The Miami Heat don’t nearly care about their regular season success compared to how much they care about their postseason success.
This team lives for the postseason, which is why they care far more about how they finish rather than how they start. Do they care about getting a high seed? Of course. But at the cost of running their team ragged? Not at all. The coaching staff is going to spend the majority of their training camp and preseason monitoring the status of their star players.
That even includes LeBron James, who recently stated he may not play that much in the team’s first preseason game a week from now against the Atlanta Hawks. LeBron is always in basketball shape, but even he can get fatigued. James was pushed to the limit in the Heat’s postseason run and then spent a month overseas in London, leading the United States basketball team to a second consecutive gold medal victory.
The Heat are faced with a strenuous preseason schedule that features them playing eight games, including two against the Los Angeles Clippers in China. The eight games start on October 7th and conclude with a meeting at home against Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Hornets on the 26th. They’ll also experience a seven day stretch where they play four games, including a back-to-back that has them going from Charlotte to Kansas City.
It’s good to have the team getting back in the swing of things, but it’s also imperative that the coaching staff has the team healthy and ready for the season opener on the 30th.
Outside of LeBron, the team will also closely monitor ailing veterans in Mike Miller, Ray Allen and Dwyane Wade.
Allen has stated that the ankle which was bothering him last season is still feeling sore after practices, while Wade has admitted that the knee he had surgery on over the summer is still limiting him. Wade’s recovery may end up forcing the two-time NBA champion into missing a few preseason games. He has recently been limited in practices.
However, there is some encouragement on the Mike Miller front. Coach Spoelstra stated that Miller “did everything” with the team in a recent practice and was supported by Miller, who stated that his back is getting stronger.
Miller’s ailing back became the focal point of his career, after coming to a near realization that he may end up needing surgery on it. Had Miller received the surgery over the summer, he would have missed the entirety of the 2012-’13 season, as well as possibly losing out on his NBA career. Instead, the 11-year veteran decided to forgo it in order to play with the team this upcoming season.
With Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis now on the squad, there’s going to be less of a demand for Miller’s services meaning that the sharpshooter can take more time off without the Heat having any need to rush him back. Miami has acquired plenty of depth over the past two seasons at the wing in the form of Allen, Lewis and Shane Battier, which bodes well for Miller, who could rest up until he’s healthy enough to consistently contribute.