Even the 30-11 Miami Heat are still a constant work in progress

KANSAS CITY, MO - OCTOBER 13: Dion Waiters
KANSAS CITY, MO - OCTOBER 13: Dion Waiters /

Fresh off a 30-11 run last season, the Miami Heat are still a work in progress.

The 2016-17 Miami Heat seemingly did the impossible.

After starting the season off with an 11-30 record, they went on a 30-11 run, finishing the year 41-41.

So now, it’s safe to say all eyes are on them.

Despite their miraculous turnaround, many are still skeptical of what the Heat can do. Even though the majority of last season’s team is returning. And the Eastern Conference only got weaker.

It doesn’t seem to matter that had Dion Waiters not gone down with an ankle injury, Miami probably would have made the postseason. Or that Goran Dragic proved himself an elite player this summer, winning a gold medal for Slovenia in EuroBasket. Nevermind that Tyler Johnson’s numbers last year closely mirrored those of Eric Gordon, who won Sixth Man of the Year. And James Johnson finally developed into the player he always should have been, putting up career-high numbers.

But the Heat don’t mind. By now, they’re used to being underdogs. So they’re as confident as ever. Just ask Hassan Whiteside.

"“How good do I think this team’s going to be? I think this could be a 50 win team.”"

Justise Winslow took things one step further.

"“I’m just trying to go in and win one game at a time. Go 82-0, one game at a time.”"

But as sure of themselves as they are, this group also knows they’re still a work in progress. For starters, though mostly everyone is returning, there are a couple of new faces. Take rookie Bam Adebayo and recently signed former Boston Celtic Kelly Olynyk. Both talented, but need time to first grasp what Miami Heat Basketball is all about, and then develop chemistry with the team.

There’s also the Winslow conundrum. Sidelined with a shoulder injury a good deal of his second year, the 21-year-old hasn’t yet figured out his role. And between head coach Erik Spoelstra still experimenting with rotations and the Houston-native trying to get his shot back, it may take a while to do so.

It doesn’t help that Rodney McGruder has just been diagnosed with a leg fracture either, an injury that requires surgery. And while the team hasn’t given a time table for his return, Miami needs to brace itself to play without the defensive powerhouse for some time.

Yet, the Heat are the 30-11 team the basketball world caught a glimpse of at the end of last season. Even if there’s still work to be done.

Next: Should Miami Heat rookie Bam Adebayo spend time with the Skyforce?

The Miami Heat have no doubt they can be a top team in the league, but that doesn’t mean it won’t take work to get there.