpowering when healthy. Beastley, a versatile forward, could spell Wade, giving quality minutes in the backcourt. Wade, who is really a shooting guard, would like to relinquish the point entirely. Chris Quinn is reliable and smart; he may get a shot at point. Rookie Chalmers may also see action in the point position.
The Heat will do better than last season but they won’t put up winning numbers. A fourth-place Southeastern Division finish and ninth-place finish in the East look to be the best-case scenario for this franchise. At 37 years old, Erik Spoelstar, who will have something with which to work if this team stays healthy, is the youngest coach in the league. If nothing else, it should be an interesting year.