2009-10 Miami Heat Season Preview
It was a season where the Miami Heat (43- 39) made a major rebound, winning 28 more games than they had the season before. That’s right in 2007- 2008 the Heat garnered just 15 victories. Why did they win 28 more games last season? One major factor was the return of super star Dwayne Wade (30.2 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 7.5 APG), Wade was, once again, playing like a superstar. In the prior season, the shooting guard appeared in just 51 games. Dealing with a shoulder injury made him tentative and ineffective. Last year, he played in 79 contests and stayed relatively healthy. Wade led the team into the playoffs. However, the post-season was short due to the fact that most of the team’s offense was generated by Wade. There was, however some decent play on defense last season that aided the team. And the midseason trade where the Heat got Jermaine O’Neal (13.3 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 1.8 APG) and gave up Shawn Marion was helpful. Two problems for the Heat were the number of fouls they committed and their inability to defend against the three-point shot.
One question regarding the frontcourt has to do with O’Neal. Can he regain his old inside-out game. After 13 NBA seasons, O’Neal’s knee problems often compromise his performance. It might be tough this season to get any more out of him than the Heat did last year. The small forward spot features second-year man Michael Beasley (13.9 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 1,0 APG). Beasley is a gifted shooter but he has to hone his defensive chops. Power forward Udonis Haslem (10.6 PPG, 8.2 RPG, 0.33 BPG, 0.57 SPG) offers toughness and a fine work ethic. He led the club in rebounding last season.
At the point, Mario Chalmers (10.0 PPG, 2.8 RPG, 4.9 APG) starts with a year of NBA experience now under his belt. He did a good job during last season but became a nonfactor in the post-season. The Heat hope to see him develop more this season. Finally, Wade returns at the shooting spot. It’s unfair to ask him to put the numbers up again that he posted last season. But if he can that will be a boon to the Heat.
Overall, this team is strong defensively. The players are scrappy and unrelenting. An improvement in three-point “D” would be very helpful, but otherwise this is a sound club when it comes to preventing points. Offensive depth is a major problem for the Heat as it was last season. These guys will most likely make it into the post season, but they will struggle in the playoffs until Wade gets adequate backup.
In replacing coaching legend Pat Riley, Erik Spoelstra did a fine job in what was his first season as a NBA coach. A word of caution for this season has to do with the fact that Miami is still heavily dependent on Wade and the type of huge numbers he put up last year. If the star guard has an off-season, the Heat will be back in the cellar. Let’s say he has another dynamite season. With that being the case, the Heat will finish fourth in the division and seventh in the conference, going to the playoffs again.