The Miami Heat Now, And Moving Forward


Coming into the 2014-2015 NBA season, no one thought things would be easy for the Miami Heat. After failing to three-peat during the postseason, the Heat went from facing ridicule about their loss to the San Antonio Spurs, to dealing with months of speculation about whether or not LeBron James would return in the fall, to finally having to quickly rebuild the team after the news of James’ departure finally broke.

However, all of those events aside, the organization still seemed to keep it’s head high, focusing on things like having resigned Chris Bosh and having drafted Shabazz Napier. It also made sure to do what it could to keep the Miami fan base afloat.

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Then the season started and the circus seemingly came to town. Unable to get what they needed from a handful of their players, the Heat sent and recalled guys from the D-League on a continuous basis. Injuries also became abundant, sidelining what appeared to be a new face every week. Mario Chalmers remained a scapegoat, Norris Cole lost his way and Danny Granger and Josh McRoberts proved to be at best, subpar, off-season acquisitions. It became strikingly clear that the success Miami had during the Big Three era was far, far in the past.

Of course there were glimmers of hope along the way. The Heat managed to beat James and the rest of the Cleveland Cavaliers on Christmas day. They were also granted the right to use the disabled player exception on McRoberts. And, perhaps the climax of the season so far, they were able to pull off a trade of all trades right before the deadline, in order to sign Goran Dragic.

But alas, shortly after Heat Nation had celebrated the addition of Dragic, it was announced that Bosh would be out for the remainder of the season with blood clots in his lung. Dragic himself developed back spasms. And Miami has lost two out of their last three games. The never ending roller coaster that is currently Heat basketball is unfortunately still in high gear.

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The question now becomes, where should the Heat go from here?

The first and most important thing to keep in mind is that confidence is half the battle. While telling yourself you will make a basket does not add two points to your team’s score, having faith in your talent does allow you to stop overthinking everything and just play the game. Miami will never make the playoffs if they have a negative attitude; which is something  people have started to question lately. Have they had a tough season so far? Absolutely. But no team can constantly be the Chicago Bulls’ golden era. Positivity moving forward is a must.

Similarly, the Heat must put faith in the team as a whole. This includes newbies such as Henry Walker, Dragic, and Hassan Whiteside. Hell, even Michael Beasley should not be counted out, despite his track record. Some of the biggest stories so far this season for Miami have been about the “sidekicks.” From Whiteside’s so-called overnight transformation to Walker’s three straight double-digit games, giving these types of guys a chance always seems to pay off. With Bosh out, Wade’s on-again, off-again injuries and Chalmers being…well, Chalmers, there is no chance of survival without full team cohesion.

On the topic of survival, although obviously making the playoffs is always the goal, there should also be something to be said of player development. With this season being more than halfway over, time to turn things around is limited. And while I still think the Heat have a chance of reaching the postseason, the less immediate future should also be kept in mind. Miami already has solid talent among veterans like Wade, Bosh, Luol Deng, and Chris Andersen, but there is so much room to further grow in regards to the rest of the team. The Heat need to make sure they are forming their athletes into the players they want and need them to be so that moving forward, they find success. President Pat Riley has spoken on his desire to shake things up come 2016, but there is certainly plenty of potential to work with already.

As of Monday afternoon, Miami stands at 25-33. But that number alone does not reflect the ups and downs of this season so far, nor does it necessarily mean anything moving forward. As I like to say, anything can happen in the NBA. The Heat need to take things one day at a time and keep on, keeping on.

Next: Goran Dragic Faces Former Team Amid Season Struggles