Miami Heat Re-Loaded


Somehow, September is already crawling to an end, marking the beginning of fall. And as all NBA fans alike know, this means the start of a new season is right around the corner. With Media Day taking place next Monday, giving way to Training Camp , the Miami Heat have only so much time off left on their plates. On October 28, the 2015-2016 season will officially start for the team, as they take on the New Orleans Pelicans.

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On any level, a new year of basketball is exciting. However, this only becomes escalated when a team completely re-vamps itself; which is obviously exactly what the guys down in South Beach have done.

For starters, there are many new faces coming aboard.

Take Keith Benson, a 6-foot-11 center out of Oakland University. The big man was drafted at No. 48 overall by the Atlanta Hawks in 2011 but had a rough time in the pros, going back and forth between playing overseas and in the Developmental League, with only short stints in the NBA via the Summer League. Having averaged 12.6 points and 7.7 rebounds in the D-League, as well as 18.2 points and 10.3 rebounds abroad, the 27-year-old was signed by the Heat in August.

Then there is Corey Hawkins, son of former Philadelphia 76er Hersey Hawkins, a 24-year-old guard who played for UC Davis before going undrafted this summer. A former Big West Player of the Year, Hawkins was with the 76ers and Sacramento Kings during the Summer League, but got no playing time due to a right ankle injury.

Ten year veteran Gerald Green was a big addition for Miami this offseason, finishing last year with the Phoenix Suns averaging 11.9 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game on 19.5 minutes of play. Known for his crazy dunks, the small forward will bring not only raw talent to the court, but a sense of leadership as well.

Rookies Justise Winslow and Josh Richardson are also new this season, and eager to start their NBA careers off on the right foot. While Winslow was welcomed with open arms after he surprisingly (but fortunately) slipped to the No. 10 spot in this year’s draft, many were unsure if Richardson would make the cut. However, he proved himself quite worthy during the Summer League; Richardson averaged 11.8 points and 2.8 rebounds in 10 games.

Undrafted forward Greg Whittington spent two years at Georgetown, averaging 6.5 points, 4.0 rebounds, 1.2 assists in 24.4 minutes of play. He finished the Summer League with 9.1 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 2.0 assists per game, as well as a perfect 13-of-13 from the foul line. The Heat picked him up earlier this month.

And lastly there is Amar’e Stoudemire, a superstar that needs little introduction. This will mark his thirteenth year in the league, having played for the New York Knicks last season where he averaged 12.0 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.0 assist in 36 games. And the almost 7-footer still has plenty of gas left in his tank to help propel Miami to success.

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But even many of those who have been around, are somehow different this time around.

Chis Bosh is back from being out half of last season with blood clots in his lung, and you better believe he is a changed man.

Hassan Whiteside has (hopefully) grown up a bit, setting aside his vendetta against those who did not believe in him, and simply enjoying all the glory that is his current situation.

Dwyane Wade is nearing the end of his career, meaning it is time for him to step up as a mentor for guys who will one day take his place in being the face of the franchise.

Luol Deng should be better adjusted to this team, after spending ten years with the Chicago Bulls.

Goran Dragic can finally play alongside healthy Heat teammates, and show off his true excitement regarding being in Miami; in fact, he is only one of two (Bosh being the other) starting players that are under contract beyond this upcoming season.

Make no mistake, this more than likely will not be a perfect season. LeBron James is still a Cleveland Cavalier. And it will be hard to completely shake off the disaster that was last year, at least at first. But 2015-2016 is bound to bring back the smiles of Heat Nation, and in a big way. Stay tuned, the Miami Heat are re-loaded.