What to expect from the 2017-18 Miami Heat this season

ORLANDO, FL - OCTOBER 7: James Johnson
ORLANDO, FL - OCTOBER 7: James Johnson /

The 2017-18 Miami Heat tip off their season against the Orlando Magic tonight. Here’s what you can expect from the team this year.

All is perfect in the world again now that Miami Heat Basketball is back. So it’s time for fans to get excited, because it’s bounce-back season in South Beach.

After finishing ninth in the Eastern Conference last year and missing the playoffs by just a game, Miami is looking to put that in the past and get back into playoff contention. Remember, the Heat finished with the top five best record in the league, in the second half of last season. So there’s definitely optimism about that kind of success continuing this year.

What’s even more intriguing is that the core of this team stayed intact. Even having added more depth in the forward position, by signing an undervalued Kelly Olynyk.

There’s a lot to look forward to this year, with the Heat tipping off their season tonight against the Orlando Magic. But here are three things to really focus on, moving forward.

The Brothers Johnson

There is no other bench duo in the league like James Johnson and Tyler Johnson. Now coined The Brothers Johnson, their solid chemistry, especially off the pick and roll, is a glorious thing to witness.

They simply work magic together. James Johnson struggled as a starter, but has once again flourished as one of the first options off the bench. His mindset simply clicks well with Tyler Johnson’s transition game, controlling the lead.

They led the bench in points per game in their last two preseason wins, with the exception of rookie Bam Adebayo’s preseason high of 15 points in 23 minutes. They also combined for nine rebounds and seven assists in their last win against the Washington Wizards. You won’t find another duo off the bench that just feeds well off each other. It doesn’t exist.

Expect great things from these two this year. With Miami’s depth and conditioning improving from last season, the second unit is bound to step it up a notch or two, to relieve the starting five and maintain their position. They will thrive on that.

Versatile Big Men

The Heat are stacked. That’s just the straight truth. Forget about bias. Or favoritism. Honest. The team’s depth, combined with player power, is something to truly be excited about.

Miami no longer has to solely rely on Hassan Whiteside, as they now have options. James Johnson, Adebayo, Jordan Mickey, Kelly Olynyk, Okaro White, Whiteside and Justise Winslow. That’s quite a lineup.

Everyone knows the organization, like the San Antonio Spurs, squeezes talent out of every player and finds a way to utilize them in the best way possible. And that’s exactly what happened with the big men. They work so well off each other and have added depth in more areas than ever before.

Sure, spacing could be an issue moving forward. But it isn’t something head coach Erik Spoelstra can’t fix.


No one expected anything from the Heat last December. They just saw them as another lottery team, missing Dwyane Wade. But that perception quickly changed in January.

Miami transformed into a completely different team. And if it wasn’t for those initial injuries and Dion Waiters going down in the spring , they would have made the playoffs. Regardless, win or lose, the chemistry stayed intact. Chemistry that will be on full display in the season opener.

Both Spoelstra and president Pat Riley deserve major props for not just bringing back the core group, but also figuring out new rotations for better productivity and rest. The organization always knows what works and what still needs improvement.

And one thing is for sure: the 11-30 team from last year is no more.

Next: Do the 2017-18 Miami Heat have a top ranked backcourt?

The Heat are back.